Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them.

Shouldn't you announce your goals, so friends can support you?

Isn't it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects?

Doesn't the “law of attraction” mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal as already yours?


Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

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.

NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer has been studying this since his 1982 book “Symbolic Self-Completion” (pdf article here) - and recently published results of new tests in a research article, “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?

Four different tests of 63 people found that those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others.

Once you've told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness.”

You have “identity symbols” in your brain that make your self-image. Since both actions and talk create symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it “neglects the pursuit of further symbols.”

A related test found that success on one sub-goal (eating healthy meals) reduced efforts on other important sub-goals (going to the gym) for the same reason.

It may seem unnatural to keep your intentions and plans private, but try it. If you do tell a friend, make sure not to say it as a satisfaction (“I've joined a gym and bought running shoes. I'm going to do it!”), but as dissatisfaction (“I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don't, OK?”)

Thanks to Wray Herbert's article about this.


  1. paul (2009-06-16) #paul

    agreed - as a band, we only tell people what's going once it's 100% happening/confirmed. that way we spend all our efforts getting it to happen, instead of splitting time between doing it and promoting it.

  2. Carla Lynne Hall (2009-06-16) #

    "Secrecy is the first law of Magic" - from Julia Cameron's Artist's Way.

    Talking about your project seems to spread your energy in every direction other than towards completion.

    Just sayin...

  3. Marja (2009-06-16) #

    I believe that this is absolutely true. Sometimes, I find myself talking about things I have to do. . . and it gives me a sense of achievement and fulfillment. This isn't that great because I have noted that it takes away my motivation. However, I also find that I really dislike talking about the things I feel most deeply about, and the things I most desire to do.

    Interesting... Thanks for bringing this to our attention Derek!

  4. Patrick Dunn (2009-06-16) #

    Interesting...I wonder if there's some balance to be achieved between this, but then also saying it in a way to certain other people enough to have to hold yourself accountable. I know I've had certain goals that I feel like I HAVE to accomplish because I've already told people about them. Thoughts?

  5. Carla Lynne Hall (2009-06-16) #

    Also - when you share your intentions with the wrong folks, they may tell you that it can't or shouldn't be done. BUZZKILL!

    Don't lay your pearls before swine...

  6. Andrew Hand (2009-06-16) #

    Derek...that is just what I needed to hear. I think that perhaps this is something that happened to me during my project. Thanks for dropping this insight with your direct language that cuts through!

  7. Adrian Ellis (2009-06-16) #Adrian Ellis

    A very interesting point about 'premature sense of completeness'. I have this about ideas sometimes - 'great' ideas that once complete in my mind, are basically 'done - ha ha - they never make it in the real world.

    If you tell someone, you want it to be about you being accountable to them and them helping by following up on doing what you should be doing (ie: kick my ass, plz).

  8. Otono (2009-06-16) #

    While I agree that this has truth to it, especially if you only have to be accountable to yourself. However, in groups, isn't it helpful to openly lay out goals for projects, commit to tasks as well as deadlines? This, of course only works if the members of the group hold each other accountable.

  9. Will (2009-06-16) #

    Interesting as it goes against convention wisdom. For the past few months I've taken massive action getting new products to market, after realizing how much I talked about it in the past but hadn't done much of anything.

  10. Natalie Gelman (2009-06-16) #

    How interesting! I have read so much about putting your intentions out there that I hadn't even realized that when I keep it a secret so to speak that I keep its motivational power.

    I love Carla's comments too. I'm trying not to let my energy be splattered anymore and get focused on exactly what I want - be extra clear with myself!

    Its so true about the Buzzkill when you tell someone too and they aren't excited for you or doubt your abilities.

  11. Marja (2009-06-16) #

    Thinking about this further. . . I guess it would depend on WHO one talked about plans with.

    There are several specific people I go to talk with after coming up with good/interesting ideas I would like to implement and feel quite deeply about. These people tend to be very entrepreneurial and of the go-getter mentality (and are all firmly in my corner). I find that if I take an idea to these people, I usually implement it. If I don`t, a good percentage of the time the idea remains simply that: an idea.

  12. vivian sessoms (2009-06-16) #

    I am in complete agreement, and have always thought this was the best way to get things accomplished and keep myself motivated as well..

    It could possibly be that it works differently for everyone though..

  13. JDelage (2009-06-16) #JDelage

    What about the effect of writing down your goals (even for yourself)? I've often been told that was a strong motivator, never understood why.

  14. Scott (2009-06-16) #

    It's important to note that these studies address identity-related behavioral intentions "(e.g., the intention to read law periodicals regularly to reach the identity goal of becoming a lawyer)."

    "when other people take notice of an individual's identity-related behavioral intention, this gives the individual a premature sense of possessing the aspired-to identity"

    " More generally, when a person pursuing a given activity can talk about the self positively, or otherwise attempts to gain more recognition for performing that activity, the audience for these words and gestures is likely to conclude that the person is indeed well prepared and competent. But such an inference is often erroneous. "

    It's the difference between being blowing smoke and actually doing something. If people erroneously give you enough of the sough after identity by talking-the-talk, then there is little motivation to walk-the-walk.

  15. Thomas Rydell (2009-06-16) #

    I noticed that the statement "I’ve joined a gym and bought running shoes. I’m going to do it!” do not say anything about the final goal, while “I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don’t, OK?” clearly states that I want to lose 20 punds. In that sense it is similar to Law of Attraction- The final goal is clear but the details on the way is not something to worry about smile

  16. Ben Atkin (2009-06-16) #Ben Atkin

    I think social networking sites like Twitter encourage this kind of behavior. I've probably announced dozens of times that I'm working on such-and-such type of side project. If I don't announce it directly, I tend to drop hints about it, sometimes inadvertently.

    This is another good reason for me to cut down on my Twitter use.

  17. Nathanael Matthias Weiss (2009-06-16) #

    Wow.. Counter-intuitive. Sexy advice..


  18. David Chaitt (2009-06-16) #

    the more i read, the more i COMPLETELY agreed.

  19. Sarssipius (2009-06-16) #

    Funny... I faced the exact same problem with a project I'm trying to set up for several months now... The boosts and advances on the first steps of the project occured when I stopped announcing it...

    No... Don't insist!! I won't tell you about it!! smile

  20. Natalie (2009-06-16) #

    It's good to know there is another side to every story but perhaps different people need different degrees of balance between telling and not telling. I know that for me, it helps me to tell my partner and my friends about my goals because when they ask me about it, I don't want to say "actually, I've done nothing about it".

  21. Kevin (2009-06-16) #Kevin

    Thanks Derek! I didn't know there was scientific evidence of this until now, but I've always felt this to be true.

  22. david (2009-06-16) #

    I like the Einstein quote

    "If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."

