A little while back, I read an article about goal setting. It stuck out because it was different from most other things I’ve heard or read about setting goals. Instead of the “buddy system, find a group, tell everyone you know about your goals so you can be held accountable” advice, the author suggested keeping your goals a secret, or only telling one or two confidants. The rationale is that when you start to tell people about your goals, you can get the same kind of positive feedback as when you actually achieve them. Then, you have less motivation to actually work towards them.
For example, you set a goal to run a marathon. You tell everyone you know, hoping that it will help hold you accountable. People respond with things like, “That’s incredible!” “Running a marathon is a great aspiration!” All of the positive comments make you feel good about yourself, and you can lose the drive to succeed.
Today I started reading a book called Swim. Bike. Run. Laugh. The author, Dan Madson, suggests setting your goals so high, that when you tell others they laugh at you.
After an ice cold run in the snow (with incredible company), a long hot shower to thaw, and an afternoon nap, I started thinking about my goals today. I have some goals that I’m sharing because I need support to make them happen. By surrounding myself with people who support me and joining some groups, I can feel myself getting closer to reaching them. I still have a long way to go, but I know I couldn’t do it alone.
I also took some time this afternoon to set some secret goals. Goals that would make other people laugh out loud. Goals that I’m not going to tell anyone. It’s kind of fun to have this little secret and know that I can keep making progress towards it quietly. So go out there and set some secret goals. And when you reach them, shout it from the rooftops! (That’s what I plan to do anyway.)