Perhaps you have heard of the Yale (or Harvard Business School) study of goals in which only 3% of the graduating class had specific written goals for their futures. Twenty years later that 3% was found to be earning an astounding 10 times that of the group that had no clear goals. Well, it turns out that this “study” is merely an “urban myth,” as extensive reviews of the research literature by me and by Steven Kraus (a social psychologist from Harvard) as well as investigative reporting by Fast Company magazine revealed that no such study had ever been done!

However, the widespread mention of this non-existent study in business circles as well as
the need for research into the techniques used by business coaches provided impetus for
my current research, which was focused on how goal achievement is influenced by writing goals, committing to goal-directed actions and being accountable for those actions.


  1. 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. Those who sent their commitments to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who wrote action commitments or did not write their goals.
  3. Those who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals.

source: Dr. Gail Matthews “Brief summary of recent goals” Dominican University of California