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Goals: To Share or Not to Share

2012 November 8
by Marquita Herald

Demand more from yourself than anyone else could ever expect. ~Anthony Robbins

Sharing Your GoalsWhen it comes to the question of whether or not to share goals, many experts side in favor of sharing, while research supports keeping mum about our plans.

Of course, 99% of the people who know you probably won’t care one way or the other about your goals. They may care very much about you as a person of course, but they have their own world, struggles and goals to manage.

In any case, ultimately the idea of sharing your goals really isn’t about other people anyway, it’s about adding a little more juice to your own efforts so that you’ll be even more proud when you accomplish your goal, and even more embarrassed if you fail.

3 Ways sharing goals can help you succeed:

  • Accountability: Sharing your goals provides a sense of accountability, adds that extra bit of pressure to help keep you on track and, theoretically, brings out your best efforts.
  • Motivation: Knowing that others are aware of your goals, and counting on you to succeed, helps to keep you motivated. Having people cheering you along your journey will help you discover a greater level of enthusiasm and energy, and achieve more in less time.
  • Connection: Often our goals are fine-tuned by our interactions with others. Every time we talk about them they become clearer and more structured, and in the process we have the opportunity to connect with like minded people in our social circle who share similar goals and dreams.

On the other hand …Keeping Goals to Yourself

The idea behind sharing your goals is that peer pressure will keep you on track. But relying on your friends to be your goal “police” can be stressful, not only for you, but also for them if they see themselves as somehow responsible for your success or failure.

3 Reasons for not sharing your goals.

Sharing your goals makes you feel better about yourself and your dreams, but …

The problem is that once you have this nice feeling, your desire to put forth the effort to achieve the goals is lessened.

Research studies have found that announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re then less motivated to do the hard work needed. In other words, the mind partially mistakes the pleasure you get from talking about the goals, and from getting approval from others, for the actual doing of the goals.

Every time you tell the world about some of your goals, you modify them.

While this may help to provide “clarity,” it can also result in your goal being subtly morphed into something very different from your original intention, to the point you may not even realize that somewhere along the line, you began working on someone else’s dream rather than your own.

Okay, this one is touchy but all too true … sometimes your goals will not be acceptable in the minds of friends and family.

  • There may be people in your life with a vested interest in you staying just the way you are. It may be insecurity, envy, fear of change, or simply fear of losing you … of you becoming more, while they remain the same.
  • What you want to achieve may run counter to what another person’s goals are, either for you or for themselves. Half the time they aren’t even consciously aware of these feelings. On the other hand, families have been known to apply pretty intense pressure to conform to their goals and expectations.
  • Random Triggers in other people’s environments can cause them to do, and say, amazingly foolish things to thwart your goal efforts. For example, maybe they may have failed in the past, and will tell you that you can’t accomplish something simply because they couldn’t … or they may not even respond at all, leaving you assuming the silent treatment is in itself resounding disapproval of your goal.

So what’s the answer?

Maybe the bigger issue is not so much whether or not to share our goals, but what we choose to share, how we share it, and who we choose to share with.

  • Sharing smaller goals with others can fulfill the desire for connection, and there’s less at stake regardless of the outcome. This is also a great way to test the waters to see who will be most supportive, and who you may (or may not) want to share bigger, more important, goals with in the future.
  • Consider partnering with one or more people (think “goal buddies”) who have similar or like-minded goals, and cheer each other on. This way the sharing is not just about you, the added energy can greatly enhance your motivation and, best of all, it’s a terrific way to build supportive friendships for other legs of the journey to achieve your dreams.
  • Consider keeping more difficult, or potentially controversial, goals to yourself - at least until you’ve made some progress and gained confidence in your decision to pursue the goal.
  • Tap into the power of self-motivation. As nice as it is to have the support of those around you, they are not always going to be there to say the perfect thing when you need to hear it. If you really need to hear that “perfect” thing to keep you going, say it to yourself, and BELIEVE IT!

Whatever you decide, it ultimately comes down to cultivating belief in yourself, holding yourself to a higher standard and gaining confidence in the choices you make about your future.

