Monday, January 23, 2017


Is there a correlation between writing goals and success?

I might be a little biased because I've been writing both short-term (annual) goals and long-term (10 year) goals since I was in my mid 20s!  I don't consider myself a success just yet, but I do credit my accomplishments thus far to the goals I've set for myself.  For me, it ensures that there is progress each and every year and I don't become complacent. 

Even though there are many different studies that have linked goals to success, I am not sure that one can say that simply writing goals will "guarantee" success! One fabled Harvard University study sure appears to reveal a very telling story though.  In that study, only three percent of Harvard MBA students questioned had set and wrote goals on a regular basis. The stunning revelation of this study is that 10 years later, 50 percent of the total net worth of the group was held by just three percent of the group which made roughly ten times as much as their fellow MBA classmates. They were the same three percent that had a habit of setting and writing goals as students, then continued to write goals and review them regularly!!

It is up to you to choose to believe if the link truly exists, but for me and my family, we have no doubt that our written goals have allowed us to show progress each and every year! Regardless if the link to success exists or not, there are still many DGI bloggers that we follow whom have set goals for themselves this year.  And since the beginning of the year is a very appropriate time to set short-term goals, you may have come across a few 2017 goals posts.  In case you may have missed them, below is a link to a few posts from bloggers that we follow:

2017 goals from around the DGI community:

In case you are interested in writing goals but don't know where or how to start, below is a quick 5-step plan to help you set and hopefully complete your goals:

1) Set goals that motivates you - Your goal should be specific to you. They should also be achievable (and not impossible).
2) Set measurable goals - Your goals should be specific. For instance, timelines and quantities should be spelled out within the goal.
3) Put your goals in writing - Your goals should be written down either on paper or in digital format on the computer.
4) Check on your goals periodically - You need to make a commitment to check on your goals monthly, quarterly or bi-annually.  And be ready to adjust your plan, current habits, or find extra motivation if progress towards a certain goal is falling behind. 
5) Celebrate the completion of goals - It is important to celebrate and reward yourself for completing goals or milestones. Use each success as momentum to complete the next. Big or small, it is important to recognize each success! 

Feel free to browse through the goals from fellow bloggers for ideas!!


  1. I just went through posting about my goals for 2017 & after. I realized that focusing on creating and implementing systems in place is better than simply having goals. The ultimate objective is to do the best financial decisions for you.

    For example, I max out my 401 (k) and save a ton in taxes. The money is invested in a lower yielding index fund there. While I may miss a goal in 2017 because of that, I am better off overall because I am deferring taxes on dividends in the accumulation phase. Plus, once I rollover that 401 (k) into and IRA that consists of dividend paying stocks in a few years, I would have much more dividend income than by merely investing in a taxable account to hit a goal for the sake of hitting a goal.

    Good luck in your investing journey!


    1. I hear what your saying and agree that setting goals helps to keep one heading in the right direction. Although there is great satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a goal, one can still benefit from an unfinished goal. As in your case, you realized a better way to maximize your tax savings.

      Thanks for commenting. Hope you don't mind, we will add your recent goals post to this post. :)

      Best wishes and continued success! AFFJ

  2. I have a feeling it does. It helps reinforce goals. The problem is with creating goals which are spread over a longer duration. I would like to split those goals into smaller sub goals (measurable). The key is to make goals SMART

    Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
    Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
    Assignable – specify who will do it.
    Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
    Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

    1. Well said! SMART goals, well is a smart thing to do. Although we broke it down in a slightly different way, we essentially follow the rules of SMART goals.

      We create both long and short term goals for our family. We find that short term goals are more achievable. And we use each and every victory as momentum to the bigger victory, the long term goals! :)

      Thanks for you valued input. Wishing you nothing but success on your personal journey! AFFJ

  3. I actually enjoy revisiting my long term goals first as it gives me the opportunity to reflect on what has changed in my life, what hasn't, what is working and what's not. After that I make my short term SMART goals.

    I cannot say this is the wisest or dumbest way but it works for me. Writing down both long & short term goals I feel focused and structured. Also visually seeing progress is satisfying, motivating and a validation that my strategy is executing correctly.

    1. We also write down both short term and long term goals so we completely understand where your coming from. Whether it is revisiting our short term or long term goal, it always seems to help us re-focus and adjust where necessary to get back on track. As humans, it is natural to lose focus once in a while. That is why checking on your goals periodically is such a critical step for success. It certainly doesn't hurt to be able to cross off a goal or two once a while! If for nothing more, for that personal satisfaction and motivation as you had said. :)

      Appreciate the comment. Regards. AFFJ

  4. It's only my first year at setting goals but I believe I have set myself a pretty decent task. I think I can achieve them and will do anything possible to reach my goals.

    1. Glad to hear you started. I believe the first step to success (in anything) is to start! ;) Good luck accomplishing your goals. Remember that even if you don't accomplish them, you are generally better off than when you had started. The key is to continue to move forward one step at a time.

      Best wishes. AFFJ

    2. By the way, hope you don't mind, we just added your goals post to this post. ;)


  5. Hi, AFFJ -- thanks for compiling the list of goals links. It's interesting to see what other bloggers are hoping to accomplish in 2017. I wrote mine in December and have some stretching goals, including a new one for option income.

    I really like your family goals -- it is great to set some R&R goals like you do. All the best and have fun with those!

    FerdiS, DivGro

    1. Glad you liked the post FerdiS. :) I will add a link to your 2017 goals. I guess I missed it because I had only gone back to January 1st. :)

      Thanks for visiting. Best wishes on your goals my friend. AFFJ

  6. Interesting topic because I used to think writing goals down didn't make much difference. But when you are busy and trying to keep track of everything going on in life, it's nice to have your goals on paper to review. I find it keeps me on track and focused.
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    1. Agree - 100%. Writing goals down on paper make them more real. Plus, now they are physically located somewhere. One just has to make a conscious effort to check in once in awhile to see how they are doing...Similar to the periodic dental and medical check-ups. :)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Regards, AFFJ

  7. Awesome article! I wish I would have made the list! ;)

    1. Thank you. And because you've commented, I will make sure you add you to this list. :)

      Best wishes and success! AFFJ