November 10, 2019

How to achieve a goal successfully: Keep it private

You have set your goal and you are determined to accomplish it. Now you start announcing your goal to friends & family. But does this really help?

How to achieve a goal successfully: Keep it private

So you have set your goal and you are super determined to accomplish it ... this time.

You have your achieving goals quotes printed and pinned on your pinboard to look at them every day, you have studied goal setting examples multiple times, and you have made a step-by-step plan on how to get to your goal.

Now you start announcing your goal to your close friends, to your not-close-friends (i.e. social media) and your family.

Congratulations! You are undoing some of the hard work you've done preparing for achieving your goal.

There is strong evidence (1, 2, 3) that keeping your goals for yourself makes it more likely to achieve them.

But this is counter-intuitive, I hear you say!

Announcing your goals and sharing them with friends & family isn't supposed to add social pressure to do them? Or at least to get the support or push that will help you move to that direction?

It seems that the moment you announce something out loud and get acknowledged, the brain is tricked to believe to this "social reality" even if it's not actual reality.

This "fake link" that has been created in your brain might be just enough to give you the same satisfaction that you would have got if you made some progress.

And since this has already given you a sense of completeness, why bother with the actual goal?

If you take a look at the evidence above, statistically if you keep your intentions private is more likely that you will achieve them.

So you should be super secretive and hide in the shadows?

Not quite.

Just when you share your goals or intentions with others, try not to express it as a satisfaction (e.g. "I am going to do X!!!"). Rather try to be accountable if you don't do it (e.g. "I want to do X, please push me if you see I'm drifting.").

So next time you are ready to publish that celebratory goal-achieving quote to indicate that you will do X, think about it one more time.

Maybe hold that post for after you accomplish your goal.

You'll see that it will be more rewarding then!

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