Baby Steps, Productivity, Random Ramblings

First Rule of Planning Goals: We Don’t Talk About Our Goals #Productivity #Goals

We’re on the cusp of a new year with all of its shiny promises of hope, fulfillment, and fresh opportunities. As a blogger, it seems logical to announce our plans for the future, to tell our readers our goals in order to stay accountable. That’s what I do. That’s what everyone else does, right? We make checklists of the projects we’d like to finish or perhaps we publicly confess our fitness or writing goals. I’ve done all of this and more. I’m sure you have, too.

Here’s a list of all of my goals for the new year…

We have to keep accountable, right?

And about two weeks in, I usually give up. Maybe not consciously, but I certainly find excuses.

  • I’m just too tired.
  • It’s too hot/cold/rainy/snowy/cloudy/sunny outside.
  • I need to get caught up on “other things.”
  • I’ll try again…next week.
  • I’m not giving up. It’s just a bad time right now.
  • It’s too hard.
  • I don’t feel like I’m making any progress.
  • If only I’d started sooner.
  • Maybe when I’m retired, then I’ll have more time.

Does any of this sound familiar?

You are NOT alone.

Did you know that your public goal setting announcements could be partly to blame for your lack of success? It turns out we might be sabotaging our own plans! Research has shown that publicly announcing goals tricks the brain into producing dopamine, the “feel good” hormone. Basically, your brain rewards you for accomplishing a goal that you haven’t actually accomplished! Furthermore, when all of your buddies tell you, “Great job!” (because they’re awesome and supportive) when you haven’t actually completed your goal, your brain rewards you anyway.

For example: Let’s say you want to run a marathon. You announce it all over social media. “My goal is to run a marathon in the new year.” Your friends congratulate you. “YAY!!!  Great job.” Your brain rewards you with feel-good hormones. As far as your brain is concerned, you’ve already met your goal, so there’s no point in getting off the sofa, not when there are so many movies to watch on Netflix. Your brain is bored with the task, and you haven’t even started it.

Does this mean we shouldn’t set goals?

Of course not!

I think we MUST set goals if we want to create something important and meaningful. But maybe we don’t have to announce our plans to the world just yet. Maybe we should ask ourselves why we need to share our goals with EVERYONE in the first place? Maybe we could be MORE productive if we waited until AFTER we achieved a milestone to make our big announcement. Everyone is different. Your results may vary, but it’s something I’ll be thinking about in the New Year.

Wishing you and happy and productive New Year!

xo Juli

P.S.  I created these fun notebooks to write down all of the goals we WON’T be immediately sharing!

You can find them in my Zazzle shop. Here are the links:

P.P.S.  For more information about NOT sharing your New Year goals, check out these links:

Markman, Art (2009, May 28). If you want to succeed, don’t tell anyone. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us

Shallard, Peter (2011, March 17). Why telling people your goals is a fatal mistake. Retrieved from https://www.petershallard.com/

Chu, Melissa (2017, Aug 8). Research Reveals That Publicly Announcing Your Goals Makes You Less Likely to Achieve Them. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/

6 thoughts on “First Rule of Planning Goals: We Don’t Talk About Our Goals #Productivity #Goals”

  1. My first blog of 2018 was all about my goals and how I planned to achieve them. Yep, I announced them. I didn’t make that “mistake” for 2019. I’ve set goals, but I’m keeping them close to the vest, until I achieve them. I can relate to your blog…been there…done that…have more than a few t-shirts.

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  2. Now that’s an interesting theory I haven’t heard before! Personally, I never announce my plans because I’ve always felt too embarrassed to let everyone know what I dumbass I was for not already being proficient at whatever the goal was. “Oh, you’re going to finally get off your butt and do “goal”? You mean you haven’t already been doing that for years by now?! Shameful!” So, yeah. I like your theory! 😀 Happy New Year! xoxox

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