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Do NOT share your GOALS and you will achieve them

FACT: Sharing your goals makes you less motivated to achieve them.

I have been told numerous times to share my goals as this is a means of ensuring I achieved them. The premise becomes, you’ve told people, they know, so now you have to do them. This creates an accountability partner/s. Surprisingly, according to psychological research, this is wrong. YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER SHARE YOUR GOALS.

The good feeling of sharing your goals makes you less likely to do them.

When you have a goal some steps need to be met before you achieve that goal. For example, when wanting to get fitter, you have to make a diet plan, stick to it and then lose the weight. Ultimately, when people comment on your weight loss, that makes you feel better. By telling people before achieving the goal you have that sense of achievement much earlier. This leads to a social reality, taking away the need to take actionable steps to achieve the goal. Social reality is the affirmation by someone you respect that makes you feel closer to achieving said goal. When in reality, you haven’t done anything. For example, how many Youtubers have said, I will be posting weekly, got their subscribers all excited and then did not for months or even years after?


Several studies have shown this. Kurt Lewin (1926) called this substitution. Wera Mahler (1933) found that when the goal was acknowledged by others, it felt real in the mind. In 2009, Peter Gollwitzer writer of, The Psychology of Action: Linking Cognition and Motivation to Behavior (1989), conducted tests on intention. The study is known as, “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the intention-behaviour Gap?” In the study (Gollwitzer et.al, 2009), a group of people wrote down their goals. Half of the people announced their goals to the room and the other half did not. Following this everyone was given 45 minutes of work leading them to their goal. The ones that had announced to the room quit after approximately 30 minutes, were more confident and felt much closer to completing their goal. The ones that had not announced and kept quiet worked the whole 45 minutes on average, felt they had a long way to go before achieving their goal and were much more realistic. The group that stated their goals, were actually not close to their goal but had social reality.


There was also a marketing stunt that failed that was put up by ITV, where they asked people to publicly commit to goals and these were edged onto monuments. These were then placed in various sites across the UK, but after a few years, the network scrapped the stunt because no one cared and people did not achieve their goals. They were ultimately not making any money. The fact that they told people affected people achieving these.


Accountability?

What about accountability? Let’s be honest, most people do not care. I told a few people about starting this blog, but I stopped and no one asked me why. Like literally, no one. People may pat you on the back and say well done but honestly, people won’t care unless they have something to gain from your success. Realistically, no one is going to drag you to get out of bed, no one will force you to study and no one will carry you to the gym. With accountability, unless you are both on the same track, for example going to the gym together, rarely will someone make an effort over a long period to make sure you made it to the gym.


Telling people what you are planning to do widens your intention-behaviour gap. The intention behaviour gap is the disconnect between knowing what you should do and doing it. This analysis showed that as humans we like to dream and make goals. We however do not like the action part of it.


DO NOT SHARE YOUR GOALS!

Analysis shows that there 4 types of people:


1. Talk and do (annoying)

2. Talk and don’t do (pretenders)

3. Don’t Talk and do (Best)

4. Don’t talk and don’t do (the worst)


People who don’t talk but do tend to be the best. They have a certain lifestyle but don’t flaunt it. They have nice bodies but they don’t barrage you with comments on how they did it. They live in a nice house but do not spend hours telling you when they intend to buy their next or how much is in their savings. They get good grades but do not sit there telling you how many hours they intend to study. They only share their goals with those they trust, a trusted accountability buddy or a trusted group.


Ultimately, speaking before you do, is a useless step of actually doing. By talking, you’re seeking clear validation from something you have not even tried to do. So GO AND DO THAT THING THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE BUT DO NOT TELL ANYONE.


So how do you keep quiet?

  1. Don’t talk about what you’re doing. Give your tongue a rest and do the thing when no one is watching. Validation should come from you consistently doing something.

  2. Delay gratification caused by talking about goals - resist the temptation to announce your goals, delay the gratification that the social acknowledgement brings and understand that your mind mistakes the TALKING for the DOING.

  3. If you have to say something use this example: “I have to finish this assignment first and to do this I have to do X amount of research, type up the assignment, spell check and send.” This method gives no satisfaction rather than saying, “I plan on handling this early, so I can have a longer holiday.” This allows your mind to understand the gravity of your intent.

  4. Write down your goals and the steps of the goals.

  5. If you have to have an accountability partner, find someone who will keep you accountable.

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