New Research Reveals Goal-Setting Gender Gap

Today is probably the most optimistic day of 2011.  It's the first working day of 2011 and I'm sure that many of us have visions and hopes of a clean slate and are looking at the upcoming year with lots of hopes and visions for good things.

If you aren't into setting goals and resolutions because you just haven't had good results with the process.  I'd recommend you get yourself a copy of Hard Goals: The Secret to Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Mark Murphy.

This is book is a combination of "Law of Attraction" theory that focuses on have a clear vision of what you want to create and achieve an combines it with practical goal setting processes.

Just to whet your appetite - here's a release the author's publisher put out about a study that they did that distinguishes the differences in how men and women set goals.

Study Shows Key Differences in How Men and Women Tackle Goals; Surprising Findings Guide the Sexes to Optimize Goal Achievement

Men and women process goals differently, finds a groundbreaking international study of 4,690 men and women released today by Leadership IQ*, one of the world's top providers of leadership training.


While the goals men and women pursue are relatively similar (and their failure rate too), the study found four dramatic differences in how each sex approaches and carries out their goals:


#1:  Women care about their goals more than men

Because women are more emotionally connected to their goals than men, they’re more likely to stick to their goals when the going gets tough.


#2:  Men visualize their goals better than women

Like the visualization used by elite athletes, men more clearly picture their goals than women. This gives them greater direction and focus.


#3:  Women are more likely to procrastinate than men

Women feel less urgency to achieve their goals than men.  This results in procrastination, and potentially, goal failure.

#4: Women set tougher goals than men

Women are more likely to leave their comfort zones and set challenging (and even scary) goals. This leads to both greater achievement and fulfillment.




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Based on these findings, the following advice is offered to women and men to achieve goals more effectively:



• Women need to spend more time visualizing and picturing their goals. This could mean pictures, drawings, vision boards, etc., but whatever the form, women need to tap into the focus and direction that men get from more clearly picturing their goals.


• Women need to attach a greater sense of urgency to their goals, avoiding procrastination by setting more urgent deadlines, immediate rewards, limiting choices, etc.


• Women need to accomplish at least one thing each day that pushes them closer to their goals. By asking “What must I have accomplished today in order to keep on track to achieve my goals,” women can achieve higher levels of focus and urgency.




• Men need to develop more emotional attachment to their goals. Pursuing a goal without a deep emotional commitment can lead to wavering. Whether the commitment is intrinsic, extrinsic or personal, men must answer “why do I really care about achieving this goal?”


• Men need to set more difficult goals. Men need to increase the difficulty of their goals by asking themselves questions like ‘what will I have to learn to achieve this goal?’ ‘How will I grow as a person as a result of this goal?’ ‘What new skills will I have acquired by virtue of pursuing this?’ If men find that their goals aren’t stretching their minds (and helping them leave their comfort zone), they should increase their goals' difficulty by 20%.


• Men need to generate more social accountability for their goals. This doesn’t mean that men have to tweet or facebook post about their goals, but should identify somebody in their lives who will engage and help them stay on track toward their goals each day. This helps keep men emotionally connected to their goals and ensures they keep them appropriately difficult.

The failure rates for both sexes have been staggering -- in fact, some 85% of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned within just 90 days.





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"With a heightened awareness of our differences, we can each achieve our important goals more effectively -- not just New Year's resolutions, but achieving meaningful goals all year long," notes Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of Leadership IQ, and author of HARD Goals: The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (Nov 12, 2010; McGraw-Hill).


About Leadership IQ


Leadership IQ is a top-rated provider of goal-setting training, leadership training, employee surveys and e-learning. As the force behind some of the largest leadership studies ever conducted, Leadership IQ’s programs have yielded remarkable results for such organizations as Microsoft, IBM, MasterCard, Merck, MD Anderson Cancer Center, FirstEnergy, Volkswagen and Johns Hopkins.


Leadership IQ’s research has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Post, as well as on ABC’s 20/20, CBS News Sunday Morning, Fox News, among others news outlets. Founded by bestselling author and leadership expert Mark Murphy, Leadership IQ’s research can also be found in his books, including Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your People to Give It Their All and They’ll Give You Even More, and his latest book HARD Goals: The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. Leadership IQ is headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Atlanta, GA and Cincinnati, OH.


Survey Process


During September-October, 2010, Leadership IQ surveyed 4,690 individuals about their goals (2,506 women and 2,184 men responded). Study participants came from a range of countries with the majority coming from the United States and Canada.



Geographic participation

United States                                                                                     88.52%
Other (including Australia, Africa, South America)2.87%




  1. [...] Today is probably the most optimistic day of 2011.  It’s the first working day of 2011 and I’m ... [...]


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