When things were going messy in my personal and professional life, my bestie told me about goal setting.

I was initially skeptical, wondering…if goal-setting works or not. Being practical in approach, I decided to do some research on this.

Thankfully, there is evidence to prove that goal-setting is the best thing to do before starting anything in life.

Here is a list of 20 vital goal-setting statistics I found worth sharing in this blog post.

goal setting statistics

20 Mind-Blowing Statistics for Goal Setting and Success


It is good to start with the research and analytics in the Goal Research Summary by Gail Matthews, the renowned professor of Psychology at Dominican University, California.

Matthews conducted research with 267 participants from various professional fields to study the impact of goal setting and achievement at the workplace. These participants were placed in 5 groups:

  • Group 1- Unwritten Goal
  • Group 2- Written Goal
  • Group 3- Written Goal and Action Commitments
  • Group 4- Written Goal and Action Commitment to Peers
  • Group 5- Written Goal, Action Commitment, and Progress Report to a Friend

The project posed some eminent goal-setting statistics. The project posed some eminent goal-setting statistics. Dive in to see why these are so significant.

statistics for goal setting and success

#1. The rate of success was 20% higher for people who wrote down their goals compared to their counterpart

Gail found that the participants who wrote their goals on a paper showed higher achievement than people in Group 1.


#2. Written goals raise the chances of achievement by 42%

Goal Research Summary also depicts that writing the goals brings clarity, keeping an individual focused. Depending on the actions taken, written goals can help achieve better results.


#3. People following scheduled action commitment and accountability are 76% more likely to achieve their goals

The rate of achieving goals was 76% more among Group 5 participants. When you write down goals, including a plan for work schedule, it becomes easy to comply with the action commitments.

Furthermore, you get feedback after sharing progress reports with co-workers. Getting feedback at the workplace helps in learning and improvement while boosting performance. This is why we created a Facebook community of accountability buddies. You share your tasks for the week and check-in at the end of the week letting us know you have completed your tasks. Doesn't get any better than that.

goal setting statistics

#4. Setting actionable tasks, in line with written goals, and presenting weekly progress reports to supportive co-workers, raised the achievement to more than 40% compared to others

The results also showed that accountability of the employees, submitting reports, raised their achievement by 40%.


#5. 83% of the people do not have any goals

In 1979, Harvard MBA Business School conducted a study on goal-setting among the graduating class. The findings during the research point to a series of statistics for goal setting.

During their survey, it was found that 83% of students in the class did not set any goals.


#6. 13% of people have written goals but no concrete plans

The study also revealed that 13% of candidates in the class had written goals. However, they did not write down any definitive plan of action.


#7. Only 3% of people have written down their goals and concrete plans

The third group in the class wrote their goals and had a concrete plan. Here are 7 steps of planning and achieving your goals in life.

goal setting statistics

#8. People who have a goal are more successful than those without it

After 10 years, 13% of students who had set written goals without a concrete plan achieved more, compared to 84% of students who did not draft their goals.


#9. 3% of people who set written goals with concrete plans achieve 10 times than others

The remaining 3% of students achieved at least 10 times more than that earned by the remaining 97% of students in the class.


#10. Only 41% of people in the US make New Year Resolutions

Now it is time to explore some surprising New Year resolutions and goal-setting statistics in the US. During a study conducted in 2016, it was found that 41% of Americans make New Year Resolutions.


#11. 25% of people who take up New Year Resolutions give up their goals within a week

By the end of the first week of the year, at least 25% of Americans give up their New Year Resolutions. By the end of the second week, the number drops to 71%.


#12. Only 9% of people making New Year Resolutions succeed to accomplish their goals

Despite the dropping numbers, 9% of takers revealed that they succeeded in keeping their resolutions till the end of the year. Why is that? The answer is easy, it all comes down to how you plan and set your new years resolution in the first place. Here I take you through the step-by-step process of setting new year resolutions that work.


#13. 35% of people fail to keep New Year’s Resolutions because they had set unrealistic goals

In another study conducted in 2014, the participants felt that they were unrealistic while setting goals.


#14. Those who make New Year Resolutions are 10% more likely to accomplish them compared to those who do not take a resolution

The research conducted at the University of Scranton on New Year resolutions in 2002 revealed some positive facts. About 46% of participants, who took pledges, were at least 10% more successful in achieving their goals by the end of the year.


#15. Setting severe and challenging goals helps to achieve more in life

In 1978, Becker Lawrence J conducted a study on the combined impact of goal setting and feedback on performance at residential energy conservation units.

The results depicted that the families setting challenging goals saved more than other participants.


#16. Receiving and accepting feedback raises motivation for goal success

Becker also found that families receiving feedback thrice a week saved more than others.

statistics for goal setting

#17. Clear and specific goal setting boosts workplace motivation

Research conducted in 1976 by Arvey, Dewhirst, and Boling revealed that clear and specific goals raise determination in employees.


#18. Those who understand the purpose of goals possess higher chances of success in attaining the plans

During research conducted on 41 female typists, the researchers found that the participants who understood the eminence of goal setting achieved success in fulfilling their targets.


#19. 90% of people are likely to show improvement in performance despite the challenges if goals are achievable and relevant

In 1981, Lock, Shaw, Saari, and Latham published a report on goal setting and task performance. The research was conducted during 1969-80. Employers set strenuous but achievable goals for workers with ability. It was found that these people performed better despite the challenges.

statistics of goal setting

#20. The practice of setting goals for career keeps professionals persistent while leveraging business efforts

Matthews and Dagher conducted research at the University of Texas on persistence in entrepreneurs, business goals, and achievement.

It was found that entrepreneurs who continued to work despite challenging goals remained persistent in their business efforts.

Final Thoughts on statistics for goal setting,

Those who write down their goals in life are likely to achieve more in life than others.

Did you find it messy to write down the goals on paper?

It is a problem for many people. This is why professionals prefer using a digital planner to write down their goals, plans, etc. You can do it all on your iPad or an Android tablet.

The entire thing can be fun as you start writing your plans on a touchscreen device with an active stylus pen. Watch it capturing your handwriting and converting it into digital data.

Best of luck with your goal setting.


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