People who write down their goals make more money

For my last assignment in college economics class, I had to write down my life and career goals. I had to think about where I would be in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. I thought it was a rather strange assignment so I didn’t take it too seriously. I ended up writing things like, “Not be homeless” and “Survive my student loans.”


So at our last class, our teacher told us to take out our goals and he pulled out a study conducted on Harvard MBA grads from the class of 1979 in which they interviewed all the students right after they graduated and surveyed them about their goals for the future:

  • 84% had no specific goals
  • 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
  • 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

Then they surveyed those same students 10 years later in 1989. The results are insane – the 13% that had goals but not committed on paper earned TWICE as much as the 84% that didn’t have goals.

Then even more insane – the 3% who had clear, written goals earned TEN TIMES as much as the other 97%.

My professor ended the class by saying, “This was probably the most important homework assignment you’ve ever had to do, and one of the most important life lessons – set goals and ALWAYS write them down.”

And then I stared down at my pathetic piece of paper and sighed. I sure was dreamin’ big. I recently started to revisit this idea of “making goals” in both life and in business after realizing the benefits of goal setting. I started to think about where it is that I want to be in 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years. This time I took it a bit more seriously. And so I wrote them down.

But I did more than just writing them down. I pinned them.

I created a board on Pinterest called “One day” where I put all my goals in both life and in business to help me build a vision of where I want to be in 5 years, 10 years and so forth. Kayla Cruz, a great blogger on all things Gen Y, uses Tumblr to do this exact thing. Even though I found myself pinning more pictures of muscle cars than most other things at first, it’s really helped me see where I want to be and gave me specific goals to work toward. And they aren’t just thoughts written down on paper, it’s a vision.

You’ll never know what success looks like if you never make goals.

Take some time this week and think about where it is you want your business to be in 5 years, 10 years, and so on. Can you visualize it?

Whether you write them down or pin them up, make a plan.

And don’t be afraid to dream big. The best leaders are visionaries.

Since I’m going a step further beyond writing down my goals and making visual maps, I expect to blow that 3% out of the water. Well, I put that down as a goal. We’ll see how that goes. 🙂

The benefits of goal setting are real. What do you do when making goals? How to do you “write” them down?


Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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