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Entrepreneurial Goal Setting: Increase Your Odds of Success by 40%


Becoming an online entrepreneur, whether through the creation of a successful online course, becoming a life coach, and/or creating a group membership site can be quite a career transition.  It is much easier to keep doing what you are doing.   But if you break it down into small steps, you can get there.  Ask yourself, “What is one thing I can do today to either discover, create, or craft my Entrepreneurial Adventure?  If your skills are murky, just follow my life motto:  Everything is learned.

We all know there is a weak link between intentions and actions.  How would you like to increase your success rate of getting your actions to follow your intentions by over 40%? Wahoo!  Wouldn’t that change your life!  And the harder the goal is, the more punch this technique packs.

Strong Effect of Simple Plans

Let’s visit college students during a Christmas break.  In order to study goal achievement, students were given a goal.  They were asked to write a report on how they spent their Christmas Eve (Hey!  At least it wasn’t the standard “summer vacation” report).  There were some conditions for this report.  It had to be written no later than 48 hours after the event and had to be sent to the experimenters (who were supposedly studying how people spent their holidays in modern times), Yeah, right. (Never trust researchers to tell you what they are really studying.)

Before they left for Christmas break, 1) half of the participants had to pick a specific time and place for this writing to occur.  2)The other half of the participants did not have to plan how they intended to implement the writing assignments.  The results portrayed a startling difference.

Three fourths of the time-and-place-planners had written the reports in the requested time period.  Only one third of the control participants managed to do so.  What the researchers concluded was that putting down exact specifics of when, where, and how (called implementation intentions) helped the students achieve their goals.  Apparently, it helped them get started since the first step is often the hardest. (Gollwitzer & Brandstätter, 1997b).

The Harder the Goal, the Better This Technique Works

The place the goal plans really, really mattered was when the goal was difficult (Gollwitzer & Brandstätter, 1997a). In a similar experiment, students were asked, once again, to implement a goal over Christmas break.  But this time, they were asked to choose two different goals:  one hard and one easy.

Easy Goals

If a goal was easy to attain, it seemed less relevant whether or not the specifics of implementation were planned out.  Eighty percent of the participants achieved easy goals with or without implementation plans.

Difficult Goals

If the goal was difficult to obtain, however, the planning really mattered. Two thirds had carried them out if they planned the how and when.  If they had not planned their how and when, only one fourth completed the tasks (Gollwitzer & Brandstätter, 1997a).  Big difference.

Obviously, stronger intentions (I strongly intend to develop my online entrepreneurial dream) are better than weak intentions (Interesting theory.  I’ll think about it.).  When you have a hard time making yourself do a goal, set the goal AND THEN set up how you are going to achieve that goal.  This one strategy will help you reach it.

If you are not presently an online entrepreneur, but you want to be one, then you must strongly commit to finding your dream and then follow your strong intentions with actions.  And if you plan out all the specifics of how you will implement that intention, then you dramatically increase the likelihood that it will happen.

Implementing how-and-when steps are essential for making your dream happen. Becoming an online entrepreneur and creating your first successful online course is a journey, but certainly a doable one.

Gollwitzer, P. M., & Brandstätter, V. (1997a). Implementation intentions and effective goal pursuit. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(1), 186-199.

Gollwitzer, P. M., & Brandstätter, V. (1997b). Implementation intentions and effective goal pursuit, Study 2. Journal of Personality and Social Pschology, 73, 186-199



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