As you will all start to see, I am addicted to the TED talks online and someday hope to be able to present at one (whoops… maybe I should have kept that goal to myself =) haha). Anyways, I came across this short, yet very interesting talk tonight while looking for inspiration for my blog post.

Derek Sivers talks of the importance of keeping your goals to yourself. I saw the title and immediately became puzzled and intrigued because in sport psychology we always hear about the importance of making it known what your goals are and what it is that you are trying to accomplish. In fact, according to this talk and research that has been done, this may not be the best thing to do. When we tell someone our goal, the validation that they give tricks our brain into thinking that we have already accomplished the goal. People who share their goals are actually less likely to achieve their goals than those who simply write their goals down and keep them to themselves.

Your mind mistakes the talking for the doing and if we start sharing all of our goals, we might never accomplish them fully. One way to beat this phenomenon is to tell people your goals in a way that brings no satisfaction or gratification. For example- “I am going to run a marathon which means that I need to run x number of miles 5 days a week for the next 2 months”. This emphasizes how much work is still ahead and makes you keenly aware that you are just starting out on the path and nothing has been achieved yet.

I wonder if those who keep their goals to themselves feel more personal investment in their goals and that is part of the reason that they are more successful. I know that I want to accomplish things on my own and I feel less satisfied and proud when I have help/assistance. This could be a similar situation. It is interesting to think about- I thought that it adds an interesting dynamic to all the research we have studied on goal setting and achievement. 

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