Should you be vocal about your goals?

Whether you are trying to improve your time management, lose weight or get rich; goals are an essential part of improving your life. If don’t have goals, you waste your time, jumping from task to task without ever really achieving anything.  For some goals, you will need the help of others but for many you will be able to achieve them for yourself. So there is an important question, ‘Should you tell others about your goals if they don’t need to know?’ Whether you choose to be vocal about your goals or not, is your own choice but there can be advantages and disadvantages to doing so; therefore, you need to choose carefully.

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Options for being vocal about your goals

When it comes to being vocal about your goals, you have 3 choices:

1. Don’t tell anyone

You may choose to keep your goals to yourself. Others can notice that you have set these goals once you have achieved them. In some cases, they may never know but it’s your goal, not theirs.

The main advantage is that you have nobody to put pressure on you or to mock or ridicule you if you don’t succeed or; if progress is slow. In some cases, people even interfere in the pursuit of your goal and cause you problems. You can avoid this by choosing not to be vocal about your goals.

The disadvantage to this approach is that if people don’t know about your goal; they cannot help, advise or support you in your efforts. You may have people who have been through this themselves; who have contacts who could help or, maybe you just need to talk to somebody for moral support. None of this is possible if you don’t tell anybody about your goals.

2. Tell everyone

Some people love to tell everybody about their goals. They would tell the wall if they thought it would listen. They like the extra pressure that it places on them to complete the goals.

The advantages of this approach are that people can help you to make progress towards your goal and; you may respond well to the extra pressure i.e. you have told people that you are going to achieve this goal. You want to follow through on that to maintain your credibility.

The disadvantages are that you may not respond well to the pressure and you have people who may interfere or mock and ridicule you for not achieving the goal as promised.

3. Be selective

You might choose to just tell those who either need to know or who may be in a position to help you. Additionally, you may have a friend who is great at offering support and guidance so, telling them might be a good idea.

With this approach, if somebody has the potential to be a hindrance, you just don’t tell them.

Example benefits of sharing your goals

The right goal can be a great conversation topic for your group e.g. friends and family. It can help bond the group, as everybody wants you to achieve your goal. It is not just that they may be able to help you; the overall atmosphere of your group benefits.

There are times when you don’t even need to ask for help. People know what you need and they go out of their way to support you e.g. if you are studying, they may give you the time and space you need to get your work done. They may also offer to do some of your chores and errands to take them off your hands; allowing you to spend your time and energy on what is most important – your study.

Example downsides of sharing your goals

Of course being vocal about your goals isn’t always good. There are downsides too.

Studies have shown that for certain goals, telling others about the goal can actually make you feel like you have achieved it; thus forgetting about all of the hard work needed to actually achieve the goal. These tend to be particularly true with goals that require health and lifestyle choices e.g. giving up smoking, healthy eating.

You may feel like you have already achieved the goal because people are so happy for you. If you are a smoker; all of your friends and family want to see you give the cigarettes up. If you are eating unhealthily, they want to see you improve that too. When you make the decision to improve your habits in these areas; they are naturally going to be overjoyed. They are going to congratulate you on a great decision. But, subconsciously, we associate congratulations with a completed job.

Should you be vocal about your goals?

The best way to determine whether you should be vocal about your goals, or not, is to consider each goal individually. For some goals, it will undoubtedly be of benefit for you to tell everybody you know that you are going to try to achieve it e.g. if you were running a marathon for charity.

There may also be goals where you are really just doing it for you and you feel that it is not anybody else’s business e.g. you might be taking a language class and you don’t want others to know.

However, my favourite approach by far is to have one person (or a very small number) whom you can trust and confide in. With this person, you can share your goals, your progress, your mistakes and your triumphs. Most people want to share their story and this is a great way of ensuring that you get the benefits of being vocal about your goals, without experiencing the negatives. If you don’t have someone in your life whom you feel you can confide in or; who is able to offer the support you need; you might consider hiring a coach.

If you do not have clear and effective goals to create the life you desire, check out the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.

Goals are a central part of your everyday life. If you want to improve your life, you must have goals aimed at taking your life from where it is now to where you want to be. The achievement of these goals will take you every step of the way. In many instances, other people can be a fantastic source of support and help as we move along our journey. However, there are times when other people can become a hindrance to our goal achievement. It is important that you identify when it is useful to tell others about your goals and when it is best that you keep your goals to yourself. The choice is yours but it is important that you choose wisely.