  23. Mike Roberts (2009-06-16) #

    In my experience, it is the other way around. Any time I've told someone I'm going to do something, I feel a strong obligation to get it done.

    I learned this about myself early on in life so I was always hesitant to tell people about any of my plans because that meant that I would have to do them!

    Now days I use it as a tool. If I want to get something done and "force" myself into action, I just start blabbing about it. It also helps in the way of getting some great feedback.

  24. Vishal Patel (2009-06-16) #

    How did these studies account for people that just talk all the time but don't achieve vs. people that walk the talk?

    A CEO I once worked with had a habit of shooting his mouth about what he was going to do with the company and then actually making it happen. I myself have talked about my plans extensively before achieving them. For me talking about my plans often adds some pressure and motivates me to execute the project and make it a reality.

    There are many factors that affect success (and failure) and I highly doubt that talking about one's plans is anywhere near the top of the list.

  25. Bruno Miranda (2009-06-16) #

    I was going to leave a comment but though I should keep it to myself. ;-)

    Just kidding, great post, concise and full of goodies.

  26. Luis Fernando Imperator (2009-06-16) #Luis Fernando Imperator

    second that:

    # Nathanael Matthias Weiss wrote on June 16th, 2009

    Wow.. Counter-intuitive. Sexy advice..


  27. Jesse (2009-06-16) #

    I have a roommate that is pretty much the perfect fit for someone doing this! He is always telling us what he is going to be doing, but admits to being very lazy and not getting things done. I want to forward this to him, just wish the first two words in the title weren't "shut up."

    Definitely an awesome article though!!! I stumbled across it, but am going to start swinging by more often!! Keep writing!!

  28. BigDaddy L of GP-101 (2009-06-16) #

    I agree with Vishal, We're constantly asked why we play the style we do and what do we hope to accomplish(goals) as GP-101 and MadMouse Records and our opinions as to do we really believe we'll get there? Our answer is simply watch and see what we do. Then they'll be saying "Yes They Are!,moving forward and getting to where they want to be!" Furthermore, what if yo DO slip a little? Miss a date by a few days or even change directions a bit? As long as you are honest with your fans and yourself they see your honesty and keep with you ANYWAY !!

    BigDaddy L of GP-101

    MadMouse Records

    "Electronica from the Hills of the MidWest"

    just look at our front page and you'll see what I mean...IT WORKS

  29. BigDaddy L of GP-101 (2009-06-16) #

    I agree with Vishal, We're constantly asked why we play the style we do and what do we hope to accomplish(goals) as GP-101 and MadMouse Records and our opinions as to do we really believe we'll get there? Our answer is simply watch and see what we do. Then they'll be saying "Yes They Are!,moving forward and getting to where they want to be!" Furthermore, what if yo DO slip a little? Miss a date by a few days or even change directions a bit? As long as you are honest with your fans and yourself they see your honesty and keep with you ANYWAY !!

    BigDaddy L of GP-101

    MadMouse Records

    "Electronica from the Hills of the MidWest"

    just look at our front page and you'll see what I mean...IT WORKS

  30. Karen (2009-06-16) #Karen

    I think that it depends on whether it's for work, or for personal goals. For work, I think that you do need to communicate your thoughts and plans and ideas constantly, mainly to get buy-in from other people. Also, at work, there is accountability there, because your manager is expecting you to finish certain goals.

    But for personal stuff, I think that stating your goals doesn't work. For example, my husband tells me often that he wants to learn the keyboards. We have keyboards and a piano at home, and a built-in teacher (me). But he doesn't have enough to kick himself to practice. He wants me to bug him to practice. But that's not my job. People have to be self motivated. So I think for personal stuff, it's better to really think about what your personal goals are, and rely on yourself to kick your own butt.

  31. WebAndNet (2009-06-17) #

    Simplistic guideline.

  32. Mircea @ (2009-06-17) #Mircea @

    Talking about your plans can motivate you because don't want to be seen as your people as just a talker.

    It actually makes you do something because your people will tell you (especially friends) that you are full of it if you just talk and don't do anything (if you do this repeatedly)....

  33. Jach (2009-06-17) #

    Interesting. I had thought (and practiced with varying success) that announcing your goals makes you less likely to fail, out of fear for social disapproval. Although there have been times it has backfired hard, and it doesn't particularly help that I don't care much about my social status... Stuff to consider, thanks.

  34. Wicked D (2009-06-17) #

    Totally agree! I thought I had some kind of psychological hang up, didn't realize studies were ran on this.

    I've actually noticed in the past that announcing what you were going to do was like blowing hot air. Much better to let actions speak louder than words, right?

  35. Brian Theoret (2009-06-17) #

    That makes so much sense. I do this to myself all the time. No wonder my ideas tend to not make it to fruition. Thanks for the incite.

  36. gaston monescu (2009-06-17) #

    ive been thinking about this since jr. high when my buddy made about a million plans out loud, but rarely completed any of them.

  37. Kenli Mattus (2009-06-17) #

    Let's try it.

    Hugh MacLeod in "Ignore Everybody" says that new ideas change the nature of relationships and that people, innately, don't like their relationships to change, so your new idea (hopefully it's new) will likely be met with some kind of wet-blanketism, consciously given or unconsciously given.

    I think the majority of people who ever "climbed their own Mt. Everest" could've care less about what anyone else thought about their ideas and had no need to bounce them off everybody they met.

    I'm doing my own experiment and shutting up now...

  38. Victor (2009-06-17) #

    I wonder if simply writing your goals down has a similar impact. Wonder how I can test that on myself.

  39. Jeff McLeod (2009-06-17) #

    Very interesting... I am going to pay more attention to this now. Although I do believe that in some instances announcing your plans helps to keep the pressure on you to deliver.

  40. David Hooper (2009-06-17) #David Hooper

    I think there are two types of people in this situation...

    1. Those who talk a lot.

    2. Those who keep their heads to the ground and make things happen.

    Those who accomplishing things don't need to talk a lot, because they have the self-esteem that comes with that.

    Derek, I know you're a fan of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. In that book, he talks about the "mastermind principle."

    If you have the support structure, you're more likely to accomplish things than without it. That's been my experience anyway...

  41. August Lilleaas (2009-06-17) #August Lilleaas

    Wow, just wow. This article certainly clarifies a lot!

  42. Jeremy Ferrick (2009-06-17) #

    I agree with this whole heartedly, while simultaneously being a blabbermouth.

  43. Art Lamstein (2009-06-17) #

    Top athletes visualize themselves winning the event over and over in their mind. Sort of like guided meditation. A personal sort of keeping it to yourself. Of course, their coach encourages this practice.

