If you’re losing motivation to do something, you may be talking about your plans and goals too much to other people. While keeping people posted on your work never hurts, it could sabotage your own motivation.

Entrepreneur and programmer Derek Sivers recommends keeping your mouth shut when it comes about your future plans and goals:

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

In 1933, W. Mahler found that if a person announced the solution to a problem, and was acknowledged by others, it was now in the brain as a “social reality”, even if the solution hadn’t actually been achieved.

Instead of talking about it, just start making moves. Keep your progress and momentum to yourself. Don’t announce it, don’t share it in a status on Facebook, and don’t Tweet about it.

Don’t give your ego the satisfaction of attention until you actually complete your product or goal.

  • freesurfer

    needed this right now! thanks.

  • Rob Hanna

    What about also, instead of talking about it, formally and publicly announcing an audacious goal as a measurable target in advance so that all others can join in the effort and hold you accountable for achieving it?

    Some people really just can’t keep their mouths shut, so perhaps this might be an easier, upgraded option for them instead of going against their dispositional grain.

    Just a thought.

  • http://nikipaniki.com Niki Torres

    I needed this! Thanks! Although sometimes, and I know this for some people too, the whole ‘telling it to the world’ works as a means to be more accountable. Then again, it’s really finding the right balance on when/what to tell the world and in what part of the creation process. You’re down on the action though, that’s definitely something a lot of us need to be doing (pun intended).

  • http://www.arjanzuidhof.nl Arjan Zuidhof

    I’d suggest to think again. IMHO it depends on *who* you tell about your goals. It doesn’t help to share that you want to loose 30 pounds with your oveweight girlfriend. Instead: share your goals with people who have an interest in your succes and can really help you reach it.

  • h

    ok true

    • Herbert Lui

      Hah, thanks h.

  • David McGuigan

    More articles like this please.

  • menotyou

    This directly contradicts many articles on this and other productivity sites that have been telling us to declare our goals publicly if we really want to reach them. I’ve always known that wouldn’t work for me.

    A reminder that these types of blogs just churn out the content to post content each day. We need to do what feels right, to find our own way to success. And I’ll find mine elsewhere – thanks!

    • Herbert Lui

      Best of luck with your work!

  • Kevin Flynn

    This is amazingly true. I have tried this and it has worked a lot. If I got excited about an idea I was working on, and I told that idea to someone and started to discuss the finished idea, I would believe it’s already done. My mind and body language looks and feels bored about that idea. Its as if you are exhausting what “could” be, and letting the energy and excitement get carried out into words, just like this article is indicating.

    Not only that, but having the idea about something makes you excited because its new and your not sure what to expect throughout your journey about this one idea/product. All of a sudden you speak about it and its almost like your mind takes the journey with your words, and you now know the feelings your going to encounter, and the things you want to do, and so does the person you are telling this to.

    Also now that person is always checking in to see progress and it becomes extremely annoying, and discouraging if you don’t have much to show them so you start to drift further away from finishing or taking the next step.

    • Herbert Lui

      Yes! I’m the same way as well, Kevin. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Ani Remme

    I find that sometimes I am just in love with an idea and have little intention of really doing it! Like…. I like to daydream about hiking in Peru – and may even talk about it to friends, but unless I put real energy and intention behind it, I know it’s in the realm of ‘a nice idea’. I love exploring ‘what if’ ideas with friends- it’s a good way to mind-map! Just kind of a relaxing exchange.

    However, if I really want to finish a project, I need to network, put it out into the universe by communicating with many people, maybe asking others to assist in it’s production, and having as much energy generated as I can. This leaves room for unexpected connections to occur and the magic of possibility to conspire with you! The more people involved and engaged in the project vision the better!

    The time I would want just to myself, would be the initial concept and planning stages. I need to have a clear idea of what I am doing and where I want to end up before I launch! A negative comment at this stage could discourage me, and kill the dream before it is born. So… think that keeping things to yourself in the beginning is a great, productive idea – later in the project, I feel that it could be limiting. Also, friends and coworkers could feel left out – they may have wanted to play too!

    • Ani Remme

      PS. Do you need any more writers?

  • Fransisca

    Neat post, it might probably can be the best “life mantra” ever. I’ve been through both of the situations and it’s always better to keep the idea for myself and focusing on making progress instead of talking about it to other people.

  • andrea

    So one person says keep it quiet and that becomes the reason people lose momentum. Well its one possible reason out of 1000’s. Of course 99% of the motivational speakers state, share you goals and plans.

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