When my father was teaching me how to drive, he told me to keep my eyes on the road. Not on the pavement immediately past the pointed nose of our forest green Pontiac Trans Sport, but on the road that stretched out ahead of me. He said it gave me something to aim for.
It is, after all, the season for goal setting. How many of us have already set goals and resolutions, but haven’t made any progress toward them? How can we do better?
Dr. Gail Matthews, a professor at Dominican University of California, conducted research on methods for achieving goals. The participants were divided into five groups. “Group 1 was asked to simply think about business-related goals they hoped to accomplish within a four-week block and to rate each goal according to difficulty, importance, the extent to which they had the skills and resources to accomplish the goal, their commitment and motivation, and whether they had pursued the goal before (and, if so, their prior success). Groups 2-5 were asked to write their goals and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to Group 1. Group 3 was also asked to write action commitments for each goal. Group 4 had to both write goals and action commitments and also share these commitments with a friend. Group 5 went the furthest by doing all of the above plus sending a weekly progress report to a friend.”
At the end of the study, only 43% of Group 1 had either accomplished their goals or had reached a halfway mark. Group 4, however, had 62% of the participants achieving their goals, or reaching a halfway mark. Amazingly, Group 5 saw 76% of its participants accomplish their goals or reach a halfway mark. According to this research, writing down a goal, assessing our commitment and motivation towards that goal, and then sharing progress with peers greatly increases our chances for success! Organizing committees, groups, or even drafting an accountability partner will help! Share your vision board, your business plan, or your road map, and get to work.
Five years ago, this is exactly what Innovate Springfield and the Continuum of Learning did. They put their minds together, along with voices from all over the community, toward the goal of improving outcomes for Sangamon County children facing multiple barriers. Out of this discussion and research, the Sangamon Success report was born. The 25 recommendations of the Sangamon Success report included everything from infant and maternal health to college and career readiness, each inviting a broad range of community partners to tackle the issues identified.
Now, it’s time to share the progress that we’ve made with the community! We are compiling the statistics and stories that show how much Sangamon Success has accomplished in five years and building a progress report that will fuel our growth in years to come. In order to tell the whole story, however, we need help. As you might imagine, 25 recommendations across all age groups over five years leads to a lot of data. 40 local family-serving programs were included in the original report, but there are many more programs in Sangamon County that have changed or been created since the report’s publication in 2015.
Does your organization work to reduce barriers for children in Sangamon County? If so, contact Hillary Rains, Program Director of Social Innovation at email@example.com and share your accomplishments with the whole community. Help us set our next set of goals as we all look down the road and aim for the future.
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