  44. Brian J. Smith (2009-06-17) #

    One of the biggest things we do at Scan Monkeys is wait until we're completed with a new idea/program, (such as web page or promotion) before we announce it. This is much like Paul mentioned above (response#1) with his band.

    Take our web page for document scanning services for attorneys, for example. We intend to complete soon. We promise! Wait, I guess now that I've written it down here it will be a while. Oops smile

    Great article!

    PS: the page is actually launching early next week as it is in final approval stages.

  45. Atul from DonkeyBox (2009-06-17) #

    I agree with David Hoooper on this one. It depends on *who* you are talking to. The mastermind is there to kick your ass and put you into action again whenever you are off track. It is also there to motivate you.

    On the other hand (and I am guilty of this), getting too excited and telling just about *everyone* could do what you are suggesting.

  46. Nano (2009-06-17) #

    This is absolutely true. I've always kept quiet about my future plans and felt that I was sort of "in advance", if no one knows about it.

    Great article!


  47. sebastian (2009-06-17) #

    Totally counter-intuitive. Making a gross recall of my own experience I agree. Not that I can generalize this for everything but there are lots of things that will get better communicated if facts are used. This in turn requires this kind of hush hush while preparing the thing

  48. eunice (2009-06-17) #

    great article. so this is what we called... "don't jinx it!"

  49. Shanti (2009-06-17) #Shanti

    Wow - this is topical!

    Thanks for posting this, Derek.

    Based on your quantity vs quality learning post, I had decided to make it a (public) goal to release a new song / piece of music every few days. Started feeling pretty nervous / anxious about the whole thing almost immediately.

    After reading this, I've taken down all posts related to the goal =)


  50. Bart Gysens (2009-06-17) #

    Correct, but wouldn't it be great that you have a place where you can drop your idea and let people shoot at it; but it is somehow still portected in copyright-ways?

  51. Sheila (2009-06-17) #

    Finally, a proven fact that makes perfect sense!!! I've been banging my head against the wall for too long, asking myself,"Why can't I just do what I say I'm going to do?" Well, the excitement has already come and gone and I pretty much walk away wondering" Why did I just say tell her that"-I come up with great ideas but that's as far as they go because the reaction I get from letting people know Must be good enough for me>

  52. kur1 (2009-06-17) #

    As they say, the more time spent talking about what you're going to do is less time spent doing it.

  53. kkreft (2009-06-17) #

    I think this is true when it comes to motivation necessary to complete something. If it's something you have to exert effort toward motivating yourself to do, then yeah. Right on. Example: Losing weight/dieting/working out regularly.

    On the other hand, if it's something that requires no motivational effort, talking about it really shouldn't impact completion one way or the other. Example: Ordering something specific for dinner.

  54. vishnu (2009-06-17) #


    And I agree COMPLETELY to it!!!

    My experience taught me this!

    Thanks for this article.

  55. B (2009-06-17) #

    I always suspected this was true. Goals never materialize when I talk first.

  56. JLar (2009-06-17) #

    Is it the act of telling others our plans really deterministic or are people inclined to inaction more likely to share their ideas and those inclined to action less likely to share ideas? Is there a causal relationship or are these just characteristics of people disposed to action and those that are not? How do we know people that shared ideas would have taken action if they keep them secret and those that keep their plans secret and took action would not have if they shared their ideas. I think whether one takes action or not has more to do with the persons character than if they share their ideas

  57. Robbie the K (2009-06-17) #

    @JDelage and Victor see

    By writing your goals that sends those "vibrations" or thoughts out into the universe as you see the goals written out every day (assuming you post them somewhere visible)

    @Art, see the section of this article on visualization...

  58. John Ortiz (2009-06-17) #

    Brilliant belief system!

  59. Jason (2009-06-17) #

    Of course, not one shoe size fits all, just like there is not one philosophy that fits everyone. Personally, I'm averse enough to failure that I try even harder to achieve success when I make my goals public. The point to this study, in my opinion, is to find what works best for you and do it with passion and power and persistence.

  60. StephenMartin (2009-06-18) #

    "Four different tests of 63 people found that those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others."

    63 people does not make it so. Hardly.

    The law of attraction has to do with visioning and thought patterns not telling people what you're going to do.

  61. StephenMartin (2009-06-18) #

    "B wrote on June 17th, 2009I always suspected this was true. Goals never materialize when I talk first."

    So, if you say, "I'm going to the show next Friday night," it doesn't happen?

    I announced to everyone that I was getting married, and it happened.

    I announced to everyone that I was going to college and get my degree and it happened.

    The other day, I announced to my wife that it was my goal to go to Barnes and Nobles and check out some books and have coffee. It happened.

    Today, I got up and made several plans (set goals), announced many of them to my wife, a couple of people on the phone and I accomplished everything I set out to do.

    I announce plans, or goals if you like, and nearly all of them transpire.

    I disagree with this idea that announcing goals can keep them from happening.

  62. LeoDale (2009-06-18) #LeoDale

    Yeah Derek, I agree.

    I can feel the balloon deflating as I talk about my unrealised plans.

  63. Sean O'Neill (2009-06-18) #

    once again Derek, sound advice. I've been doing the opposite for most of my life - it's a habit I'm trying to break. You've put it in a nutshell I can carry around. Please kick me whenever I'm doing otherwise.

  64. Secret Coach (2009-06-18) #

    WOW. how powerful.

    I also made the (evidently common) mistake of telling people my goals, thinking that that would anchor them in reality.

    this article definitely turns that on its head.

    I have goosebumps. thank you!

  65. Al (2009-06-18) #

    I've always found blurting out my plans makes me more likely to follow up on them. From getting my first gig before I had a band to developing web-sites for large corporations... I think sometimes you have to jump mouth-first and worry about whether you can fly on the way down.

  66. Yueni (2009-06-18) #

    Hi Derek. I hope you don't mind a spanish translation of the notice. I did it in my blog (direct url: ) Credits are there. Of course if you have problems with it, I'll delete it. Just wanted to let you know ^-^

    Cool! I love it. Thanks! -- Derek

  67. Si (2009-06-18) #

    A quote from "Mental Efficency" by Arnold Bennett:

    "The second possible cause of previous failure was the disintegrating effect on the will-power of the ironic, superios smile of friends. Whenever a man "turns over a new leaf" he has this inane giggle to face. The drunkard may be less ashamed of getting drunk than of breaking to a crony the news that he has signed the pledge. Strange, but true! [..] Therefore don't go and nail your flag to the mast. Don't raise any flag. Say nothing. Work as unobtrusively as you can. When you have won a battle or two you can begin to wave the banner, and then you will find that that miserable, pitiful, ironic, superior smile will die away ere it is born".

  68. Donnie C. (2009-06-19) #

    I never really thought about it but man, this is so true - explains a few things I've struggled with.

