March 7, 2024 - 15 min read

Why You Shouldn't Talk About Your Goals with Everyone

Why You Shouldn't Talk About Your Goals.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Nicolas Moore
Nicolas Moore Growth Mindset Expert

Have you ever told someone about a big goal, only to feel strangely deflated afterward?

Maybe you were excited to start a new business, run your first marathon, or finally write that book. But after sharing it, the motivation seemed to vanish.

There are actually good reasons why it’s smart to be selective about who you share your goals with. This article will show you why sometimes it’s better to stay quiet and let your results do the talking. You’ll learn:

  • How sharing goals can affect your motivation.
  • Why certain reactions can put a damper on your enthusiasm.
  • The types of people who will truly support your dreams.

Let’s dive in!

"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things."

Avoid talk about your goals Albert Einstein

7 Reasons of Why you Shouldn’t Talk About Your Goals

While sharing your goals can be a powerful motivator, it’s important to be strategic about who you share them with.

Research and personal experience point to several compelling reasons why keeping your goals under wraps, at least sometimes, can be beneficial.

Why avoid talking about your goals is worth it

Let’s delve into these reasons and explore how they might influence your own journey towards achieving your dreams.

1. Premature Praise Problem

Sometimes, the simple act of announcing your goals can trick your brain into thinking you’ve already achieved something. This phenomenon is called “premature praise” or “social reality” and it can sap your motivation.

The Research:

In a study by New York University psychologist Peter Gollwitzer, students committed to studying for an exam were divided into two groups. One group kept their intentions private, while the other announced their goal publicly.

Those who’d made a public announcement ended up studying for less time and ultimately earned lower grades.

Why it happens:

The researchers suggest that when you receive recognition for simply intending to do something, it activates the brain’s reward system, releasing a dose of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine plays a key role in motivation and feelings of pleasure.

However, in this case, the reward comes too early, before you’ve put in the hard work required to achieve your goal. This premature gratification can trick your brain into feeling like you’ve already accomplished something, reducing your motivation to take action and see the goal through to completion.

2. Well-Meaning But Undermining Feedback

When you share your goals, you’re opening yourself up to other people’s opinions and reactions.

While some might be supportive, others, even with the best of intentions, might express doubts or offer well-meaning but potentially demotivating advice.

Potential Pitfalls:

Imagine you want to change careers – someone might point out the financial risks or highlight the difficulties. While they might have valid points, hearing constant negativity can chip away at your confidence and make your goals seem less achievable.

Protecting Your Resolve:

Early on, your goals are like delicate seedlings. It’s easy for doubt and discouragement to weaken your resolve.

Sometimes it’s best to gain some inner momentum and solidify your plan before opening it up to the feedback of others.

Don’t talk about it, be about it.

3. The Dangers of Comparison

When you’re working towards a big goal, it’s natural to look around to see what others are doing. Sharing your plans openly can inadvertently set you up for unfavorable comparisons. This can lead to either of these scenarios:

  • The Downward Comparison: You might see someone way farther ahead on their journey. This can be discouraging and leave you feeling like you’ll never catch up.
  • The Upward Comparison: Alternatively, you might notice someone lagging behind. This could lull you into a false sense of security, making you feel complacent and less motivated to push yourself.

The Bottom Line: Comparison is a dangerous game, especially early on in your journey. Focus on your own progress and celebrate your milestones, regardless of where you stand in relation to others.

4. Lose Your Competitive Edge

While sharing dreams and aspirations often connects us with others, there are certain circumstances where it might be wise to stay a bit more strategic.

This is especially true in competitive industries or situations where revealing your goals could give others an unintentional advantage. Here’s why:

  • Imitation: Imagine you’ve got a brilliant idea for a new product or a unique way to offer a service. If you share this idea too openly, someone with more resources or a faster turnaround time might beat you to the market, leaving you with the sense of a missed opportunity.
  • Sabotage: It’s unfortunate, but not everyone will have your best interests at heart. If someone knows exactly where you’re headed, and that your goals threaten their own ambitions, they might be tempted to place subtle obstacles in your path or spread negative rumors to undermine your progress.