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29 Responses
  1. November 19, 2012

    Sharing goals sometimes may be misjudged by the people you are telling it with. It is right that you could choose people to whom you are going to share your goals with. Being secured to oneself will bring you peace of mind and less concerns. What is important is that you are sure to your goals and if it has been modified, you will still hold on to it and keep moving forward to achieve it.

  2. November 19, 2012

    Hi Marquita
    Great post. very important tip for Share or Not to Share. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster, Urban Chat and Black Planet are just a few of more than 100 Web sites connecting folks around the world who are eager to share their thoughts and feelings. But just like in real life, there’s such a thing as sharing too much information .

    Thanks ,
    clarkmartin recently posted..ElectricianMy Profile

  3. November 12, 2012

    Hi Marquita,
    I am certain that this topic resonates with most of the blogging community – sharing goals cuts both ways. I totally agree with you that it is better to keep silent about certain plans if you are not certain about them as of yet. Peer pressure can be harmful if you see a better way out and decide to revise your plans.
    As to the plans to lose some weight or exercise regularly – these ones should be shared with the entire world because it is better not to give up here no matter what happens.
    Julia Reed recently posted..Fraternity Hazing: Hair-Raising Facts All Freshmen Must KnowMy Profile

  4. November 11, 2012

    I always talk about my goals because it pushes me. I see therefor in my head my back is up against the wall. I know myself very well and when my back is up against the wall I am at my best. If you fail then it pushes you that much more.
    Garen recently posted..CommentLuv Premium ReviewMy Profile

  5. Melanie Young
    November 11, 2012


    I really enjoyed this post. As I read it, everything that you said resonated with me in some form or fashion. I think people don’t realize this happens to them unless it is pointed out or read an article such as this one. The good thing is once a person realizes this is happening they modify their behavior to keep from doing it again.

    Melanie Young recently posted..FallMy Profile

  6. November 10, 2012

    Hi Marquita. This is a thought-provoking post. I must admit it is something that I’ve never thought too much about. I mainly keep my goals to myself, because I tend to be more of a private person. I know well how other people can sabotage your goals, ergo when I used to smoke. “Oh, come one, just have a cigarette with me. One won’t hurt.” And trying to lose weight. “I baked these brownies just because you were coming over. You have to have one.” I tell everyone, “When I’m a millionaire …” They mostly just laugh, but I don’t mind. It is audacious!

    All the best,
    Leslie Denning recently posted..Millionaire Mindset: The Results MachineMy Profile

    • November 11, 2012

      Oh wow, the little conversational exchange you shared sounds awfully familiar – I know a lot of people who go through similar challenges when trying to diet or just improve their overall health. We want to believe it’s all well intentioned, but there’s no doubt at least some of it has to do with not wanting someone else to improve, while they remain stuck. Thanks for taking the time to share :-)

  7. November 10, 2012

    Great post Marty,

    One of the reasons why I love it is that I think that a lot of people either share goals with others or not mainly out of habit without their reasons for doing so or choosing not to. Your post can help anyone in either side because by showing the pros and cons of both, someone can do what feels best for them and do specific things to help with the cons. Someone who naturally likes to share goals but notices that they are getting a boost through doing so that occasionally substitutes for the boost of actually accomplishing that goal can set up other things in place to allow them to keep them on track.
    Paul Reimers recently posted..How Do You Create Your Business?My Profile

    • November 11, 2012

      Welcome back Paul, and thank you so much for taking the time to contribute to the conversation, and for sharing your valuable insights on the topic. Always appreciated!

  8. November 10, 2012

    Marty, What a thought provoking post. It really gets one to think about his or her goals. Which ones are big or little. Which ones do you feel safe sharing and with whom. For sure it is most wonderful to have that like minded bosom buddy that you can share Everything with and who will walk with or along side of you helping you to reach your goals singly or together.
    And it’s true many friends and family will not understand and won’t want you to change from the person that they know, but we have to do what is right for us.
    Bless you friend,
    Lynn Jones recently posted..“The Noticer”…….It’s All About PerspectiveMy Profile

    • November 11, 2012

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts Lynn, and for me, the absolute best compliment is to say that something I’ve written has caused a reader to really think about the topic!

