I recently had the opportunity to participate in a 5-week goal attainment study for a friend's graduate studies.
This will be my attempt not to fall into my favorite infomercial host's verbiage, as the study has some pretty neat implications that make it very difficult for me to avoid saying, "but wait....there's more!!"
Without all the boring details, the study focused on two groups of what most would consider "well-trained" individuals to achieve their goals.
One group would work towards the goals using their normal approach and skills.
The other group would do only ONE THING differently.
Every Friday, that group would take a maximum of 5 minutes (the group averaged just over 4 minutes per week) to do a self-reflection using the following prompts.
In the last week, what is working in pursuit of your goals?
In the last week, what is not working in pursuing your goals?
What are you learning from your experience?
That was it.
No extra coaching. Not even any additional encouragement or direction after they completed their self-reflection.
At the end of the 5 weeks, the group that did the self-reflection achieved 70% more of their goals than the group that used their normal approach!
Not only did they achieve their goals at a higher rate, but their perceived difficulty decreased! Versus the control groups, perceived difficulty INCREASED.
This is pretty powerful stuff.
The results which allow me to say, in my best infomercial voice....
"You can achieve your goals faster and easier with using just this one trick for 4:00 a week!"
In reality. That type of self-reflection can be hard. To sit with yourself for a moment and honestly and critically analyze how you are doing isn't easy, but there is no doubt it sure is helpful!