When your success hinges on originality or being first to market, it sometimes makes sense to work quietly behind the scenes. Allow the results of your hard work and the impact you make to be your grand reveal, rather than just talking about your intentions.

5. The Energy Drain

When you share your big objectives, you’ll inevitably encounter a range of reactions. While some people will be wholeheartedly supportive, others might be skeptical, dismissive, or even try to dissuade you from pursuing your goals.

  • Explaining and Defending: These conversations can be emotionally draining; you might find yourself constantly defending your choices, explaining your vision, or trying to convince others of your potential. This can detract from the precious time and energy you should be investing in actually achieving your goals.
  • The Impact of Negativity: Naysayers and overly critical voices, even if well-intentioned, can infiltrate your thoughts and erode your confidence. It’s tough to stay motivated when you’re surrounded by doubt.
Avoid negative people

Choose Your Confidantes Wisely: Not every conversation will be energizing or fruitful. Prioritize surrounding yourself with people who truly believe in you, and minimize engagement in discussions that deplete your enthusiasm and drive.

6. Expectations and Pressure

Sharing your goals with loved ones often comes with a natural desire for them to be supportive and encouraging. However, it can sometimes lead to a mismatch in expectations that creates unnecessary pressure.

  • The Expectation Gap: When people know about your goals, they might consciously or unconsciously expect regular updates or evidence of tangible progress. While their intentions might be good, this can add a layer of stress if you’re facing unexpected obstacles or need to adjust your timeline.
  • Feeling Obligated to Please: It’s human nature to want to please the people we care about. Knowing they’re eager to see you succeed can become a burden – making you more prone to feeling guilty or disappointed in yourself if things aren’t moving as quickly as initially hoped.

Sometimes, it’s healthier to protect yourself from external expectations and give yourself the freedom to work through challenges or change your trajectory without feeling like you’re letting people down.

7. The Power of a Stunning Reveal

There’s something incredibly satisfying about working tirelessly towards a goal and then unveiling your success with confidence. It’s a way of letting your results speak for themselves, proving your dedication and commitment.

  • The Impact of Surprise: Sharing your journey along the way might build anticipation, but working in focused silence can lead to a truly memorable reveal. Imagine the reactions when you announce your completed project, new career, or major accomplishment – the surprise and admiration will be far greater.
  • A Strong Statement: Achieving something remarkable without fanfare sends a powerful message about your work ethic and ability to stay focused. It shows the world that you’re not driven by external validation, but by a dedication to your goals.

Own Your Journey: Keeping your goals close allows you to fully own your wins and navigate any challenges on your own terms. It can be a powerful way to embrace the process and celebrate your victories with the satisfaction that you made it happen.

Which People Are Worth Telling About Your Goals

While there are benefits to keeping some goals under wraps, having the right kind of support system is essential for long-term success. Knowing who to trust with your dreams and aspirations can make all the difference.

Let’s explore the types of people who are likely to have a positive impact on your journey.

Mentors, Coaches, and Accountability Partners

Seeking guidance and support from someone with relevant experience or expertise can be invaluable when pursuing your goals. Here’s why mentors, coaches, and accountability partners make excellent confidantes:

  • Experienced Guidance: Mentors and coaches possess firsthand knowledge and wisdom from walking a similar path. They can help you anticipate hurdles, streamline your strategy, and avoid common pitfalls.
  • Accountability and Motivation: A good accountability partner will keep you on track, helping you stay consistent with the actions that will lead to achieving your goals. They offer encouragement and a sounding board when things get tough.
  • Objectivity and Feedback: When you’re deeply invested in your goals, it can be difficult to see the big picture. Mentors, coaches, and accountability partners offer an objective perspective, providing honest feedback that helps you stay grounded and make adjustments in your plan as needed.

