goal setting

Grandaddy of all personal development lies claims tie to Ivy League

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 by: Mike Bundrant
Tags: personal development, goal setting, Yale

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Gurus of print, web and stage preach the magic of goal setting. To really harness the true power of intention, you've got to commit specific goals to paper, they insist. The magic happens when you write goals down! This is no laughing matter. It's solid gold personal development doctrine proven by a committed team of Yale researchers.

The visionary Ivy League graduating class of 1953, as the story goes, discovered that only a small percentage of its members set goals for the future, and just 3% of graduates committed those goals to paper. Follow up studies, conducted over subsequent decades, showed that the three percent earned more income than the other 97% combined!

Just one problem: This story is made up. After receiving so many inquiries from people who learned of the study from personal growth gurus, Yale finally came out and confirmed that no such study ever took place. See the Yale statement here:


The gurus cite each other as sources.

This is all harmless, right?

Yes, if you like being manipulated by people who care more about selling books and seminars than promoting the truth. As much as we love to put people on pedestals, they love to be there. There is no shortage of those who love the spotlight and will gladly gloss over the truth in order to look good and sell stuff. This is how the goal setting research myth began, we can safely assume.

Worse, the myth is presented as magical. Not only is there supposedly something inherent in goal setting that gives you unparalleled advantage, but something truly magical about writing them down. To learn these amazing secrets of how to set goals that will put YOU in the upper 3%-who-earns-more-than-the-97%-combined, just buy a guru book or attend a seminar to make sure you are putting the magical formula to work in the correct way.

If manipulation is harmless, then pimping this urban legend is also harmless. If enticing people to believe in magic formulas is harmless, then the way this myth has spread is also harmless.

Is writing down goals part of some enlightened formula of super achievers?

No. In fact, there is compelling evidence that goal setting in general is not all it is cracked up to be. Goal setting, especially setting "stretch goals" that push you far out of your comfort zone, have even been shown to encourage unethical behavior such as manipulation and lying and taking advantage others. Goal setting can also narrow your focus, so you miss out on better opportunities along the way. Moreover, only 10% of people report achieving set goals!

Research suggests that the godfather of goals, the New Year's resolution, enjoys an 8% success rate. No magic here. Goal setting statistics sound less like effective formulas for overcoming human nature and more like human nature running its course!

Yet, the personal development culture seems addicted to goal setting. As children we sent letters to Santa in hopes of getting that new, dream toy. As adults we write down our goals and intentions and chant them as affirmations, hoping the Universe will respond to our desire with a reward.

Rethink goal setting and discover what works for you.

If we clean the slate and don't assume goal setting is the most effective way to move ahead in life, other interesting options open up.

Living without goals. Several thoughtful leaders in the field of personal growth promote a lifestyle that focuses on enjoying the here and now and going with the flow, as opposed to chasing goals. Among these is minimalist Leo Babauta, with perhaps the most read modern Zen blog in the world. Listen to Leo talk about living with simplicity and focus in the March 21, 2012 episode of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.

Focus on needs, not goals. Perhaps nothing clarifies like focusing on developmental needs. At every stage of life, we have particular developmental needs. In order to grow, we must meet those needs. This isn't negotiable. To establish greater mobility and independence, a toddler needs to learn to walk. To understand how romantic relationships work, teens need to begin to experiment with them. There is no way around learning from experience over time.

There is simply no substitute for life experience. A 12-year-old cannot know, understand and do what a 50-year-old can. Developmental psychologists have created simple, broad theories about needs at each stage of development, including adult stages.

I find this to be uncommonly useful in my private coaching practice. When personal goals and desires go against what is likely to happen from a developmental perspective, those goals should be modified to fit the current, underlying need. A cursory overview of adult psychological development can be found here.

Develop direction. Combined with developmental needs, setting directions in life is my preferred method of keeping personal development on track. Setting directions is a broader, more flexible, more realistic way of exercising choice about the future. A direction may lay the foundation for years of productive and flexible effort.

Direction says head north. A more specific goal says take the fastest route to Bismarck. What if the fastest route is closed? Or ugly? Or dangerous? What if Bismarck sucks when you get there? What if there were 100 better places along the way, or beyond?

Establishing a direction is different than locking yourself into a narrow, specific outcome. Direction takes place over the long haul and continually fuels the desire to get to new and better places. Examples of direction: becoming a generous person, developing greater capacity for love in your life, creating abundant physical health, or simply growing mentally and emotionally.

Direction is clear, but broad. The details are for the journey. The outcome is ever increasing opportunity to discover how to continue in your chosen direction. The process is focused, but open to peripheral opportunity and course correction. Best of all, direction can work in tandem with an awareness of your life stage.

Set specific goals. Specific goals are useful tools in the context of a worthwhile direction that is based upon your deeper needs. Write them down if it helps, of course, and use them for short-term focus.

These are some of the ingredients to create a conscious and deliberate path in life. Here's to your journey...

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.

The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. Click here to watch the presentation that will turn your world upside down.

Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center and host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.

Follow Mike on Facebook for daily personal development tips.

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.