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It’s that time of year, so I’m thinking about the traditional New Year’s Resolutions. Obviously, I’m not thinking about them too hard, because we are almost two weeks into the New Year and I haven’t done any concrete “resolving”.  

In other years, I’ve posted about New Year’s Resolutions and Smart Goals and Setting Intentions and basically planning a Good Year. And, while it’s a neat writing exercise, it’s never been a defining moment in my year.

Recently I came across a different way of looking at New Year’s Resolutions, or Goal Setting in general.  Because setting a goal doesn’t only happen in January.

In his 2010 Ted Talk, Derek Sivers talks about goals, and keeping your goals to yourself.

Keeping them to yourself?

In my writing groups, we often set goals at the start of the New Year, or at the end of the old one. We do this because it’s fun, and it’s motivational, and because we think it makes us “accountable”.

However, according to Derek Sivers, talking about your goals does not make you more accountable. In fact, it makes you less accountable.

You can watch the talk here. It’s only about 3 minutes long: Keep your goals to yourself.

Apparently, several tests have demonstrated that TELLING someone your goal makes it less likely for that goal to happen. Who knew?

The study he describes shows you why, and it makes a lot of sense.

But, at the end of each year, I still like doing this round robin thing of naming a goal—of saying my intention out loud to my writing friends. It’s fun, whether or not it works.

Maybe the takeaway is this: Go ahead and tell your friends what your goals are for the New Year. Just don’t talk about any goals that you actually WANT to achieve. Keep those special ones to yourself. 🙂

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