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Setting Goals for the New Year by Running Coach Steve Mackel


Setting goals for the new year is popular by design. We can start all over if we choose. But if you are like most of us, within weeks you are off your diet, your new workout schedule or back to that bad habit.

I listen to a lot of books and success seminars on CD while I am driving. One author I really like is Brian Tracy. He has numerous books on organizing and planning. On his "Psychology of Achievement" CD he talks about the power of writing down your goals. Tracy refers to a longitudinal Harvard study that points to the success of writing down your goals. He states the study shows that of the Harvard MBA students that were interview, only 13% of the people had goals, only 3% of them actually had clearly defined goals and took the time to write their goals down on paper. Of the 13% they averaged double the income of the 84% that had no specific goals, while the 3% that committed their clearly defined goals to paper, were making 10 times the income of the 84%.

Good enough for me.

But over the past few year I haven't been getting the all results I would like so I looked up the Harvard study and couldn't find it. That lead me to  Sid Savara's web site

He had been quoting this study too then was informed it was made up, so he did some research and couldn't find it. Savara did not stop there, on his web site  he posted this Dominican University study that showed results that confirm the power of committing clear, defined and achievable goals to paper: 

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The conclusions of the Dominican University Study:

1. The positive effect of accountability was supported: those who sent weekly progress reports to their friend accomplished significantly more than those who had unwritten goals, wrote their goals, formulated action commitments or sent those action commitments to a friend.

2. There was support for the role of public commitment: those who sent their commitments to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who wrote action commitments or did not write their goals.

3. The positive effect of written goals was supported: Those who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals. With the proliferation of business and personal coaching and the often anecdotal reports of coaching success it is important that this growing profession be founded on sound scientific research.

This study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals.

Now back to me. Maybe my goals weren't clear and defined enough. I think this is the most important step that a lot of us miss. Second, I need more accountability. Third, I need to write down my goals more than once. More like daily.

And this brings me back to running and full and half marathon training. I started the to create that accountability and public commitment. I know I need it. I also know it works and as worked with the Sole Runners for over 8 years.

For Runners and their running, plan out your races. Races help motivate me and keep me accountable.


So the question over the next few first days in January, can you come up with specific, clearly defined goals? Do you have a trusted person you can share them with? Are you going to write them down? Will you write them down on a regular basis?

You'll know how I am doing if you see new blog post up here and on

Good Luck and Train Focused, Steve Mackel - Head Coach Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

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