Why you shouldn’t tell people your goals.

How many times have we sat in solitude and then…BOOM! inspiration ,a brilliant idea pops-up, a new goal, a new venture that you want to take on and you’re so excited because of these new insights that you want to share it with the world. Now if you’re anything like me, you probably want to get it out there as soon as possible, because the ideas are buzzing in your head at 1000 km/h.

Very often we turn to social media to announce our great plans, be it with a simple tweet “#BigMoves” or a status update (in my case “August2018🤫”), just to let the world know that they should watch out, because you are about to smash the norms and stunt on ‘em.

When we take on a new goal, there are certain steps involved in achieving said goal and the reward we get from achieving that goal is the feeling of happiness and accomplishment.

But what we often do is we tend to share our goals and plans with friends, family, trusted council etc. and the common reason (or excuse) for this is that we are seeking “advice” or looking for feedback, but sharing your goals with others has negative effects.

When we share our goals with others we are actually tricking our minds. How? When you talk to someone about your goals your mind confuses the talking with the doing and thinks that you have done the work needed — Think back to how you’ve felt every time you told people your goals, Did you feel like you still needed to do the work? or did you feel like you already did a significant amount?

Simply put, when that person you’re sharing your wonderful plans with say “that’s a great idea” or “That’s amazing”, you experience a dopamine rush, which makes you feel good and it plays into our basic need for “want”, wanting others to admire and validate us ,this phenomenon is called social reality — the affirmation of your goal by someone whose respect you desire.

The Science

When you announce your goal you are widening your intention-behavior gap, the intention-behavior gap is the disconnect between knowing you should do something and actually doing it (ah all those empty promises 😃)

Psychologists have been studying this phenomenon and have come to the conclusion that people like to dream or as Gary Vaynerchuk would put it, “People like talking about what they’re gonna do.”

In 2009 they did a study to see how this gap was affected when people announced their goals to others, the basic premise was that people had to state a goal and they were given 45 minutes to complete the goal. They were divided into two groups, the first stated their goals to the room and then proceeded to work on it, while the second group kept their mouths shut or a vow of silence when it came to their goals.

The Result? The group that had said nothing, worked for the entire 45 minute period and when they were asked about their progress they were more realistic and said that they still had a long way to go, the first group however (The announcers),quit after 33 minutes (average time) and when they were asked about their progress they were often confident, saying that they were close to completion when in actuality, they weren’t.

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

What Should we do then?

In his TED talk Derek Sivers suggests that we should “Resist the temptation to announce your goal, delay the gratification that the social acknowledgement brings and understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing

I am not saying that you should not tell the world your goals because we are…well humans, but if you can’t resist the temptation at least get an accountability partner — someone who will hold you true to your word and make sure that you execute on what you’ve said you’ll do or want to do.

You can also look into finding a mentor because they will make the achievement of your goals way easier for you and to quote Tai Lopez “If we learned to talk from someone, it makes sense to learn life and business from someone else” (i’m paraphrasing), mentors are kind of like a cheat code and they’re your personal Jorgen Von Strangle (The strongest Fairy in Fairy World).

(⭐️Check out The Value of mentors )

“Resist the temptation to announce your goal, delay the gratification that the social acknowledgement brings and understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing”

If you can’t find one then there is always the old faithful way of doing things — Writing your goals down and looking/reviewing them constantly to check your progress for example do a monthly check-in, where you review your goals and see how much progress you have made.

There is however, another option, and this one comes from my best friend Bevon (The saying and if he didn’t intentionally mean it, the advice too) — “Confuse the enemy”, if you swallowed some magic truth serum (like me) and find yourself always telling people your business then maybe it’s time to start implementing my best friend’s advice and by that you tell all those nosy people the wrong things e.g. ‘Hey John, what are you up to?’ and then you simply tell them something else like, ‘I’m learning mandarin’… I mean it’s not lying if your goals weren’t meant to be shared with them right?

A gift

As a parting gift to all those that are going to crush their goals and just show up with massive results,I leave you this by Gary Vaynerchuk

Source: https://theascent.pub/why-you-shouldnt-tell-people-your-goals-20dffe08097f
By: Danley Wildebees
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash



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