We’ve all heard the golden advice of telling other people your goals so they can hold you accountable. The sad truth is, how often does this actually work? Does anyone else suffer from running their mouths full of goals, then doing absolutely nothing?
It’s an annoying cycle a lot of us have probably gone through.
Maybe we’re chatting with friends or family, and we decide to start our inspiring speech where we bombard them with all the exciting changes we’re going to do for the next couple months!
“This time I’ll really lose weight!! I swear I’ll really find a better job! Seriously, I’m going to be more organized!”.
We’re brimming with excitement, eyes sparkling, teeth clenched in determination…then nada. Zilch. No results by the next time you guys meet up.
And so the cycle continues!
You slam you fist against the table, your chest puffs out, and your trusty speech makes its way past the heated t.v. show discussions and slams through the forefront of your friends faces once more.
“I’m going to get so fit! I’m going to run every single day! My skin will be glowing, I’ll chug 90 liters of water per day! I’ll earn 30k everyday just for breathing!”
Then the cycle of no change continues, and at this point your friends really want to hit you over the head with a brick.
This pattern is not only exhausting for yourself, but it’s also a drag for your friends! Who wants to hear the exact same rant 500x times a year?
Sharing goals with other people can be a touchy subject. Some people suggest sharing goals is a great way for friends and family to hold you accountable. This never sat well with me for a two reasons:
If you can’t control your own actions, then other people can’t change you either.
It’s not other peoples’ responsibility to keep you in check once you’re an adult!
You should not depend on other’s to remind you to stick to your goals, or to shame you into doing them. As someone who is fully capable of thinking for themselves, once you start learning how to listen to your own demands and practice self-discipline, that’s when you can grow the most!
Obviously do what works for you, but having other people hold you accountable is tricky. You don’t want to be reliant on other people for the change you seek.
What we can try to do is keep quiet about our goals. We can strive in silence. Now believe me, as someone who lives, drinks, and breathes self-improvement- not sharing every little thing on my life’s “to-do list” is physically painful. It is so hard! The amount of times I had to close messenger, or bite my tongue has been endless.
When you have a new goal you want to share it with the world! You want to show everyone what you’re up to! What to expect! You’re excited, and that’s totally understandable.
But when we religiously share our ideas about what we want to do next, there can be some unforeseen negative consequences:
You feel satisfied enough by telling others. Speaking it into existence feels like you’ve done at least 40% of the work, when in reality it’s about…0%. Saying it is not the same as doing it.
People can be unexpectedly be unsupportive. You don’t need extra doubt on top of your own doubt. (I remember telling a friend about a school club I wanted to start, and rather than unhinged enthusiasm like I imagined, I was met with a dull response of “Um…there’s already a lot of clubs that do that so yours won’t do so well”. I didn’t even try.)
You forget about it. It becomes a topic of conversation rather than something serious. (I enthusiastically told my roommate I was going to be fluent in Italian by the end of the year. We were both so excited by the idea, and looked up resources, and had so much fun! Then I forgot after that fun conversation).
Just remember, results speak louder than words. No one needs to know what you’re working on 24/7. Once you have the results, it will be so much more satisfying sharing something concrete. Think about it, how fun would it be to say: “Hey guys I managed to exercise 3 times a week for the past three months now!” rather than “GOD I’LL BUY A GYM MEMBERSHIP SOMETIME SOON JUST YOU WAIT!”.
Sharing something you’ve already done will make them and yourself proud.
This is not to say that you have to keep all goals secrets forever. At least get started and have a good flow going before telling anyone! Telling people before even brainstorming can lead to distractions.
With that being said, I know keeping ideas to yourself can be very isolating. Rather than telling the people around you, look towards communities online who are also trying to do the same thing. They can be a source of inspiration, motivation, and they would know where you’re coming from.
Whether you choose to tell people your goals or not, goodluck with everything you wish to pursue. The choice is always yours, and just be mindful with whichever works best for you.
Let’s put our best foot forward, and hopefully stop the annoying cycle of preaching and not doing.