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5 Goal Setting Facts

Are you ready to set your 2017 goals? Many of you already know that I LOVE to write down every single goal once a year, on my birthday, which just happens to fall in January.  I do a mini-checkup every 3 months, and a full check-up on the status of each goal every 6 months.

Well, today’s post is about 5 facts you should know before you set your goals for the next year, and how I’m overcoming my most frustrating challenge. You can also help your students set goals using the same method.  I do this every semester!

Before we start, you have my Goal Setting template, right? If not, click below to sign up for my printables library. You can find it in the October 2016 section. There’s even a mini-version that works well for younger children.


Free Printables Library


5  Goal Setting Facts You Need To Know


So, you want proof that goal setting works, right? Well, being the academic geek that I am, I love to read articles on motivation and similar topics, so I checked out a few articles from Harvard leading psychologists and psychiatrists at the Mayo Clinic (a medical center in Rochester), and psychologists at Ruhr University in Germany.


Here are five main facts about goal setting that you should consider when setting yours:


1. Writing Your Goals Down Increases Committment

Well, this first one is pretty self-explanatory. It doesn’t need a whole lot of academic back-up.  If you write something down, you make it concrete. It’s real. It’s motivating.

It feels like you already have a plan.

Motivational leaders like Michael Hyatt write articles about the same.  I can tell you from seven years of following my own goal-setting method, it really works!



2. Writing Down Goals Decreases Ruminative Thinking


Now, this I found interesting!  Ruminating is the process of thinking about the past over and over, usually in a negative way (Teismann et al, 2013)

The psychology department at Ruhr University in Germany recently published this study that shows that people decrease levels of psychological stress and rumination when they write down their goals.  

Also, compared to the group who was writing about something else,  those who wrote about goals had a more positive mood!  It’s a win-win situation!

Macchu Picchu Peru

3. Making Goals with A Coach Works

Remember this post where I talked about Accountability Partners?  If you need help sticking to your goals, be sure to find a friend who can be your accountability partner. Report to him or her every time you work towards your goal, achieve a milestone, or feel discouraged.

Personal trainers and wellness coaches can help, too!

This study from The Mayo Clinic shows that 130 individuals who worked with wellness coaches not only improved health behaviours, but also improved goal setting abilities and self-efficacy.  Self-efficacy means your beliefs about your capacity and ability to deal with challenges in life.


4. Teaching Students To Set Goals Increases Academic Performance by 30%

This article by Harvard University stresses that teachers need to set goals, too (Turkay, 2014).  Without a goal for your classroom or course, students feel they have little direction and are less likely to reach their objectives.

However, what I found incredible was that after following 4 months of goal-setting strategies on academic goals, students improved their academic performance by 30%.

Try using my goal setting template in your class and see how goal setting can work for you!


5. Achieving Self-Relevant Goals Makes You Happier

Actually, this is my favourite finding!  Turkay’s (2014) article from Harvard University also mentioned that those who achieve their goals report feeling much happier emotions (joy, interest, pride, etc.) than those who don’t.

So, have I convinced you to write down your goals?

That’s all great, you say, but what happens when your goals supposedly seem realistic, but are difficult to achieve? Keep reading!

Peru flower

Willpower & Perseverance : What To Do When You’re Frustrated

Two of my favourite words are willpower and perseverance.  They describe exactly what is necessary to push through and achieve your goals.

  • Willpower – The drive and committment to stick to a plan
  • Perseverance – A personality trait that allows you to keep going towards your goal, despite the hurdles.


Click to Tweet


Frank Lloyd Wright’s price of success quote is one of my favourites  (just click the button above to tweet it!). Actually, I wrote a whole Motivational Monday post on this quote, which you can find here.


How I’m Overcoming My Toughest, Most Challenging Goal


So, do I achieve all my goals? Well, I usually achieve almost all of them. Some years I surprise myself and hit every single target. One of your goals will inevitably be really tough to achieve, though.  Let me share a personal story of frustration with you.

Remember, I split my goals into personal, health & fitness and business/career goals and set goals for the next 1, 3-5 and 5-10 years, so this refers to my health & fitness category.

Don’t have my goal setting template yet? (It’s already set up for you add your goals in this way, too).  Download it in the printables library in the October 2016 section!


Free Printables Library

My Frustrating Challenge (My Brick Wall)

Peru brick wall

Personally, my incredibly difficult goal is becoming super fit (while still being healthy) – and it’s not for a lack of resources, determination, or effort! In fact, even my personal trainer and doctors are stumped. I followed a super strict, healthy, balanced, protein-rich, vegetarian diet, and trained 4 times a week (insane weight circuits and cardio) for four months last summer and only lost 4kg (and a few percent decrease in body fat). I slept 6-7 hours a night, too.


Apparently, I am perfectly healthy except for the number on the scale and body fat calculator. All they can suggest is a nutritionist.  My personal trainer admitted to me yesterday that usually his clients’ progress  isn’t THAT slow.  During my three months in Holland, I trained about half the amount. So, starting next week I’ll be back to my normal training and eating schedule and re-starting my journey.


Analogy:  It feels like they are saying “You got 100% on the final exam, but didn’t pass the course. We don’t know which assignment you missed. Maybe you should hire a tutor to help you learn to write the final exam”. 

Frustrating, right?!


The Search for Strategies


So, this is where perseverance and willpower come in. 

  • I will not give up. If I don’t see progress in 4 more months, I’ll switch strategies.
  • There must be a reason my body is so stubborn, so I’m determined to find it
  • I urge you to tackle your most difficult goals, too.  Seek out strategies.


DO NOT GIVE UP! Do not let your students give up, either.

Check out these goal setting journals and calendars from Amazon to help you keep on track:


2017 Thoughts Diary                      Believe in Yourself Planner                       Top Down Goal Planner            Law of Attraction Planner

UK/Europe                                    UK/Europe click here                                UK/Europe                                  UK/Europe, click here


What’s your most challenging goal? Do you feel any of your goals depend heavily on aspects you can’t control?

Do your students feel frustrated when setting goals?  Share in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!


Happy Teaching (and Happy Goal Setting!)





P.S. For the photography lovers, I took all the images for today’s post during a backpacking trip with a good friend in Macchu Picchu, Peru, in 2010.

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