The 3-Step Formula To Achieving Your Goals


Writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. Sharing them with a friend helps increase those chances even more. Doing both of these things — plus sending the friend a weekly update — makes failing much more difficult, says a new study from Dominican University.

The study, led by Dr. Gail Matthews, professor of Psychology at Dominican, tested the impact of writing down of your goals, making your commitments public, and holding yourself accountable on goal achievement.

Over 100 people took part. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of five groups and used none, one, or a combination of goal setting strategies, according to the division below:

Group 1 members kept their goals to themselves;

Group 2 members wrote them down;

Group 3 members wrote them down, adding action items;

Group 4 members shared the goals with a friend;

Group 5 members wrote down the goals, shared them with a friend, and sent that friend weekly updates.

At the end, more than 70% of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend (Group 5) accomplished their goals, compared to 35% of those in the group that kept their goals to themselves and didn’t write them down (Group 1).

These findings suggest that setting goals is just the beginning. To achieve them, it helps to take these three steps:

1. Put your goals in writing.
Some experts also suggest adding action items and giving each one a deadline.

2. Make your commitment public.
According to the study, sharing your intention with just one supportive friend works.

3. Hold yourself accountable.
Give a friend a weekly update on how you’re doing. This step is crucial, so don’t even think about skipping it! If you think you’ll cheat on this one, ask your friend to ask you for news.

For a summary of the study, click here.

What are your goals for this month? This semester? This year? Make your commitments public by posting them in the comments below!

Marcelle Santos
Marcelle Santos
Mars turns complicated ideas into content that's easy to understand and interesting to follow. At Wonder, she's diving deep into emotional intelligence and the psychology of relationships to come up with what she hopes is useful and inspiring information for users of the Wonder app.