Setting Goals

From the book What they don’t teach you at What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack:

In the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack tells a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program. In that year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all.


Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

Writing your Goals Down

Crazy but cool outcome, huh?

So, today I am setting a small, but powerful goal for myself: spend $53 less on my allotted weekly cash allowance for 6 weeks. Put that $53 towards my BB CC.

Why is this powerful to me? Because my student loan(s) repayment is about to come to fruitation and I am trying to PIF a CC account before its promotional 0% APR is over.

I am trying to PIF the CC for two reasons:

  1. promotional 0% APR is soon over
  2. I want to eradicate the Best Buy payment to apply to my Student Loan.

This way, I will not increase my monthly debt payments.

It’s a push to me to get things paid off quicker, for the moment.

I have already been sending in monthly student loan payments to help against the interest. But, now the its the governments turn to request their money – the grace period is over on both loans.

Here is the plan:

Best Buy CC 0%APR expires 10/10/2009
Balance: $696.74
Monthly Payment: $189 (Aug and Sept)
PIF by 09/10/2009

189*2=$378/6 wks = $53 for 6 wks = $0 balance by 09/10/2009

Student Loan payment(s) begin:
3.124% begins 09/2009
6.8% begins 12/2009
Total payments: $285

Hopeful Outcome:

PIF BB 09/10/2009 ($0 mth payment)
Start 3.124% 09/10/2009 ($189 mth payment)

Then, I will have 3 months to work/figure out how to come up with $96 per month using the same method above to be prepared for my 6.8% SL in 12/2009 (to meet the total $285 mth payment)

$53… 6 weeks… I think it’s a feasible plan that will help to diminish the stress, meet a promotional APR deadline, and eradicates the need to increase my monthly debt payments.

Kind of like a mini No Spend 6 weeks. Anyone else have mini written goals they are working on? Or even your written plan for erradicating the debt… is it working for you? Are you able to stay on schedule?

I’ll be sure to tally my performance. 😉

15 thoughts on “Setting Goals

  1. Annie

    I hear this ALL the time. Write down your goals and it makes a world of difference. I keep hearing it, but I have never done it. I think this is something I need to do…Good luck with your payment plan!!

    1. admin

      If you here it ALL the time, don’t you think somebody might be right about it?! LOL. I think it works even better if you write it down by hand. Computer clicking kind of goes in one brain cell and out the other.

      So, I will write my simple, but detailed plan on paper with dates, times, and seconds. Then I will track my progress. Lets see if i can be this 3% of the determined human species!

  2. April

    Christine, I have read this post three times! It is compelling. I want to ask McCormack whether the ones with written plans had allowed for adjustments as time went by: life deals you all kind of crazy hands, in business and in other arenas, and one’s plans need to be flexible. I’ll be watching with fascination as you work through your next 6 weeks–I’m cheering you on!!

    1. admin

      It would be interesting to read the indepth study analysis. Wonder if it can be found? Hmm…

      Aren’t you right about life dealing a crazy hand. Sometimes i just want to throw up my hands and drop it all. LOL.

      Thank you, I know that it is not a significant amount. But to me, its progress. Start with one baby step goal, then work on the next (for the Dec payment), etc… who knows, maybe it will drive me to get this debt paid off early. Wouldn’t that be grand?

      It doesn’t make it easy that the holidays are not to far from peeking its consumer head at us.

  3. psychsarah

    This is a great reminder for me. I’ve always been a goal-writer, except for the past few months -my aunt taught me about that study when I was little, and made me start writing goals down then. My big goal was always to complete my PhD and get my license to practice (which involves three nasty expensive exams). I became licensed in December and haven’t been able to figure out what my goals are now. I have had financial goals: to buy a house (done), and become debt-free (done at one point-almost done again (2 more months)-this time for good), I set some personal goals last year (run a 10k race, return to making music-done and done) but I’m kind of at a loss for what to do next. I’m sure inspiration will strike, but for now, I’m just carrying on… I really do recommend the writing down method though-I wouldn’t have done all of the above without it!

    1. admin

      Hi phychsarah,
      I’m glad to recieve a perspective from someone who has success with goal writing. Looks like, from your results, I need to do it quite often. There are so many personal and financial avenues I want to acheive that it sounds like goal writing is key.

      Now tell me (and congrats on you receiving your license), how does one stick with that written goal? I tend to change my mind alot. Think I like the ‘newness’ of a project, but lack the substance to keep it motivated. Plus, I think I have some degree of attention disorder. LOL. I would love to hear what you think about being able to stick to that written goal and not switching in the midst of it.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. anostrichnamedsam

    Its funny but I recently found a notebook that i had written a few goals in. The big one was to have my exterior renovations done by June 2009 ( I had the money but the weather didn’t help but it’s all done now). Another goal I had set for 2010 may happen in the next week ( still no word on the job front…AUGH ).

    Now if I can just get my finances under control I’ll be all set. Although my student loan is 3230 now..

    I guess my mini goal is to get the inside of the house back together in 3 days ( I’ll postpone the painting until later next week.)

    1. admin

      So writing goals really do work. I’ve been doubly confirmed. Sweet! Your house looks great!

      I hope the job things comes to. Have you thought about calling them for a status update? Its been long enough time since the interview to request a cordial update.

      As for your finances, I wish I could say the same about my student loan ($32,000 – bleck – I like to put the zeros instead of a K – kind of a sadistic reminder that it needs to be paid – LOL).

      Have fun getting your house back together (I hate painting). 😉

  5. Dan

    If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use

    checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
    Works also on mobile.

    1. admin

      Dan, thank U for the link. And I may just be checking it out for the Vision Board (my hopeful next project to accomplish).

  6. jpkittie

    good for you! I am all for the ‘mini goals’ to have things completed by a certain date… if you just kinda put the rest of ‘cruise’ then work on just one thing, it makes it so much easier!!!! I am with ya sista! I actually have a store card that is also 0% until October… my goal is to pay it in full by September as well. (it currently has a balance of about $760)

    1. admin

      jpkittie, I laugh. Our debt balances…even our mini debt balances are so much alike.
      Rootin’ U on just as much as I am rootin’ for my family. Lets keep eachother in check!

      (my DH and I just added another goal after our financial discussion over coffee this morning – will update you all soon – just hope we can pull if off witht he holidays comin’ up – already – Geesh!)

      1. jpkittie

        you are too cute!!! love you to pieces!!!! (so glad that we have become friends!!!)

        the holidays are going to be a pain in the butt this year for sure!!!! Time to start thinking of them now, you know?!?!

  7. Ms. MoneyChat

    written goals are as most as powerful as compound interest. you definitely have to write out your plan. let’s say you and i both leave california at the same time from the same location. we’re driving to georgia … i have a map and you don’t (pre gps days okay;-) … who do you think will get there faster? me, because i have a written plan with landmarks, estimated times, etc. if i take a wrong turn, i’ll be able to recongize it quickly and get back on track. you can possibly turn a 4 day trip into a 4 year trip. remember, written goals and a little sacrifice.

    1. admin

      Hmmm… but who will have the more fabulous scenery? ; )

      But you are right. Are U sure its just a little sacrifice? 5 months is going to be sooooo long. So, now I have a clear cut picture. I just hope with a bit of faith and lots of hard work my family can make this happen!

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