    Great tip - I'm printing this and posting it on my corkboard!

  69. Jacob (2009-06-21) #

    This is probably where the idea of "Don't jinx it!" comes from -- saying something out loud to a bunch of people satisfies the ego so that you no longer need to actually take action.

    But it only works for goals. For example: "If you think no one loves you, skip a car payment." There are some externally motivated obligations that will result in action no matter how much you talk about them.

    Great article!

  70. econgirl (2009-06-21) #

    Given this insight, I find it funny that the site exists, given that it is basically a social networking site to share goals and intentions. Oh, and it has 1.5 million subscribers...scary.

    You can see my full discussion here:

    The funniest part is that the founders of the site prove the point that Derek is making: “43 Things began with three friends who wanted to start a company but didn’t know what that company should do. The Robots (as they call themselves) made lists of their own goals outside of work. When they began sharing their lists of goals, they discovered that sharing their lists was more exciting than the work they were contemplating. And so 43 Things was born.”

    Great comparison, Jodi! Thanks! --Derek

  71. Akiko Candyce Baldridge (2009-06-26) #

    I've always known this to be true. When people ask me what my plans are, I cringe. I usually answer their question because I feel obligated to and then watch my plans fail and feel extremely embarrassed and disappointed.

    Are there any suggestions for handling the "What are your plans / goals?" question from nosy people trying to make small talk?

  72. bobbyS (2009-07-02) #

    for me, I am an indecisive person and change my mind on a whim. So if I declare someone my plans, there is a good chance that they will change. If I declare plans only to myself, there is also a good change that I will change my plans.

  73. dan (2009-07-03) #

    i disagree.for myself,stating a plan of action to many people gives me the incentive to not embarrass myself by not doing it.keeping it to myself means it never becomes real. but we are all different.

  74. Mark (2009-07-04) #

    There seems to be an assumption on causality here. As in, what if people who bark worse than their bite, bark often. Is it truly that people who talk about their intentions then no longer need to achieve them, or do people who already have difficulty achieving their intentions in general feel the need to talk about them to make them seem more real? Ultimately, I imagine it is the actual intention behind even making the statement itself - is it stated for ego fulfillment or is plainly as matter of fact (or even somewhere in between)... because clearly the obvious detail ignored here is that you can more easily align with people of similar mind who may in some way help you achieve that intention by making it known and accessible.

  75. Bill Bell (2009-07-06) #

    I've noticed this about myself for years. Thought it was just another aspect of my own weirdness.


  76. llllllxlxlxl (2009-07-07) #


  77. anne heaton (2009-07-08) #

    this is generally true. although i do know someone i admire a lot who announces that she will do things from the stage at her shows and then does them because she has now forced herself to follow through on something that otherwise she would not have. i have to admit that at times involving the pressure of others has been a tactic that works for me. if something is very precious to me, however, i rarely mention it because i don't want it's purity to get tainted before i create it.

    my 2 cents

  78. Elizabeth Hepburn (2009-07-08) #

    Thanks for this - I totally agree - My spiritual teacher Hilda Charlton used to say: "Don't take the cake out of the oven until it's baked." Our plans become half-baked if we dissipate the 'heat' of the creativity that's cooking them.

  79. Luna (2009-07-08) #Luna


    I've been instinctively leaning more in this direction, counter to what is recommended in the prevailing transformational mindset. It's nice to know that there's sound reasoning behind my silence smile

    And I agree with David Hooper's comment above regarding the self-esteem that comes with accomplishing & knowing what you are capable of. It tends to make one more "quiet":

    no need to "prove" it to anyone... Those who know you: know.

    The rest will find out in due time smile

    What a perfect post at a perfect time, Derek! And it sparked a very interesting conversation above.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  80. Mary Ann Farley (2009-07-08) #

    Florence Scovel Shinn, who first wrote about the Law of Attraction in the 1920s (and may have even coined the phrase) also said to keep our goals to ourselves.

    Why? Because not everyone will support our endeavors, and the jealousy of another puts negative energy into the universe that's directed at you. Reaching goals is tough enough without someone else dragging us down.

    If you pick up on this negative energy, you might actually back down on what you want to accomplish so that you don't incur others' envy.

    Once the task is completed, of course, there's nothing anyone can do to derail you as the goal is a done deal.

    Shinn advises to be very careful about with whom you share your dreams. Even those close to us can harbor negative feelings about a loved one doing well. If you need help or support in attaining your goals, share them with a therapist or life coach.

  81. Alan (2009-07-08) #

    That's been the way it worked for me. Even when I leaked the existence of a project to some totally somewhere-else person who wouldn't care at all, I felt the brakes start to grab.

  82. Julia Bingham (2009-07-08) #

    I prefer to announce plans I'm set on accomplishing because I like the challenge of living up to them. I get frustrated with people who tell me their plans all too often and then don't live up to them, so I think the trick is to choose wisely -- don't cry wolf all the time, but get your support system in place to help keep you accountable.

    On the flip side, do you find it easier to abandon plans you find too challenging if you didn't tell anyone about them or know where to get help? It can feel invigorating when you make an unexpected connection just by talking to other people.

    I the end you just need to create good goals that are clearly defined, that you believe in, and that are measurable and specific. Break them down into smaller achievable steps, recognize obstacles and how you'll overcome them, set dates to hold yourself accountable, and be flexibile as things change. If you do this better while keeping your plans to yourself then run with that internal motivation! However, if you're working on a team or collaborating, it helps to be on the same page working towards a common goal.

    So, find a system that works for you and stick with it!

  83. deep (2009-07-08) #

    If you tell someone about your plans only one of two things happen.

    1. You accomplish them and there is no longer any sense of surprise or satisfaction to surpass expectation.

    2. You don't accomplish them and are measured a failure.

  84. roger (2009-07-08) #

    I normally do it the other way round: I spread the news of what I intend to do till a lot of my folks knows about it. Once that is done, I have to stick to my word, otherwise I would lose their confidence. I definitly need that presure to get to the (bigger) goals...

  85. Mike (2009-07-08) #

    @Elizabeth Hepburn #106: "Spiritual Teacher"? Geez. Gimme A Break.

  86. Joboj (2009-07-08) #

    Yes, this reminds me of announcing the MuckWork project like more than a year ago, and still having the info page on it read, "I'm still in the process of inverviewing MuckWorkers..."

    Exactly! You know this post was really written from me to me. smile -- Derek

  87. Raylene Kemp (2009-07-08) #

    Hi everyone,

    I have found that reserving comment on my projects eliminates discouragement and negative feedback. From there, I can pace myself, research and build my project in solid layers. I have learned what NOT to do, first hand.

