Large-scale studies show success at achieving goals isn’t always easy.
A few years ago I conducted two large-scale scientific studies on the psychology of motivation. The project involved tracking more than five thousand participants from around the world who were attempting to achieve a wide range of aims and ambitions, including losing weight, gaining new qualifications, starting a new relationship, quitting smoking, embarking on a new career, and being more environmentally friendly. One group was followed for six months, the other for one year. At the beginning of the project, the vast majority of participants was confident of doing well. At the end of their allotted time period, everyone was asked to describe the techniques that they had used to try to achieve their goals and to report their level of success. Only about 10 percent reported that they had successfully achieved their aims and ambitions