You have written learning goals, haven’t you?

“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”
Lee Iococca

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If you want to accomplish your goals, you’d better write them down.

Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

Dominican reports that participants in Matthews’ study were randomly assigned to one of five groups. The research study reports that:

•    Group 1 was asked to simply think about the business-related goals they hoped to accomplish within a four-week block and to rate each goal according to difficulty, importance, the extent to which they had the skills and resources to accomplish the goal, their commitment and motivation, and whether they had pursued the goal before (and, if so, their prior success). This group accomplished 43% of their goals.

•    Groups 2-5 were asked to write their goals and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to Group 1.

•    Group 3 was also asked to write action commitments for each goal.

•    Group 4 had to both write goals and action commitments and also share these commitments with a friend.  This group accomplished 64% of their goals.

•    Group 5 went the furthest by doing all of the above plus sending a weekly progress report to a friend. This group accomplished 76% of their goals.

Broadly categorized, participants’ goals included completing a project, increasing income, increasing productivity, improving organization, enhancing performance/achievement, enhancing life balance, reducing work anxiety, and learning a new skill. Specific goals ranged from writing a chapter of a book to listing and selling a house.

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Learning Plan

I’ve taken two chapters,  Track Your Progress and Know Thyself, and crafted an instrument for self-assessment and career development. It’s a freebie. If widely distributed, it should draw in folks who realize they need to become better learners to meet their goals,

Why has What Color Is Your Parachute? been so successful year after year? “What does work is figuring out what you like to do and what you do well — and then finding a place that needs people like you.” Article

Bolles: Thirty years ago, the idea of doing a lot of pen-and-paper exercises in order to take control of your own career was regarded as a dilettante’s exercise. Today, it is a survival skill. If you don’t take time to figure out what you want to do with your life, you will be at the mercy of all those forces out there today.

Altogether, people today are much more insecure and apprehensive than they were when I first wrote the book. The contract that they imagined existed between employer and employee has been terminally split — permanently rent asunder.

“‘Parachute’ is a book of hope, masquerading as a job-hunting manual.” People want hope. They also want a book to be different. Mine certainly is: the illustrations, the diagrams, the exercises. Also, some of my impudent humor is in the book. If you can’t laugh at something, no matter how difficult and serious it seems, you’ve lost a precious part of your humanity. But I must admit, after all is said and done, I’m still astonished that a book published 30 years ago is still a best-seller today.

People don’t just want to keep busy at work. Maybe that was enough when they were younger, but not as they grow older. They want a sense of mission in life — and a sense of mission about their work.