5 Good Reasons To Share Your Goals. And One Powerful Reason Not To

Goals are great. They are like lights on your path, marking with clarity various milestones one your journey. And goal setting, believe me, is an art. The art of properly setting course to your closest destination, making the best of your resources and with the greatest chances of success.

One of the most important chapters in any goal setting book would be about sharing. About making your goals visible. Making them public, verifiable, open. And since this is a very important part of the whole goal setting artistry, let’s talk about 5 reasons you should share your goals (once you have them clearly defined, of course). But I’ll also talk (at the end, of course, so don’t peek) about one reason you shouldn’t do this. Confused? Good. Because that will – hopefully – make you read on.

Let’s go.

1. Accountability

When you share your goals you’re literally feeding your accountability muscle. If you’re telling to a friend: “you know what, I will travel to Thailand this summer”, you can bet that the next time you see each other, he’ll ask: “hey, buddy, how’s your trip to Thailand going?”. Or something along those lines.

Accountability is a measure of your “stick-to-it-ness” (and please do not complain that this is not a word, I had enough from my spell checker already). So, if you bring other people in your goal picture, you can bet that your overall involvement in that project will be considerably higher.

2. Clarity

Every time you tell the world about some of your goals, you modify them. You take something from a discussion, something from another one, until, out of this ping-pong game of sharing your plans back and forth, your goal will emerge in a new form. Most of the time, this form will be a much clearer one.

In fact, many of our goals are shaped by our interactions, by our conversations or by our encounters. So, the more we’re out there, sharing our visions and implementing our plans, the more those visions and plans are getting clearer, bigger and more structured.

3. Progress Measurement

Progress measurement is not really about being accountable, but more about metrics. As you get closer to your goal, you’d want to measure how long do you have until you reach it. That information can be precious in many contexts. For instance, you may want to set up a new goal or to evaluate the resources you already used.

And sharing your goals will make progress measurement easier. Sometimes you may even deliberately use your peers as guides or supervisors. When you want to give up smoking, for instance. Ask them to cheer you every day you didn’t smoke or every week.

4. Motivation

Suppose you want to visit Italy this summer. And you start telling people about your goal. At some point, something interesting will happen. The mere fact that you tell to somebody else, will act like an incentive. It’s not about accountability, but about being pumped up and ready to act.

There are many ways of motivation, of course, some of them better than others. I think it’s ok to “use” other people like an enhancer of your own willpower, as long as you don’t become too dependent on these “help links”.

5. Connection

Sharing your goals with like minded people may help you grow your social circle. Goals aside, the mere fact that you take the time to share something, to give details, to bring updates and keep in touch with other people, all these tiny actions will create a connection.

And connection, as opposed to competition, is always a better way to advance. And if not better, at least not as tiresome as fighting each and every day for the first place.


But, as important as it may be, sharing goals can go just as far in helping you reaching them. In other words, there is a limit over which you shouldn’t trespass.

I don’t know if you’re going to find this in any goal setting book, but I know for sure it comes from a real life experience. My real life experience. And it’s about obfuscating your goals. Hiding them. Keeping them close to your heart, but far from the curious eyes.

Sometimes, in certain circumstances, the best way to go is to hide what you really want from anyone else, except you. And here’s why:

They Don’t Know Shit About You

Yeap, that’s the reason. Because, the moment you take out your goal, the moment you’re sharing it with the whole world, you create a loop. People will start to hold you accountable, (and, most of the time, that’s a good thing, as we saw right from the point one above). But it’s a good thing only to some extent. If you reach the goal, they’ll cheer at you. If you don’t, they’ll point fingers at you. Either way, you’re gonna create a reaction.

And that reaction is based not on who you are, but on what you want to do. Even more than that, the reaction is based on what other people perceive from what you want to do. And here’s how, based on just some assumptions and affirmations, they’ll start seeing in you a person that you’re certainly not. They will only see some stuff that has been done, in fact, not even a person.

But, in your attempt to really stick to your path, you take those cheers or fingers pointed at you quite seriously. You start to believe them. If you succeed, you’re a star, because they cheer at you. If you fail, you’re a loser, because they point fingers at you.

Now you see it? As important as it may be for your accountability, clarity and so on and so forth, this sharing thing may be handled with care. And you know why?

Because the most important person in the world is you. The universe turns round and round because of you. Each person that enters into your life, each achievement, each tiny thing you learn, all these are about you. There’s a whole world inside you, and what you do, feel and create in the outside world is a mirror of this inner world. And all your goals are part of you, not of them. You know better than anyone else what you should do with your life. Not your mother, not your wife, not some bright but shallow self-improvement guru, not me, the author of this blog.

