Goal setting

Why Talking About Your Goal Setting Doesn’t Work

The typical advice about goal setting goes something like this: Set a goal and then tell lots of people about it. That will keep you accountable. The problem? It seldom works. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.


When you tell someone about your goal, you get a sense of satisfaction and even a little tingling sense of achievement. Your mind becomes somewhat content, as if you’ve already achieved that goal. Announcing the goal makes you feel closer to achieving it even though you haven’t actually done any work yet.

Psychologists call this a problem of “social reality” or “social acknowledgment.” You’ve identified with an end goal and get a little smug about the thing you haven’t done yet. Now you’re less likely to do the work. This is also known as having a premature sense of completeness.

A Better Method for Goal Setting

If you cannot avoid talking about your goals, then follow this idea. Talk about them in such a way that no praise or adoration can be bestowed upon you. You do not want to feel accomplised before you have even started. Otherwise you never will. Give the video below a watch, Derek Sivers makes some great points in it.

Friends Don’t Mean It

Sometimes it’s your friends and co-workers that might try to derail you. It’s natural to feel threatened by someone’s success and it can make you feel inadequate. As if the goal setting process wasn’t hard enough, you then have to contend with those you’re close to trying to throw a spanner in the works. They don’t mean it. Stick to the path and keep going.

Keep your mouth closed, do your thing, and celebrate your actual achievements, then they are so much more sweeter.


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