One of the most effective ways of ensuring that you’ll meet your goal is to make it public. Tell someone. Or many someones.
This is one of what I call “external motivators”. They are outside of yourself. For most big goals, a mix of internal and external motivators helps to keep you on track and progressing.
Keep in mind, 99% of the people who know you probably don’t care too much about your goals. They are consumed with their own world and while they care about you as a person, the details about your goals and struggles usually go in one ear and out the other. Sharing your goals isn’t about them helping you. It’s about adding another carrot and stick to your own motivations: you’ll be even more proud when you accomplish your goal and you’ll be more embarrassed if you fail. So you will be much more motivated knowing that someone (or someones) are expecting you to accomplish your goal.
So who should you tell?
The answer of course varies based on the goal itself.
The first key is whether the goal itself is an external goal or an internal goal. External goals are essentially where the results are shared with others. Finishing a project at work. Building a playhouse for your kids. Hitting a sales target. These results aren’t private.
Internal goals are more private. For example, trying to think more positive thoughts every time your husband talks about his brother… Or shedding body fat is pretty personal unless you are a competitive bodybuilder.
To complicate matters, it’s obvious that most goals are in between.
Here are some guidelines about who to share your goals with:
- For internal goals,
- Make sure it’s someone you can trust entirely
- It should be someone you respect
- Make sure it’s someone who isn’t personally affected by the goal (for example, if you are trying to be nicer to an obnoxious co-worker, don’t tell them about your goal ; I can hear some of you saying that sharing the goal with the “beneficiary” will make you even more motivated but I disagree – it can backfire in a major way, especially if you fall short of your intended goal)
- For external goals,
- Tell the people who are affected by it
- The more external the goal, the more people you should tell.
- Except in rare cases, don’t tell people your goal expecting them to help you; remember, even to people who love you and you can trust, your goals are likely to be less important to them than they are to you; they don’t want to become your Goal Warden.
Challenge: So right now, pick one of your top 5 goals. Ask yourself if it’s an internal or an external goal. Then decide if telling someone would make you more motivated to achieve it. If not, pick a different goal. Once you have the right goal, list 3 people you could possibly tell. Write their names down. Tomorrow (after you’ve let it percolate in your subconscious a bit), choose one of those people and tell them. Good luck!