Making public announcements when you want to make major changes in life is common behavior amongst creative people. We do this for many reasons, to create accountability for ourselves, to make people aware of our endeavors, and to show that we are focused on making progress in our lives. We believe that announcing our goals is helpful to us, but it actually may be a form of self-sabotage.
The Myth of Peer Pressure
We believe telling our peers about our goals will prompt them to motivate us and hold us accountable for our actions. Our friends and family may ask for updates on our progress, give us praise when we get things done, and scold us when we fall off the wagon. We create the peer pressure to keep us on task and push us to execute our plans in fear of failing and disappointing everybody we told. However, as good as this idea sounds, there’s an underlying problem with it.
After a while, the reactions we get from our peers, positive or negative, no longer trigger feelings of motivation for us. We actually begin to feel the opposite. We feel disappointed in ourselves that we are not constantly working on our goals. We feel overwhelmed with all the responsibility and discipline it takes to focus on getting things done. We get discouraged to the point where we forget why we even had these goals in the first place and, ultimately, give up on our goals. Why does this happen? It’s because we already gave away all the motivation and drive we needed once we announced our goals.
Intentions VS Results
When telling others about your goals in person or online via social media, there’s this feeling of accomplishment that comes with it. It feels as if you’ve already done the hard part, admitting that you’re willing to make a change. It takes guts. Being able to admit that you need to do better in life can be a real punch in the ego. For many people, however, that’s about as far as they go with their progress. Talking about their goals feels so good that they start to develop a sense of pride in doing so.
Announcing Your Goals Gives You A False Sense of Accomplishment.
A sense of pride isn’t motivational. It’s the result of motivation and action, not the cause of it. It’s the afterthought of action. You shouldn’t feel the same way you do after completing your intentions before you even begin, but this is what happens. What’s worse is the consequences of experiencing this sense of pride. We begin to start confusing our intentions with our results. Our intentions are to create anticipation, attract attention from others that will hold us accountable, and build up some peer pressure to keep us motivated, but the results rarely turn out how we want.
Social Media Feeds Our Habit of Announcing Our Goals.
Our problem with announcing our goals is aggravated by social media. It evokes us to constantly post updates about our lives. When we see others sharing videos of their new apartment or their new car, we feel left behind and want to share our own updates so we can feel important too. The problem is, we aren’t currently doing anything that deserves an update, so instead, we post videos of ourselves talking about our goals. We mistakenly believe that telling others about wanting to go on a diet, get a new job, or move to a new apartment will make us feel better. In reality, we’re just setting ourselves up for more frustration in the future.
This causes us to build a habit of creating hype around our plans instead of acting upon them. I believe platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter embrace this type of "tell the world your problems" mindset. However, I rarely see any results from people who make announcements online. Understand that the doing part is what's more important. It's easy to think otherwise, especially when you get rewarded with likes for simply saying you want to change or do something.
Don’t be mistaken. It's a trap.
Learn to Move In Silence Like A Ninja.
If you put more effort into making sure other people are aware of your goals, you lose the motivation and energy to make the change. The excitement you build up for yourself should be more than enough motivation to get things done. Don't waste it on announcements. Telling others before you finish releases the tension too early, making it more difficult for you to follow through.
It’s also more impactful for someone’s initial response to come from seeing you complete something, compared to them knowing what you’re working on beforehand. Think about the element of surprise. When people see that you’ve accomplished something without telling them how much time you’ve spent working on it, they’ll be much more excited and supportive of you.
The main takeaway is this: It’s much more important to get the work done, rather than creating buzz around what you’re doing. Use all of that built up energy and excitement for yourself. Learn to keep your head down and get to work. Planning is not enough, we must also follow through with the plan and get things done.
Don’t talk about what you want to do, talk about what you did.