Once a therapist friend told us that he advises his clients NOT to talk about what they are working on in therapy outside the sessions; he felt it dissipated the energy and focus needed to achieve their goal which was personal change of one sort or another. His thinking still flies in the face of conventional wisdom.

In this short TED talk, entrepeneur Derek Sivers tells why people who talk about their goals may be less likely to achieve them:

“…when you tell someone your goal, and they acknowledge it, psychologists have found that it’s called a social reality. The mind is kind of tricked into feeling that it’s already done. And then, because you’ve felt that satisfaction,you’re less motivated to do the actual hard work necessary.”

Your mind mistakes the talking and the doing. Sivers advises us to…

…keep our mouths shut…

What do you think?

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9 replies on “on keeping goals to yourself

  1. Oh, Lord. This makes me very nervous, because I’m a big talker. I recognize more than one grain of truth in it, though. Hmmmmmmmmm

  2. For me its sometimes kind of the opposite. If other people know about my goal its real and I really have to do it while if it is in my head, it is just an idea. Part of it might also be that if I just talk about something and then don’t do it I feel bad about it and think other people might think I am just big talk and nothing behind it or something like that. For example, if I intend to paint a room on the weekend, and I don’t tell anybody chances are I stay in bed to long and then think, well I will do it next week-end, but next week-end the weather is good so I go walking with a friend and so on. But if I tell people I will paint the living room this week-end, then I have to do it, otherwise I would be embarassed if they ask about it or come by and its not done.

  3. I have to agree. I have found that talking or writing about personal goals is like assuring that I’ll give up on them.

  4. Someone call Rex Ryan, the coach of the Jets. He’s been bragging that he has a team that can win the Super Bowl this year. Oops.

  5. I agree that it’s better NOT to talk about it. I think sometimes it ends up be “just talk” when you do that. Kind of saps the energy out of the goal.

  6. our names is improvised_life and we are definitely there

  7. I find this to be utterly bogus. It’s like ideas – you have to share them in order for them to mature and become better. Sharing your goals allows you to continue with them and make them better and also have the support you need to achieve them. Telling someone your goal makes it REAL. A reality. Not just a floating bubble of an idea. You’ve put it out in the universe so the universe can respond.

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