Monday, January 9, 2012

To share, or not to share?

How do you feel about sharing your goals with others? This time of year is traditionally filled with new year's resolutions: people committing to various self-improvement tasks in the spirit of beginning the year again. I enjoy the excitement of this time of year, the hopefulness that everyone seems to have about the future.

Last year, I was invited to participate in a sort of new year's resolution competition: we all came up with a list of things we wanted to accomplish and then assigned a point value to each item. The person with the highest percentage of completion at the end of the year won. The point came up (from a person who was invited to participate, but opted out) that sharing your goals with others actually decreases your chances of achieving said goals. This TED talk was cited as evidence to that point:




While I don't dispute the facts presented in the TED talk, I find myself conflicted about whether or not it holds true for me in my life. For instance, in spite of this information, I did choose to participate in the resolution competition in 2011. I ended out the year with 73% completion, which was the highest of anyone who reported their results (so far). So, I would say I was very successful at achieving the goals I set out for myself, even though I announced them to a group of people.

This year, I'm facing this dilemma again: do I write about my goals and document the effort I make toward completing them, or do I keep them to myself and (statistically) increase my chances of success?

As a blogger, this choice is once I make fairly often. On one hand, I'm not one of those bloggers who writes about absolutely everything in my life (where no topic is private or off-limits), so it's natural for me to keep some things to myself. Then on the other hand, sometimes there are things that I feel compelled to write about, but it is more than a little scary to take the leap to click "publish." I wonder what people will think about me. I wonder what will happen if I make a claim or promise and then ultimately fall short of it. I don't want to fail publicly.

I have to make a decision, but as yet, I'm undecided. I guess it'll just have to be that way for a while.

How do you do it? Do you keep your goals and/or resolutions to yourself, or do you share them all with the world? How has your successful completion/achievement rate been? Do you think these two things directly relate to each other (correlation vs. causation)? I'd love for you to weigh in on this issue!

3 comments:

  1. Could you share some, but not all; or maybe give updates without revealing all details? Like "today I completed one more small step (or made a huge leap)towards achieving my goal, and this is how I feel about that..." without actually saying what the goal was/is, maybe with the intent of sharing at the end of this year?

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  2. My goals are secret, like the secret garden. A perfect utopia of beautiful plants, shrubbery and landscape design. Secret. Wait, what are we talking about?

    I think both things hold merit. At times, letting others know your goals can help you meet them because they will assist in maintaining your positive attitudes and remind you what you're working for. At other times, like right now for me, I feel the need to prove to everyone that I can accomplish something and I don't want them to know until I've done it. So, I think it depends on the goal. If it's something you know you need help with, share. If it's something you find strength from within with (great grammar), keep it under wraps. Chicken fajita wraps.

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  3. I'm a 'share goals' person.. mostly because I feel it gives me more accountability. I seldom meet my resolutions, and my goals are mostly very long-term things on hold because of personally not being able to pursue more than one career at a time, and mothering small children is (as you know) a 24/7/365 job. It's frustrating, but a reality of my life.

    That said, I'm coming around closer to my DH's point of view, which is that resolutions are silly: if you wanted to work on something, you'd be doing it anyway. I don't entirely agree with him; I feel like resolutions or goals can bring something you're working on anyway into focus, or give you a specific aspect to work on. I also feel that giving yourself a more-or-less arbitrary start date can let you gather yourself for a big push.. but I do agree that if it's not something you're working towards already, why wait to start?

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