  9. November 10, 2012

    I still struggle whether to share or not… You have some great suggestions as to whom and to share what with.. big goals to self, and smaller to others.. I have chosen to work with a coach and that way I stay accountable to that person… (for now)… Great topic here and I am sure there are many many answers that work.
    Holly recently posted..You’re Losing It And I Bet You Didn’t Even Know It!My Profile

  10. November 10, 2012

    I have had a lot of opportunities to think about goal setting and goal announcement both in the military and in some of the jobs I have had. It has never made any difference to the accomplishment of my goal whether I tell anyone about it or not. So I don’t.

    I don’t think public embarrassment is a particularly useful idea as far as living a happy life goes. And being afraid to not meet a goal set by someone else is also not particularly how I want to live my life. :-)

    So I guess I would say for me, to make goals, and keep them to myself or share them with someone who is going to support me as a friend, that sounds pretty good to me.
    Michael Shook recently posted..Binaural Beats And Positive Affirmations For AbundanceMy Profile

  11. November 10, 2012

    Hi Marquita,

    I agree with Gary that sharing my goals with my trusted inner circle is good because they help me to keep moving forward.
    i am currently part of a program that is 100% goal oriented. I am part of a 100 day program and am currently on day 51. So far, I haven’t achieved what I originally set out to do, but my goals were so lofty as to be really ridiculous given that I have a day-job, two kids and a husband to care for, and a NM team! But, it has been so enlightening and fun to share with the group. Each week, the goals have been adjusted as results are appraised.

    in the end, I have achieved more in 51 days than in the previous 10 months!


    • November 10, 2012

      Thanks so much for taking the time to contribute to the converation Claire! You know, it think we each have to find our own path, and it sounds like you’ve connected with a terrific group! I wish you all the best with your lofty goals :-)

  12. November 9, 2012

    Ooh la la really enjoyed this post!
    As for me I’m always way more demanding of myself that I am of others. I’m very mineful that being to demanding of myself is not a good thing either. This is especially so as put oneself under too much pressure can be dangerous to our health…. pressure usually means stress and stress brings risk of heart attack! I’m trying to slow myself down by tweaking my use of my time.

    All that said I do declare out loud my intentions it seems to turn them idea to reality it’s all part of the process . Have a lovely weekend :)
    Sadie-Michaela Harris recently posted..Big Trends in UK Mobile 2012My Profile

    • November 10, 2012

      Hey Sadie-Michaela, so glad you enjoyed the article. I really don’t share my goals either, but I do talk about them with my dog Lucy and have my vision board posted right next to my laptop so it’s in front of me at ALL times :-)

  13. November 9, 2012


    Its been a while so I thought I would stop by and read up on your latest insights. And I have to tell you, this is a great post.

    When it comes to sharing my goals with people I really have a hard time with it. I think it comes from being in the military for 21 years. You see we get so focused on Army stuff that there isn’t time for anything else. And if you bring up other things outside of the Army your shunned.

    So I learned long ago that my “dreams” and goals for the future should be kept to myself.

    Today however, I am exactly two weeks away from being out of the Army for good so I get to tell you one of my goals right now.

    “Get out of the Army and never look at a boss again”

    • November 10, 2012

      Ha! I haven’t known you that long Clint, but I understand where you’re coming from as far as your upcoming “liberation” from the army :-) I actually had similar experiences with my friends Clint – for you it’s the army, for me it was international sales and marketing with the travel industry. Initially I tried sharing my excitement about the job and opportunities – the friends loved the gifts I brought back to them from all over the world, but otherwise were not even remotely interested. I learned to just keep my mouth shut and keep my plans and dreams to myself.

