Goals: To Share or Not to Share
Demand more from yourself than anyone else could ever expect. ~Anthony Robbins
When 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 …
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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