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Habits, Not Goals, Are The Most Important

A 1979 research project of Harvard MBA Grad Students says a lot about goals.  Researchers surveyed the students on goal setting.  Here is what they found:

  • 84% didn't set goals

  • 13% set goals

  • 3% set goals and wrote the down

They went to the students 10 years later to see how they performed. This is what they found:

  • The 13% who set goals earned twice as much as the 84% who did not set goals.

  • The 3% who write them down earned 10% as much as the 97% combined!

What did the 3% know that the other 97% didn't know?  Well, 13% were smart enough to set goals.


However, did the 3% achieve such success because they wrote them down? I don't believe that is the case for a minute.


Yes, setting goals and writing them down is important. Let me illustrate what I think is happening. If you are Point A and say you set retirement at Point B.


If you do what you always have done between Point A and Point B, you are going to get the same results you always get and probably not achieve your goals.


It is about changing your habits between Point A and Point B.  I think the 3% knew that they had to change their habits in order to achieve their goals.


We set goals because we are shooting for something better, something higher or bigger than us. If we are going to achieve this outcome, it is important to examine our habits

and make sure that they can get us there. If not (and most of the time they won't) we need to change our habits. The key is to find out the habits of those who have achieved that goal

and adopt the same habits!  

Goals come and go. Habits last for a lifetime.  

Study was published in Ann Sabath's book - "What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don't".