The Pros and Cons of Telling People Your Goals

If you're planning on losing weight, earning X amount of money or going travelling around the world… should you tell people?

Don't answer too quickly because while the answer might seem obvious, the reality is actually much more complicated. Let's take a look at some of the reasons you might tell people your goals… and some of the reasons that you probably shouldn't!

In Favor

On the plus side, telling people your goals gives you accountability. This is an incredibly important factor that you really shouldn't take for granted and it's highly important when it comes to motivating yourself.

Accountability basically means that you are taking responsibility for your actions and you are 'owning them' and if you do that then you'll find it much harder to fail because you'll have a public audience. If you tell people you're going travelling and then two years later you haven't been, you will have to answer to someone as to why not.

At the same time, talking about a goal can also help to make it happen. You'll this way be able to network more easily with people who can help you, you'll find that you become more enthusiastic about it and you'll find that you're more likely to discover relevant opportunities.


But before you rush out with your speakerphone and announce your plans to the world, bear in mind that some research suggests that telling others your plans may in fact be counterproductive.

The reason for this is that telling someone your goals can act as a 'release' where you feel great about it. In other words, when you tell someone that you're going to lose weight, you actually feel so great as to render the actual process of losing weight unnecessary.

Here, simply intending to lose weight means you've owned that decision and that then takes away some of the impetus to achieve it.

The Solution

So what's the solution? That would be to tell some people your plans and not others. In other words, tell those who can help you what you intend to do and tell a couple of people who can keep you accountable (like a gym partner). Just avoid telling all your friends and family until you've actually made significant headway – that way the idea of being able to announce you're going to Japan/just earned a million dollars/just wrote the next great American novel will serve as impetus.

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