Do you want to reach a goal? Don’t talk about it!

Most of us like to talk about our goals. We are even encouraged to spread the word if we are trying to achieve something. This will lead to support from friends and family. And it could even lead to help from unexpected sources. Plus, doesn’t the ‘law of attraction’ state that we should announce our intentions?

But is it really the best decision to share your goal, long before you are able to achieve it?

A study, by Peter Gollwitzer at New York University, shows that participants who kept their goals private, were more likely to achieve them. Gollwitzer explains that when you tell people about your intentions, your brain is forming a “premature sense of completeness.”


Talking about your goal will trick your brain into thinking you have already achieved it. As a result, your motivation drops.


How does this work?

Our cognitive system has ‘identity symbols’ that form our self-image. Actions, as well as talking about actions, create these cognitive symbols. As a result, by talking about a goals or action enough symbols will be generated to satisfy the brain. It creates an unconscious payoff and let’s your brain think we have already achieved the goal. Motivation drops as a result.
Or in simple words: you are less willing to work for it because you feel like you have already achieved your goal.

Because of this effect, it may be wise to keep your goal to yourself. At least in the early stages.
Do you talk about your goals?