Mentees are promoted five times more often than those without mentors. (Source: Mc Carthy Mentoring)

When considering a mentor, coach, or accountability partner, be sure their philosophies and values align with your own. Look for someone who genuinely wants to see you succeed and with whom you feel a positive connection.

People With Shared Goals

Connecting with others who are striving towards similar goals can be an incredible source of inspiration and support. Here’s how these connections can benefit you:

  • Mutual Motivation and Understanding: Knowing others are facing similar challenges creates a sense of solidarity. You can share tips, triumphs, and commiserate over setbacks in a way that’s difficult with people who aren’t on a similar path.
  • Shared Accountability: Having a goal buddy or joining a mastermind group can foster a healthy sense of competition and accountability. Seeing others progress can be a powerful motivator to keep pushing yourself.
  • Avoiding Comparison Traps: While comparison can sometimes be detrimental, finding people at a similar stage on their journey can help you set realistic benchmarks for yourself. Focus on celebrating each other’s wins and finding inspiration in their progress rather than falling into unhealthy competition.

Where to Find Your Goal Community: Consider searching online forums, attending relevant meetups, or joining social media groups dedicated to your area of focus. Seek out communities that are positive, supportive, and focused on progress.

Trusted Confidantes Who Believe in You

Beyond mentors or those with shared goals, there’s immense value in having a few select people in your life who offer unwavering support and genuinely believe in your dreams. Here’s the kind of impact they can have:

  • Your Cheerleading Squad: Everyone needs people who will celebrate even the smallest wins and offer unconditional encouragement when you’re feeling discouraged. These could be close friends, family members, or even a therapist.
  • Safe Haven for Vulnerability: Achieving big goals rarely happens in a straight line. Having confidantes with whom you can be vulnerable, express doubts, and seek solace is vital for building resilience over the long term.
  • Unbiased Sounding Board: Sometimes you just need to process your thoughts out loud. Supportive confidantes can listen without judgment and offer a fresh perspective, even if they don’t fully understand your specific goal.
Follow your goal not people

Choose Wisely: Share your deepest aspirations with people who have proven their trustworthiness and who consistently demonstrate a positive and nurturing attitude. Limit confiding in those who tend to be overly critical or who cast doubt on your abilities.

When to Share Your Success Widely

While there’s wisdom in keeping some goals private during their early stages, there’s definitely a time and a place for broader sharing. Here’s when it makes sense to celebrate publicly:

  • Achieving Milestones: Once you’ve made significant progress or reached a major milestone, don’t be afraid to own your success. Sharing your achievements can inspire others and attract potential collaborators, customers, or clients.
  • Building Your Personal Brand: If your goals align with the image you want to cultivate, strategically sharing your journey can help you build authority and become recognized as a thought leader in your niche.
  • Giving Back: Once you’ve gained experience and wisdom, sharing your story can be incredibly impactful. You might become the mentor or role model who helps someone else take their first steps towards achieving their dreams.

Even when sharing publicly, there’s no need to broadcast every detail of your process. Be mindful of protecting your intellectual property and focus on sharing the aspects of your journey that will inspire and uplift others.

"Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something."

Why you should not talk with people about your goal Plato

Conclusion

The decision of who to share your goals with is a deeply personal one. There’s no single right answer, and what works best might change depending on the specific goal and stage of the journey you’re in.

However, understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks of sharing can help you make informed choices that will contribute to your ultimate success.

Your Next Steps

  • Reflect on Your Goals: Consider which goals might thrive with private focus and which could benefit from the support and guidance of the right people.
  • Build Your Support System: Actively cultivate relationships with mentors, coaches, like-minded goal achievers, and your inner circle of trusted confidantes.
  • Embrace Discernment: Practice discernment when sharing your goals publicly. Choose the times and platforms that align with your desired outcomes and make you feel empowered.

Remember, achieving big dreams takes time, perseverance, and a willingness to adapt along the way. By being selective with who you share your journey with, you’ll create an environment that fosters motivation, resilience, and the joy of reaching those amazing milestones!

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