According to recent research by the University of Scranton, 92% of people who set New Year’s Eve goals never achieve them. What’s the difference between the 92% of people who don’t meet their goals and the 8% who do?

Research by Edwin Locke and his academic partners answered that question back in the 1970s. Their research showed that the most achievable goals were ones that were specific and challenging. But they shouldn’t be so challenging that they can’t realistically be achieved.

Locke’s research showed that specific and challenging goals led to higher rate of achievement than easy goals. “Do your best” goals or no goals also met with failure. Based on their field work, the people who achieved their goals most often received feedback to keep them on track. They were given a reward such as money when they attained their goal, and they accepted their goals.

In other words, in a work setting, they were assigned a goal and they accepted the goal. And then had some input and ownership into how it was going (they got feedback and they wanted the reward).

So how can you put this information into practice? If you want to learn Italian so that you can attend an international conference in Rome next year, don’t just tell yourself that you want to “learn Italian.” Instead, set a specific and achievable goal. Set a goal to purchase a language learning program. Set a goal for yourself to complete a chapter every three days. Then set a goal to join a conversational group six months from now.

Those goals are specific and achievable. And there’s a pretty good reward attached to completing it. When you learn to create manageable goals, and give manageable goals to your employees, you’ve moved yourself from the realm of the 92% who consistently fail to meet their goals to the rare and few who actually do. That’s something to be proud of.

Would you rather the laundry be washed but not yet folded, or still piled up in the dirty hamper?

Would you rather have a 10-minute phone call with your best friend because you’re both busy? Or keep waiting for that hour-long phone call that never happens?

Would you rather have a card from your kids that has your name misspelled? Or no card at all?

Would you rather meet a goal, or never meet the goal because you were waiting until it was “perfect”?

Hopefully these examples show you that in many situations, particularly in business, getting something, even if it has room for improvement, is better than waiting until it is perfectly polished. Because it may never be perfect. When we start using new apps and computer software, we know they may be buggy. We use it anyway and happily install the updates when they tell us they’ve fixed a glitch. There’s no reason to choose whether you would rather be perfect or ready.

What matters is that you are working, and your work is evolving. It is fine to set a goal and meet it, with the realization that you have a chance to go back later and improve it. In fact, you probably should go back and improve it. If it’s perfect already, that doesn’t give you any chance to make it better.

Don’t let the goal of perfection be a roadblock to putting your work out there. The beauty of the world today is that you can update whatever it is . . . your website, your product packaging, your email, your hairstyle.

It’s better to try and fail and learn and find moderate success and improve than to have no success at all. As Seth Godin says, “Polish with your peers, your true fans, the market. Because when we polish together, we make better work.”