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Don’t Talk About Your Goals

There’s a great TED talk by Derek Sivers called Keep Your Goals to Yourself.

He argues that in keeping our goals to ourselves, we give ourselves the best chance of actually achieving them. In discussing them, he says, we get a pleasure hit in our brains which makes us feel like we’ve already achieved the goal. By keeping them to ourselves, we avoid this and keep the reward where it belongs; at the end.

I find this a powerful concept. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve paraded around, telling friends of the ambitious goal I was going to achieve, bathing in their “oohs” and “ahhs”, only to forget to actually embark on the journey itself.

Vagabonding in South America. Learning Spanish. Running a 3-hour marathon. Waking up at 5AM every day. The list goes on.

I got high on people’s responses and forgot to actually do the thing.

The one exception to this rule, comes in the form of a recent post. You should talk about your goals with accountability partners. And you should talk often.

There’s few things more valuable than sharing trials and tribulations of a journey with someone on the same path. If that partnership is working as it should, there’s no cheap dopamine hit there. Just a sounding board to become increasingly resolute in your pursuit.

But outside of that, yeah, just don’t talk about your goals. It feels good, but only hurts you.

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