The most common advice you see about achieving goals is to announce them to the world, or at least your friends and family.
The reason, we are told, is to hold yourself accountable, elicit support and therefore make it far more likely that you will achieve them.
I don’t agree – and I’m not alone.
When it comes to achieving goals, Catherine Ponder (prosperity and success writer & lecturer), Julia Cameron (author of The Artists Way), Carrie Brummer (artist) are just a few who agree that you should shut up about them and just quietly go about reaching them.
Derek Sivers even delivered a short TED talk about it.
And I've proved this to myself too. I’ve found it far more powerful and far easier to manifest what I truly desire when I hug it to myself like a precious secret… imagining (visualizing) what it will be like when it comes to fruition. The strong emotions this evokes send out a powerful, vibration into the world.
Any vision or goal that really excites you creates enormous energy within you, which burns to be expressed. But if you keep it to yourself, the energy has to channel somewhere - and that is through manifesting in the world, not through telling the world about it before it appears.
When you speak it out to others, you dilute that energy and there isn't as much urgency for it to manifest, because in some way it already has... you have shared it with someone.
Achieving goals is a matter of intention, focus and, if you’re choosing the right goals - those that really light you up – emotion. Goals are ideas that make you excited with that bursting feeling of I-can’t-wait-until-I-get-there.
These feelings are what help you when the going gets tough… those moments when you start to question your grasp on reality… There is an energy that builds up.
I’m sure you’ve kept a secret at some point in your life. Not the kind your friend tells you to keep, but the kind you hug to yourself and don’t tell others – it may have been when you were a teenager and you just knew that no-one else would understand. Remember that feeling? It was like you were hugging a little precious thing to yourself – that you would sit and think about only when you were alone.
There’s massive power in that. You build up a lot of emotion as you daydream, imagine and visualise the outcome. This does two main things:
Keeps you focussed on the end result, and it creates strong feelings associated with it.
Both of which we know are needed when achieving goals.
Now imagine you go off and tell a whole lot of people about this dream.
Two things happen.
You may start to feel a little silly when those you tell look at you with that uncomprehending look on their face like… what?? Or smile, while you can tell that inwardly they’re thinking ‘..yeah, right…’.
Because, generally, when you set about achieving goals they are by nature about going into uncharted territory. So they are always accompanied by at least a smidgen of internal doubt or nervousness – a small voice in the back of your head that keeps you aware of the fact that you haven’t achieved it so far, so what makes you think you can now?
These little whispers are easy enough to deal with if you have true clarity about what it is you want to create, and you distract yourself when those little worry thoughts come into your head, focusing instead on things that bring happy emotions to you.
But imagine if those voices are also coming from the outside. From ‘caring’ friends and family. What about the 500 questions you will be asked, like, why or how or who – lots of which you don’t have the answers to right now. And then there’s the supposedly well intentioned advice about how difficult that can be and how most people don’t succeed, so make sure you have a back up plan…
If you have a goal that is a huge stretch for you, and you tell a lot of people about it, a few (or maybe a lot) of those people will either openly or secretly be unsupportive of you. And, even if they don't say anything to you, unconsciously you still pick up on the energy and it leaves you doubting and questioning yourself.
Not a good place to be at this point.
I love making the 'impossible' possible in my own small way - but many people just do not have the vision, no matter how much they love and support you, they cannot hold the vision of you succeeding. And whether they do that openly or they just think it - it has a same effect.
So the answer is, to hold it to yourself as a precious little secret… be bursting with excitement about how you are going to astonish everyone with your new blog, your weight loss, or the fact that you can now speak Russian – which explains why you haven’t been available on Thursday nights for the last 6 months.
There is so much more energy in this, but by speaking it out, by letting yourself and your newly formed goal be the target of sometimes brutal inspection, the energy of it dissipates.
Your vision, your dream is only a little fledgling, a new creation. Just like a human fetus, which needs to gestate in the womb for 9 months, so your goal needs time to form and grow and get ready to be born in the world. If you start blabbing about it before it’s ready and display it for all and sundry to poke at and prod, it’s likely to die before it even gets a chance to grow.
Of course, with any big goal there is a point when you will need to talk to others about it, when you start needing outside assistance. But what I'm talking about here is the indiscriminate and premature sharing of your goal with all and sundry just as a kind of 'feel good' exercise.
One of the biggest reasons given for telling everyone you can think of about your goal is to hold you accountable - so you feel you have to go through with it, or achieve it because everyone's watching you. But really, that is just using fear as motivation - a very negative way to go about things.
The truth is, if you need others to hold you accountable to your goals, maybe you're going after the wrong goals... they're probably more about ego or what you think you should do than something that is a true reflection of your own unique path.
Achieving goals is such a personal journey because only you know how your vision makes your heart sing. Give yourself a chance to shine… keep your goals secret, tend them and nourish them and watch them blossom and transform your life.