The Harvard Goals survey.


The Harvard Goals survey. (As it has become known) The details vary a little depending on who is describing it, but it more or less goes like this –  In 1952 or 1953 at Harvard university, although some tell it as Yale university, a detailed and comprehensive survey was conducted of the Harvard seniors leaving that year. This survey asks questions about the student’s time in education, their background, beliefs, attitudes and plans for the future, as I said a detailed and comprehensive survey. About half way through this survey we get to the question, have you set goals? And 10% said that they had. Then the next question, if you have set goals, have you written them down? To this question only 3% had written their Goals down.


Twenty years later, it was decided to contact all the students that took part in the original survey twenty years before and get them to take part in another survey about their lives now. So they tried to contact as many of the students as they could, many were spread all around the world by then and one or two had died. They managed to complete the task. And then looked at the two surveys and made comparisons between the two surveys. When they looked at the two questions on goals, the 10% that had set goals had all reached them, but the really striking thing was the 3% that had set goals and written them down were worth more financially then all the rest of the 97% combined.


There are two conclusions to be draw from this- first, it is very important to write your goals down. Second, in some way whether they know it or not, the 97% are actually helping the 3% to get what they want.


I doubt that you will ever find a copy of this survey; many have tried to find it and not succeeded. Negative people ridicule this survey and in doing so they gain nothing from it, but a positive person that is truly trying to achieve a goal, a person that is truly free within themselves to reach that goal, will look at the message that the “Harvard Goal Survey” is clearly trying to make –

To reach a goal, write it down!

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