  88. Pete Berwick (2009-07-08) #

    Amazing to read this, for just this morning I was reading the same exact theory in a book on writing. The author said not to talk about your story/novel idea but to jus go and write it. His reason though I am sure was partly based on the self-identity pat-on-the-back concept here, was more based on the burning desire to release aomething artistically, and by talking about it we have released enough to lose the unbridled desire to follow through with it.

  89. Toon Vandevorst (2009-07-08) #

    I agree, but maybe not for the same reasons.

    If talking about something that doesn't come from the heart keeps you from actually achieving it - all the better (I wish I had talked to my friends back when I was planning to get a full-time job as an IT specialist).

    Talking about a great idea that is close to your heart has a risk: somebody else might pick it up and realize it before you do. Some of my 'best friends' have done this to me.

    I guess the trick is to talk about bad ideas so they lose their spell over you, and to shut up about the great ones.

  90. Tyler (2009-07-09) #

    I think that's over thinking it. I'd say it's a fair assumption to say that very few people actually accomplish a majority of their goals whether they announce them or not, so naturally it seems that those who announce their goals would be the ones that seemingly don't achieve them, but in reality that's just because they have announced it and and are known to have failed rather than if they had not announced them and failed silently, or changed the course of their goals during the process. For the sake of argument, how could you possibly come up with a percentage of people who have not reached their goals if they never mentioned anything to anybody about attaining them in the first place? You couldn't.

    Now somebody give me my free coupon.

  91. Blind Divine (2009-07-09) #

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. My partner and I are artists, designers, and musicians and love to "not" talk about what we do. Letting the cat out of the bag gives the soul of it away. And really if the excitement is not there for you why do it? When we are socializing with talkers we feel more energized talking about their projects, if we talk about our own we feel empty and robbed...mum's the word!

  92. Anje West (2009-07-09) #

    Very interesting. There have been times when I've been sending out newsletters and writing the 'coming up for the band' stuff realising that its been 'coming up' for quite some time, and wondering if our fans were getting sick of hearing the same thing from us & when the hell were we actually going to DO what we've been saying? I am going to start making 'surprise' announcements instead!

    Conversely though, in declaring a particular festival show earlier this year as our cd launch - fairly big news - when we hadn't actually recorded the cd was almost for us a way of ensuring we actually did it. By putting it out there, we gave ourselves no option but to make it happen. We had a very focussed two months!

    And to Victor, querying whether writing down your goals works as a tool for short, for me, absolutely it does. At the beginning of last year, I made a list with about nine points. All quite huge achievments, but with each one being a step into the next goal (writing a grant application/getting the grant/travel o.s to study & perform/write songs for next album/record/release etc. The last one on my list was something along the lines of " we will launch our cd as part of the festival in a beautiful venue, and it will be sold out". Tick, tick and TICK!

    I looked at my list every single day, (goals/affirmations - however you see them), and cemented those ideas in my mind as fact. No ifs, no buts. Every single thing I wrote down became a reality. I know this doesn't always work for everyone, but it works for me..along with the actual *real* work you have to do to make things happen!

    In the end, I think it's about balance & understanding how you work best. Some really interesting thoughts posted here...thanks D & everyone

  93. JDP (2009-07-09) #

    I'm fortunate, I don't tell people my plans AND don't accomplish them. It's like not having my cake, and not eating it either!

  94. Geoff Kinde (2009-07-09) #

    That's why New Year's resolutions never work. Nike was right, "Just do it".

  95. LL (2009-07-09) #

    I strongly disagree with this and I think it misses the mark as to what it means to speak your goals out loud. Sure, it's one thing to make empty declarations that are not thought through. But I'm a firm believer in the power of the spoken word and it has worked for me better than anything else. I'm willing to bet that if nobody else knows what you want to achieve, you don't either. Certainly feeling a premature satisfaction which causes you not to follow through is one pitfall, I suppose - along with a host of others. Actually, I don't think it makes any difference whether you speak it out or keep it quiet, as much as it matters if you have a specific goal in mind. Then you are much more likely to achieve it.

  96. Sam (2009-07-10) #

    This is probably true in the aggregate, but I think in some cases, the opposite is true. I told myself and everyone else that I would write 50 songs in January. Everyone kept asking me about it and I kept talking about it, so I would have been embarrassed if I didn't accomplish it. I ended up with 52! -- and 12 are going to be on my next album.

    Concrete goals, I think, are good to share. It makes them more concrete. Ambiguous goals maybe are ones to keep secret.

  97. Amanda (2009-07-11) #

    Is this why, when you're a little kid, you're taught not to tell anyone what your wish is when you make a wish? This is an interesting article. As an aspiring writer, I try to live by the rule, "Never tell ANYONE that you're writing a book!" partly because people can be so discouraging. However, this also causes lots of one to talk to about the process of moving toward your goal. Hmm.

  98. Lindsey Horner (2009-07-11) #

    I think there is a difference between "plans" and "dreams". I have found time and again that discussing my plans especially with people who would be involved in them (other musicians, for example), is the crucial first step to making them real. My dreams on the other hand, stay in my head where they belong. Once in a long while, a "dream" makes its way to becoming a "plan", but not often.

  99. Kyle (2009-07-12) #

    I'd like to see a follow-up study: Of those that did not discuss their plans, how many shared that intention and, of those, how many accomplished them?

    In other words, if you announce that you are NOT going to announce your plans, are you more or less motivated to accomplish them?

  100. jameswhitney (2009-07-13) #

    Hi Derek: I agree with you I once read a book called Message from a master check it out sometime.

    I Have missed hearing from you,and I hope all is well with you. I appreciate all the information I recieve from you. Please continue whenever you can.

    I've been in the studio working on the audio book"The Goddess Prophecies" for my wife. It's been 3 months now day and night,so I'm sort of out of the loop for the two more weeks.(75 chapters}with music and special effects, and dialogue with professional actors. Very fun, but tidious.

    I'm getting great response on my cd, even with no time to push it, and I'm ready to get back to it. Anyway life is good! Please stay in touch!


    James Whitney

  101. Sally (2009-07-15) #

    I find it to be true because usually my friends will say how are you going to do this and that? the thing is there are alot of little details that you know or learn and you shouldn't have to be defensive or explain every obstacle away that might happen. My-friends either say well that's great and then proceed to say all the reasons why I can't do it or ask me how soon i will finish or succeed. I find their approval and disapproval just another obstacle when they know much less than I do about what it takes and what is possible. I need to have my own self-confidence and realize that not everyone knows the same things I know-and i shouldn't have to defend myself to every friend.

  102. Ryan C. (2009-07-15) #

    Great write-up! It's crazy that I've been having this exact thought running through my head for the past few months. I always share my goals and what I'm currently working on with my family and friends, it's almost as though that’s what I was raised to do in order to, I guess you could say, satisfy everyone. At least, that's how I felt. From now on though - my lips are sealed. Thanks!

