Why You Should Keep Your Goals to Yourself

Sharing isn’t always a good idea.

If you’re like most people, when you have a big goal, you’re probably itching to talk about it. Excitement takes over and you want to tell everyone. It’s often done with the noble intention of holding yourself accountable to the hopes and daydreams that would otherwise live silently in your imagination. And, by telling the world, it can feel as though you’re cementing your plans into real action.… Well, it turns out, that’s not true. None of it is.

Keep Your Big Goal a Big Secret

At least for a little bit anyway. It may come as a shock, but goal setting is best done in solitude. And running to tell friends, coworkers, and your mom isn’t such a wise first step in actualizing the things you want to achieve.

Studies show that sharing goals on impulse or prematurely can actually lessen the likelihood that we’ll see them into fruition. In fact, just vocalizing these plans to others triggers a feeling of accomplishment; it tricks your brain into thinking you’ve achieved something. We subconsciously feel like we’ve taken steps toward completing said goal, which is clearly not the case. This false sense of effort then lessens our intrinsic motivation to actually start the real work, and diminishes the likelihood we’ll take further steps toward completing the goal.

Get Some Momentum Before You Drop the News

If you’re serious about a goal, you may want to call off the presses and hold the social posts until you’ve made some real progress with the whole endeavor.

Focus groups have been held since the 1930s proving this theory. Participants who had a goal, but harbored it for a bit, had far more motivation and inner fire to make headway toward completing their intentions. While those who immediately announced their plans before laying any groundwork went on to linger far longer—if not indefinitely—in those critical beginning stages, and in the end, were far less likely to reach their goal.

Naysayers Gonna Naysay

In addition to tricking yourself into thinking you’ve made real progress, there’s another downer to shouting your goals from the rooftops. Sharing your new goal prematurely is like a putting a fragile seedling out in the bright sun too early. You expose your idea to the harsh opinions of the world before it’s ready.

Instead, wait. Protect it. Really get to know it. Understand your goal, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it. Cultivate it, so that when the time comes to start sharing it with the world, you’re in a good place to take constructive criticism, make improvements, listen to valuable input, and confidently shut down the naysayers. Because there will always be naysayers.

Going, Going, Gone

While it’s important to keep your goals and daydreams just for you, just for a bit, you don’t have to keep your lips zipped forever. When you’re ready, choose a friend, mentor, or partner to confide in. It should be someone whom you trust and whose opinion means a great deal to you. Start to bounce the goal and your ideas off of them. Show them where you’re at and where you want to go. Gut-check everything. See how things are landing outside of your own brain. This is an exciting step! You’re putting things out into the universe. Stuff is happening. Synapses are firing! See how they react. And respond accordingly—tweaking, tinkering, and chugging away at getting closer to your goal.

And, when you’re ready, slowly but surely begin to let the rest of the world in on the news. And smile as you watch your once tiny seedling begin to sprout into something truly beautiful.

Photo via iStock

sized-Laci-MosierLaci Mosier is a copywriter living and loving in Austin, Texas. She and her one-eyed pirate dog live for exploring and discovering life’s magic. She is most inspired by yoga, running, Kundalini meditation, good books, great jams and even better coffee. Getting lost is where she is most often found. Follow her on the Twittersphere or Instagram.