So, if you found something important, really important, something that will define your entire life, some incredibly rewarding goal, keep it to yourself. Grow it like you grow a plant, with care and attention.

Follow this inner light each and every morning, hope that it will be there each and every day and, the moment you finally reach it, just breathe.

25 thoughts on “5 Good Reasons To Share Your Goals. And One Powerful Reason Not To”

  1. Great post!! I totally agree with your points. It helps to share your goals at times because the people you share it with can help keep you in check and on track. However, some can just discourage you cause they probably don’t understand your vision for the future.
    Kudos to you.

  2. I agree with you! I always say share your dreams and goals but with a like minded community who believes in the power of dreaming, visualization and law of attraction. It takes courage to share but even more to DREAM BIG! You never know who you will meet in the midst of sharing that may be instrumental to the fulfillment of your dreams.

    Also when you visualize others dreams and goals, you are activating the emotions of compassion, authenticity and love within yourself creating a magnetic force to making your dreams a reality!!!

    Thank you for your post, you are awesome!!!

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  4. I’m a bit late to the party, but I couldn’t help but comment on this. A key thing about sharing goals is who you share with. For example, a while ago I committed to running a marathon, and as misfortune would have it I was plagued with injuries and will soon fail to hit my original goal. However, my family and friends who I shared this goal with are very supportive, and they will continue to motivate me towards achieving this goal at a later time.

    The risk comes when opening up your goals to the world, which I understand first hand because I’ve just built a social network to do exactly that. I don’t think making your goals public is inherently bad, but you should carefully observe the tone of communication on the forum on which you choose to do it before diving in.

    Thanks for an interesting read! 🙂

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  6. The question about sharing goals …

    If your goal is not achievable without sharing it, for instance as in “sharing an idea” or “spreading a word”, you will have no choice.

    A plantlet needs good soil and water and sun to grow.. So the question is, where to sow.

    People are different. A sagely type needs to propagate his wisdom, a more scholarly type will write it all down, for years, and finally leave it to his heirs to publish or not.

    Both feel good about their approach and that is what I think: You have to feel good about what you do and it will be well done!

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  8. I think sharing your goals is a very good exercise but you need to be in a place where you can.
    If you don’t feel proud of your goals it might be better to keep them to yourself for now.

    But I do believe that it becomes more real when you tell people about your goals. When you tell someone “I will be financially independant in 2 years” it becomes more real, “Just 2 years left” is a very powerful phrase.

    But it is important that you don’t say it to people who will do anything to disuade you from your goals, not if you aren’t confident enough to protect your goals.

    • Now that’s interesting: if you don’t feel proud about your goals… Are there any occasions in which you don’t feel proud about your goals?

  9. One of the hardest lessons for me to learn was who I needed to share my goals with. I used to get all excited and tell anyone who’d listen what I was up to. And I inadvertently told a lot of negative people who loved to shoot me down. Or clueless people who meant well but didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.

    Now I’m picky about what I tell people. If they’re really supportive and successful, I tell them all about it. The sour faced ones just get a quick little blurb and then I walk off.

  10. I also have a different reason for it. When you tell your goal out in the public, you sometimes become fearful, because often our goals are short lived and over stated. So, the fear and to make it worse, depression creeps in.

    Again, with fear, the law of attraction could actually put you on the bad stance of goal achievement. So, better not do it. Share your goals, but only the parts you have done achieving.

    • That’s interesting Jaly, especially the second paragraph. Someone told me the other day: “you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are”…

  11. > the outside world is a mirror of this inner world
    It’s funny how true this is on multiple levels … in a Russian doll sort of way.

    I always liked the idea that we’re the most important meaning maker in our lives, and I think that goes hand–in-hand with the idea that it’s in our best interest to be our own best friend … after all, wherever we go … there we are.

  12. Hehe, I have found that I am happy to share my smaller goals with people, but usually when it comes to something really big and important, I’ll stay mum about it for a while, at least until I have some measurable progress or have thought it through in detail.

    Thanks Dragos!

  13. I just shared a really big, scary goal on my blog… But I hope that it gives me some connections, which is ultimately what blogging is all about 🙂

    • Totally agree with that, too many people expect blogging to produce directly tons of money. It seldom does that. What it does though, is that it creates an amazing web of relationships and opportunities.

  14. Have you seen this interesting TED?
    Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself
    “After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it’s better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.”
    clip here http://catalin.petru.ro/2010/10/realitatea-sociala/


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