  103. alleyal (2009-07-17) #

    that is sooo true because every time i mention im going to do some thing for my family it never workes out im going to shut up now

  104. Scott_T (2009-07-19) #

    Very cool post, thanks for writing it.

  105. Vlada Synenko (2009-07-21) #

    Also I see Hollywood advertises new movies loooong before they hit the cinema theaters. There also is a proven benefits of advertising before any perduct hits the market.

  106. Bizzy Bender (2009-08-26) #

    Wow, so that's what happened to my training for a marathon!! Guess I'll just start over and not tell anyone and see if I can stick to it.

  107. m (2009-08-26) #

    completely agree with this!! can distract from completely the task..
    i get sooo much more done if i don't say anything about my plans, and just get it done...
    it does do something on a sub conscious level where you feel the idea is partially complete because its announced, i think there is a big difference between declaring it to yourself that it will happen and taking steps to announcing an idea, what you want to alot of people, and suddenly less effort goes there...

  108. Charlie Cheney (2009-08-28) #

    Now you tell me... aaaarrrrgggghhhh.

  109. (2009-08-28) #

    I agree that major projects shouldn't be revealed until they are ready to launched. In the meantime, there are different things that can be done. I like making video shorts while I am planning my 'next big thing.' They are still creative outlets and they help me develop ideas for the bigger projects as well.

  110. hunter (2009-08-28) #

    While I understand what you're saying can be true in some circumstances it's certainly not true for me in most circumstances.

    I talk to people I respect and like to exchange inspiration and positivity. I would rather converse about plans and motivations than pretty much anything else. I love the rush of energy I get from sharing with people.

    And I love getting things done and celebrating with those same people.

    Which happens frequently.

    So there - nup ;-b

  111. Charles Nwabueze (2009-08-30) #

    I totally agreed with you Derek, and mostly for a job that one individual can birth it out. However, if the project is a group work that concerns more than one person, the objectives should be shared.

    Talking must never take place until all the pieces to put it together are in place.

  112. Georgie C (2009-08-31) #

    Interesting article. I think there is no absolute rule one way or the other. There are times when intentions can be stated, ie I will release my album in november, and times when you should not speak, eg I plan to run the 100m in under 10 secs.

    Architects have a term called a 'Design Freeze'. Simply put, they designate a date when a creative process is stopped, and what had been achieved has been achieved. Give it out to the world. The amount of boring stories I have heard about someone's masterpiece not being quite ready to release blah blah blah are too many to mention. I often hear my album release from last year and think, mmm perhaps this could have been done, but it would be a year later and I still would not have released it.

    My point being, is that I openly spoke of when the release date would be, and my 'word' dictated that by June 2008 I would have an album out.

    So, in summary I disagree. Its good to state your intention.

    Thanks for your time
    Georgie C

  113. Shoshanah (2009-09-02) #

    Excellent advice. As ever, always so succinctly put.

    Say no more.

  114. Jeremiah Sutherland (2009-09-03) #

    Actually, I can't really agree with that. In spite of all the well thought out studies, on a personal level, I like to tell people what I plan to do.

    Why? I would feel like a failure in front of my friends if I didn't follow through on my plans.

  115. Lesley Young (2009-09-10) #

    You could also try the embarrassing yourself into action approach. Make a public announcement of a plan (i.e newsletter or press release). Then you will likely follow it through, or be forever humiliated and feel like a loser. It works for me.

  116. Frank Smith (2009-09-12) #

    It is not so much the Law of Attraction but the Art of Allowing. We do have to set our intentions but doing it publically does not work for everyone. For some it makes them stay on track so they don't look like fools to those that told their dreams to. I feel if we can't dream, how can our dreams come true? If we set our intentions it is then up to us to allow what doors open for us. They might not be the door we imagined to lead us to our dream but the "right door" will always open even if it is in disguise. Look for opportunity in every turn.

  117. R Sutaria (2009-09-13) #

    I used to completely subscribe to what you have mentioned here. That was until I read this article:

    It says great ideas (and plans) can starve and so they should be given the light of day (aka be shared).

    So, would you recommend sharing a great plan with someone or keeping it with yourself?

    I am genuinely trying to understand the difference between your post and the above link. Thanks!

  118. Dan Tindall (2009-09-16) #

    It seems the big problem is making things happen - anything that prevents useful positive action (be it financial or creative) should be avoided. Talking something to death is as bad as worrying over it in private. It's like making the same list over and over again and never changing anything.

  119. Angie Ricci (2009-09-21) #

    like the article says, this only effected 63%,the other 37% is in my favour, actions are louder than words whether spoken out loud or in your head

  120. Stephen Rivera (2009-09-21) #

    Agree 100%, the best way for a dream not to happen is to share it as soon as you had it, seems to be the way things work in this Universe...

  121. Dee Janey (2009-09-21) #

    I find your theory interesting but must admit being directly in the middle of an opinion either way? I agree that it may be true, in certain circumstances, but I also think that interacting with those individuals we so trust may be the very support we need to forge onward. The opposite may be true for others--expressing may be completion for some?

    I enjoy sharing with those I trust and love--they are often the very encouragement I need. For some--lack of self worth may need that boost? Some may not believe in themself enough to explore, creative or be successful without the love, care and encouragement of those who believe in them?

    So, Sir, I agree and disagree--depending on the individual. For me, I enjoy and invite both criticism and suggestions--the belief and compliments are the strokes that edge me forward.

    Thank you...

  122. Allison McKenna (2009-09-23) #

    My experience corollates positively with this theory. I never want to say something that I may not do. And have less respect for those who don't "show up". Still working out the kinks of never telling anyone anything--that also has its drawbacks, eh? ... But would still rather have yeses be yeses and nos be nos.

  123. Chuck Hughes (2009-09-27) #

    I agree with the psychology going on, BUT, when you tell people your goals people will help you with contacts and resources. You will be giving up this help by not announcing your intentions.

  124. Amy Conley (2009-09-28) #

    So true.... at 50 years old i finally figured this out on my own. One time I announced in an article that i was "working on an all original CD to be released" the next spring! I did this in order to "force" myself to write and record original material. But i have three kids and writers' block, who was i kidding?

  125. Katarzyna I. (2009-09-30) #

    I'm a dance choreographer and the most productive process to generate material is when the spot light is off. I don't share details of my rehearsals with friends, unless their my out side eye. Minding my own biz is when the story and purpose of new movement finds me.

    Appreciate the remainder!

  126. JD (2009-10-05) #

    I decided to feel good about this, then I rationalized this with personal actions.

    If not for saying something does it not become more obvious? I take notes during class because I'm liable to retain. There are many things I have to do, and many I never accomplish. Tasks I must remember, such as school work, I record in my daily planner (currently I'm lost without it).