  14. November 9, 2012

    I think goal sharing is important. For one, if you keep them to yourself, they are easier to drop. Second is that people can help you meet your goals. They know what pitfalls might overcome you and they will try and give you an easier time.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Gary Young recently posted..China Sourcing: Setting Goals.My Profile

    • November 10, 2012

      Welcome back Gary, and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. I am a big believer in the value of each of us finding the best way to achieve our goals in life. If that means sharing goals with others – then terrific! I must admit, personally, I tend to side with the research.

  15. November 9, 2012

    Years ago, and I mean a really long time ago, in elementary school, I loudly proclaimed a goal, translated – I shot off my mouth about something. Of course, the goal was not met, it was obvious to all that it was not achieved and my embarrassment meter went off the charts. (That was before I could even spell “embarrassment”.) I NEVER did that sort of thing again. So, this topic hits VERY close to home.

    Besides the excellent analysis of whether to say or not to say your goals you’ve pinpointed the way to avoid the pitfalls. Sure could have used that advice back at the dawn of time.

    Thanks, Marty,

    Rick Lelchuk recently posted..Chocolate or Vanilla, Choose!My Profile

    • November 10, 2012

      Glad you enjoyed the article Rick – I’m sure you’ll agree that the best teacher of all is experience :-) I can recall more than a couple of occasions sharing goals with friends – who in turn wondered out loud if I’d lost my friggin mind. Fortunately, I chose to follow my own path, and as a result, enjoyed a long, supremely fulfilling career in travel and ended up seeing a big chunk of the world. While many of my friends have never ventured beyond the shores of this 500 sq mile Island.

  16. November 9, 2012

    Wonderful post, yes accountability is important to me for moving forward. Putting your goals out there can be a great way to be accountable- hiding our goals also keeps up playing it small
    You have me thinking thank you
    Suzie Cheel recently posted..How To Tie Your Hand Painted Silk ScarfMy Profile

    • November 10, 2012

      Welcome back Suzie, and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. I believe it’s important for each person to find the best way to motivate themselves to achieve their goals – so if sharing goals works, then I’m all for it. That said, years ago I tried sharing goals, and found I tend to dream much BIGGER than most people I know. Had I not followed my own path, and relied on them for support and accountability, I’d be living a much smaller life these days.

  17. November 9, 2012

    Lots of good tips here. An excellent way for folks to get started. Later!
    Candice Michelle recently posted..Dr. LaitmanMy Profile

  18. November 8, 2012


    Starting November 1st, I made a verbal and written commitment with a group called, to write my first novel of at least 50,000 words by the end of November. I had no idea where or how to begin. Should I make an outline of the plot, a list of all the characters, a list of issues I want to weave into the storyline. And, if I had not made that spoken and written commitment, I may have changed my mind and never started writing.

    The fact that 100′s, maybe 1000′s of other would-be authors and established writers had also made the same commitment was totally motivating to me. Also, we were asked to write 3 words and then an entire sentence to describe our work. The words of the other people helped to shape the gist of my story. I would never have thought about including magical powers until I saw that several others were doing so. My character, therefore, has some amazing healing powers.

    The connections I have with others has also inspired me. One week before beginning, the publisher of a local newspaper I had written for many years ago, contacted me and told me he had written a novel. Immediately I ordered the novel and started reading it in late October. His novel added insights in how to develop the storyline, the characters and the descriptions.

    And I shared my intentions with my Facebook friends. There was no going back. Thy will be done.


    Dr. Erica
    Erica Goodstone recently posted..What If YOU Knew the Secret to Living Past 100?My Profile

  19. November 8, 2012

    this is interesting topic and you correctly lay it down as it should.. Thanks so much for doing a great job.

    All was great to read and reflect on it but when I read: “the bigger issue is not so much whether or not to share our goals, but what we choose to share, how we share it, and who we choose to share with”. I say to my self… yes, this is it :-)

    I come across much on this subject and now work very simply.. meaning… I set goals, achieve them and move on to the next…and if along the way I need to share some or all of the goal set… I use what one of my Teacher once said: “Tell the world what you intend to do .. but first do it:-)

    Thanks once again for a great article Marquita
    Nick Catricala recently posted..Reaching Out…My Profile

    • November 9, 2012

      Welcome back Nick, and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts – always appreciated!

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