Here’s why you should keep your goals to yourself


After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone but Derek Sivers suggests it is better to keep goals secret. To prove his point, he presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s. The research shows why people who talk about their goals are less likely to achieve them.

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“Take a few seconds and think of your biggest goal. Imagine telling someone what you are going to do. Imagine their congratulations in their high image of you. Doesn’t it feel good to say it out loud? Don’t you feel one step closer already? Like it’s already becoming part of your identity? Well, bad news. You should have kept your mouth shut because that good feeling now will make you less likely to do it,” he said.

According to him, repeated psychology tests have proven that telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen. Anytime you have a goal, he says, there are some steps that need to be taken and some work that needs to be done in order to achieve it.

According to psychologists, when you reveal your goal to people and they acknowledge it then your mind is tricked into feeling that it’s already done. “And then because you have felt that satisfaction, you are less motivated to do the necessary hard work. So, this goes against the conventional wisdom that we should tell our friends our goals,” he added.

Quoting various studies, he said, “In 1926, Kurt Lewin, founder of Social Psychology, called this a substitution. In 1933, Wera Mahler found that when a goal was acknowledged by others, it felt real in the mind. In 1982 Peter Goblitzer wrote a book about this, and in 2009 he did some new tests which also proved that announcing goals may make you less likely to achieve them.”

So, what should you do? “Well, you could resist the temptation to announce your goal. You can delay the gratification that the social acknowledgment brings, and you can understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing. But, still, if you do need to talk about something, you could state it in a way that gives you no satisfaction,” he said.

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