    There are many items I think would be fun. For many projects, information is recorded within hard drives or notebooks. From completing my resume ( a project started this week), to starting a record store, or even composing the dialogs needed to write a thesis for the current state of democracy/imperialism. These are all projects. Each one can only be done with the alloted time given.

    I pick from where I left off. Key concepts are jotted down and looked back upon when given the time.

    I find to cut silence I throw in a quick no nothing topic. Sometimes it could be about a project of mine, or it could be fun ideas. "Lets come up with a comedy!" Sometimes, deep in dialog, we ponder how it can be.

    This is where I believe many see they are only achieving a premie accomplishment. "One day we're going to clean up this town," coming from the one who misses the trashcan and continues to walk. Ya had good intentions.

    Setting goals without objectives is what makes a person fail. They see the finish line but can neither walk nor run.

    Best of luck.

  127. Jacqueline (2009-10-12) #Jacqueline

    I should've read that a long time ago. I announced the launch of my clothing line at least 3 times since 2005, I still haven't done it. Neither have I released my solo album...OK, I'm gonna zip it now!

  128. CondoCrown (2009-10-12) #

    Haha, this is so true, I love the feeling of surprising people!

  129. Ben Long (2009-10-13) #Ben Long

    wow...can't believe I just read this. It is so true. This stuff falls into the realm of 'initiative' as well. Usually, thinking about what you have to do is alot harder than actually doing it. I have been guilty of yapping about something so much that I lose the inspiration/motivation! Maybe we should be more careful of just who we are announcing our best plans to. The key is choosing folks that are open to inspiration. I heard Derek speak years ago at the Durango Songwriters Expo and that experience still propels me to this very day. He chose to lend his energy, ideas and enthusiasm to a group that was already primed and ready for the content! THANKS AGAIN DEREK

  130. Joël (2009-10-13) #

    Is this the story of Derek and Muckwork? smile Is this project abandoned? Peace.
    After announcing Muckwork, I realized I needed some time off before diving into a new company. I'm back at it now, though. Definitely not abandoned. -- Derek

  131. Jay Chambers (2009-10-13) #

    I disagree. I tell someone I'm going to do something. I do it. Or I do something and then I tell someone. It doesn't matter.

    I make my own reality. Always.

    Sorry but this is just babble.

  132. Moi (2009-10-16) #

    "Tell the world what you intend to do, but first, do it!"
    - can't remember who said it...probably someone who walked the walk more than he or she talked the talk.

  133. Vironia (2009-10-20) #

    I realise the study is only true when I used to place more importance on "ideas" and "concepts" in the past.

    Now that I've switched my mindset to be completely "execution-focused", the study doesn't apply anymore. In my mind, a job is done only when it's done, doesn't matter if I talk about it or not.

  134. Marcel Pamphile (2009-11-04) #Marcel Pamphile

    Thanks Derek. I got one less motivation killer.

  135. Mitchell Fox (2009-11-23) #

    D-man....this could not have come at a better time..but, enough of that...gotta get back to it...M

  136. Aaron Trumm (2009-11-25) #

    Indeed. Of course I've really seen the law of attraction work - but the law of attraction works whether or not you're spewing your load talking shit. The law of attraction is instead about what you're thinking and believing.

    Glad someone more successful than me is saying this.

  137. Bizzy Bender (2009-11-25) #

    I believe this to be true but I wish I had known about it before I announced to the world that I was going to run in a marathon next year! I started "training" then promptly stopped after a few short runs. Oh well you live, you learn, hopefully that is!

  138. Dave Harpe (2009-11-25) #

    This could be true. I have wanted to make a Christmas CD for a few years, and have told a few people so. It's also true that I have been working a lot harder this year just to keep my boat afloat. Would I have the Christmas CD if not for that? I really don't know. I do know I didn't get it done the previous years, which were easier.
    One thing I will say, is that money is a big motivator. If I expected to sell a lot of Christmas CDs, it would get a lot more priority, and maybe get done. I stopped making flutes for over a year, because this economy made it just about impossible to sell one. Then I met someone who really wanted to buy one of my "praying mantis" flutes. When I realized I could actually sell a flute, it didn't take me too long to get one done.
    In all my life, I have only known one person who the "law of attraction" appears to work for, and he didn't ever take any courses on it. All those people who claim they can teach you how to do it are just ripping you off. I have a rant about it on my site, because I hear so much about it. It is true that some people are consistently lucky, and others not so, but I don't think you can change your luck by taking one of these courses. I always ask people who are involved in this why these teachers have to charge a lot of money for the courses if it works so well for them. They can't answer that. There are so many people who are hurting for lack of money, and they get reeled in by these con artists. It's totally bogus.
    If I knew of a way to actually do this, I would teach it for free.

  139. Penny (2009-11-25) #

    I think this is a bit superstitious, and probably works well for some. That said, I tend to keep certain plans private until I am certain they're in the works, and then begin to extend outward for feedback and help. (How can we get help, get the buzz started, if we don't ask for it?) I like to announce things when they're happening, launching, talk about what I'm actually working on (not thinking about working on). However, I just don't like the superstitious notion that speaking of something in advance dooms it to failure -- too "woo woo" for me. I share with my partner (and some close friends) my ideas, which helps me shape them into reality. I have to admit I do get somewhat annoyed with people who are all talk, little action. I don’t want to be one of those, so I work to make things happen. Ideas are cheap, making ideas a reality, that's the fun (and work) part. I also try to remember that "Work is love made visible." Kahlil Gibran

  140. Jan J.P. van den Wittenboer (2009-11-25) #

    Working always strategic planning,always think strategic.Governments,banks,military,have always a strategic plan.

    The public can find such a example of (simple) planning on

  141. Fire-dean (2009-11-25) #

    As soon as im done avoidng my next task by writing on this blog i will do the hardest job i know AFFIRM MY ACTIONS.
    People like me use affirmations to combat a feeling of never being working hard enough. Everyone that has ever really known me says i work harder than anyone they know. And still my brain tells me i could do more. In my case therefore, my affirmations tell me that even though i havnt toured Italy, recorded my next CD (DIY of course), taken my girlfriend on an island vacation, finished my new buisiness plan, cleaned the bathroom,.....I WILL DO THESE THINGS BUT UNTIL THEN I AM PERFECT AND ENOUGH!

  142. Kelly Neill (2009-11-25) #Kelly Neill

    Derek, you are brilliant.

  143. Rose Merrill (2009-11-25) #

    An answer for Akiko #71, when nosy people want to know what your goals are,,,,,just tell them, "to enjoy the journey".

