Why You Should Sometimes Keep Your Goals To Yourself

Updated: September 20, 2010

One of the most common practices in personal goal setting is announcing your goals to the public.

The belief is that, by letting your family and friends know that you’re trying to lose weigh, quit smoking, do a marathon, save money or whatever you want to do…

… you’ll be more motivated to act because you wouldn’t want to disappoint your loved ones with your failure (and in some way, you also wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself).

Moreover, announcing your goals would solicit positive reactions and moral support from them. And because of that, it is believed that you’ll be more inspired to work hard in achieving them.

However, a professional musician named Derek Sivers thinks it’s actually wrong to announce your goals. He advises that if one wants to finish a project, then it would always be better to keep your mouth shut.

Here’s a short video of him talking about this on TED. Watch and see if you’d agree with him.

What do you think?

Personally, I think the lesson here is to choose wisely whom we announce our goals to. I believe there is real value in making your goals known to a select number of people…

People who understand that the reason why you’re telling them your goals is because you want them to motivate and push you if you’re getting distracted, slowing down and being lazy about it. (Tip: How to stop being lazy)

I believe it’s still okay for you to announce your goals to other people, specially if they are those who can regularly follow up on your progress; those who will be able to help and support you when you’re finding it difficult to finish what you started.

As Derek Sivers pointed out, one should state one’s goals in a way that it will give no satisfaction. Remember not to be fooled by “social reality” and to always use objective measures in tracking one’s progress.

How about you, what do you think?

After watching this video, are you now more inclined not to tell people about your personal goals? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  1. after I finished watching the video, I realized na totoo pala sabi ni derek… O__o kaya pala hindi natuloy yung world chicken franchise “goal” natin. 😛 hehehe…

  2. I very much agree with this. A few weeks ago, I was tempted of telling my goals, my whole life dream in my blog. Then it came to me, it seems like all the things I did in the past when I told people of what I wanted to do… It always didn’t work out! I think the same thing goes for those who plans to take a vacation and then in the end, end up staying in their homes. Hmmm… Very interesting. I like the psychology as explained in the video. Thanks for sharing Fitz.

  3. Oh, nice psychology behind announcing goals. The most that we can do is to write our goals, keep it to ourselves, and do a constant checking and planning of what needs to be done in order to achieve it. There should always be an update on where we are to track the progress.

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