Keep your goals to yourself

Keep Your Goals to Yourself

This time last month, the blogosphere was buzzing with talk of goals for the New Year.

Some big. Others small. A few doomed to fail because people’s hearts weren’t in it, but they felt the need to join in. For so many, most of these goals have already fizzled out from a lack of discipline, direction or simply giving enough of a damn. But I suspect many of us have something in mind that won’t fizzle out quite so easily. We have the kinds of goals that speak to us on the gut level, even if we don’t quite know how to talk back yet.

And I’m here to tell you, if you’ve got one of those big, scary, possibly life-altering goals that—even after the hype of the New Year is long gone—you really want to see fulfilled this year, keep it to yourself.

I get it—you want support. You need accountability. And yeah, putting it in writing and broadcasting it to the world makes it feel real.

But you know what else feels real? Quietly putting in the work. Every single day. Not seeking validation from people with pesky little opinions about what it is you’re trying to accomplish or whether you’re cut out for it. You know what sharing your goals with the world really is? A distraction. A subconscious attempt at seeking permission and praise. A mind trick that makes you feel as if you’ve already taken the most difficult step by admitting your plans when in fact the hardest part is getting started—and not quitting when you get stuck.

You’d think putting it out there will hold you accountable—or at the very least, guilt you into following through on your proclamation because you can’t take it back. But the world doesn’t hold you accountable for anything, except maybe taxes. If it’s something you truly want, you don’t need an audience to get motivated. You need a plan of attack. And when that plan gets shot to hell (even the best-laid plans can fall apart when they’re passion-driven), you need to decide to keep hacking away regardless.

I’ll make one concession, because we could all use someone to tell us we’re not batshit insane for chasing the dream. One person: a friend, a partner, a coach or mentor, someone whose advice you trust and who will remind you why you got into this mess when you’re knee-deep in self-doubt. One person who gets what it is you’re after is way more valuable than a noisy crowd of strangers.

All the rest? It’s on you.