  144. Ben Atkin (2009-11-25) #Ben Atkin

    I think announcing the completion of small tasks has a similar effect. Lots of people do that on twitter. I think people start doing stuff in anticipation of announcing it, and that becomes the primary motivator, and it's a lousy motivator, compared to what would have been the primary motivator otherwise.

  145. Jerry Kennedy (2009-11-25) #Jerry Kennedy


    Coming a little late to the party on this one (my friend Joel Canfield just sent me the link), and I must say that this post shattered a paradigm for me. When I look back at goals I've achieved versus those that I haven't, I have to admit that this may be the culprit. I'm going to test the theory out on a couple of ideas for projects I've got cooking, and see if "zipping it" works.

    Thanks for a great post!


  146. john tinger (2009-11-26) #

    i both agree/disagree(sounds like an oxymoron)! LOL!i am devout user(notice i didn't say just believer)of the law of attraction. some people talk, and some walk.i have learned alot over the past few years about these natural laws and living our lives following our dreams.i found it IS beneficial to speak of your intentions,but here's the BUT! only do so with discretion,because your heart knows if you are telling someone who may be a naysayer.tell those who are supportive. you have to reprogram your heart(subconscious) to belive your intentions.tell only select people. i ahve learned when to keep zipped and when to talk.all i know is that when i mention something i continue working towards my goals.i've actually learned that i have been putting in too much action at times.sound weird, huh! there is aflow where we can attract things with little effort if we know where to direct our energy.

    may everyone here achive their dreams(i'm still working on mine),john t

  147. dan geisler (2009-11-27) #

    I'm gonna reply to this article, so keep your eyes open!

  148. Matthew To Mccourt (2009-11-28) #

    I TOTALLY AGREE SHUT UP until its rollin...i made the mistake of blabberin"intentions" fgor years and thats all they stayed at....intentions not realisations big difference and one thingthat really annoys me is people who put FAKE tour dates in europe and elsehwere on their myspace pages..abso-lute-leeeee right blab it it goes out you feel good and then unmotivated to complete it...good one again!

  149. Matthew To Mccourt (2009-11-28) #

    i see many bands wanting to do a christmas cd and "cash in" phooey when i worked for johnny limbo the same thing occured they made a great xmas album but who needs a christmas album any time of the year besuides xmas??? how about a haloween album.. seems to be a bigger better holiday or if you are a band make a FREE christmas song or 2 and give em away at cdbaby or on your own......winter holidayis way too commercial as it is..

  150. Kristin Lems (2009-11-28) #

    My mom, also a performing musician, and I have noticed that INVARIABLY when people announce to us that they're coming to our shows, that's when they don't come. It's as if saying they would come completed the act of coming for them, and removed any further obligation to act. This has always seemed uncanny, but your article makes perfect sense of it!
    Interesting! You're right! I think I've noticed that too. Thanks for pointing it out. -- Derek

  151. michael (2009-11-29) #

    What I am especially and consistently astounded by, Derek, in these short brilliant squirts of yours, is/are the perfect pictures at the happy ending. Do you find these? Do you make them? Are they the originators of your speeches or the cherry on the top?
    Thanks! I use Creative Commons-licensed photos, and always try to reference the photographer's URL in the HTML tags for the image. (And the images always come after I finish writing the article. The “cherry on top”.) smile -- Derek

  152. Patrick Rydman (2009-11-29) #

    I both agree and disagree. For my own part, I didn't really get to the point where I actually put out my music until I actually started telling people that it was happening. But be sure to tell the people that support you and not just any guy in the street. And also, I've noticed that I get more motivated to follow through when I involve more people in the process than just myself. But that means having to tell them, right?

  153. Isabel (2009-12-03) #

    Love this article!! Thanks Derek

  154. Nathalie (2009-12-04) #Nathalie

    Agreed, I didn't quite smoking until I stopped saying I was going to and just one day out of the blue, QUIT!

  155. Ruth (2009-12-04) #

    I've been thinking about this post for months now, ever since I first read it. And I think I agree with the person who commented that telling others about our plans is one thing, but telling others about our dreams (goals, desires) is another.

    I think it's true that talking too much about our dreams can ruin them by making us less motivated about them because it gives us a feeling of having already partly achieved it. And also, telling others can also arouse alot of jealousy.

    I was once telling a friend about my ultimate goals as a writer and as I was speaking her husband leaned across the table, snapped his fingers in my face and said, "one, two,'re back in the room" and then he laughed loudly. I've never forgotten it. I'm not sure if it made me angry or upset. But I did resolve right there and then to never share my goals and ambitions with anyone.

    And now I'm quietly, happily and confidently, on my way to achieving my ultimate writing goals.

  156. Sheryl (2009-12-06) #

    I've also read exactly the opposite - that declaring a commitment INCREASES the chance of following through. I tried to find the link to the study before posting this comment, but couldn't.

    Sheryl Canter
    Author, Normal Eating for Normal Weight

  157. Janice Torres (2009-12-08) #

    I found this posting after my friend had sent me another one...

    I have ALWAYS had the feeling that saying it out loud would shatter the determination you feel when you keep it in. However, I DO trust my gut and if it tells me to say something to someone, I usually will. When you trust your instincts, sometimes they help guide you towards your goals or perhaps to something better than you could've imagined!

  158. Quincy (2009-12-08) #

    I tend to disagree in certain scenarios. The research of Julian B. Rotter suggests that people have different ways of attributing cause to effect. The majority of individuals share an external locus of control, basically meaning that they tend to feel that things in life happen because of something someone else did.

    Internal locus of control refers to the feeling that that most things in life that happen, happen because of something done by the person at hand.

    I think it stands to reason that externally motivated individuals are satisfied by sharing their goals (external affirmation), and an internally motivated individual is satisfied by actualizing their predictions (internal affirmation)

    My 2 pennies.

  159. Quincy (2009-12-08) #

    Also...Wikipedia says Rotter did his thing in '54.

    Just sayin'...

  160. Dan (2009-12-09) #

    I disagree.

    I've always dreamt of running a marathon. My father ran multiple marathons, so I wanted to continue the tradition. I had tried to start training but hadn't stuck with it. So I did the one thing I knew would force me to see it through to the end -- I told my father about it.

    That I got injured the week of the race and couldn't (and still haven't been able to) run it is beside the point. If I hadn't stuck my neck out, I would never have gotten as far as I did.

  161. Bryan Rehbein (2009-12-09) #Bryan Rehbein

    I wonder if the zipit factor has anything to do with the success Apple is currently experiencing? They are a very secretive company and I'd be interested to see if this factor applies to companies too...

  162. Deena aka Adbloyt Abashi (2009-12-09) #

    That's greats Derek & Deena, Keep the greats words out One Love from Adbloyt Abashi

  163. Brian Felsen (2009-12-10) #

    I love the Wicklund / Peter M. Gollwitzer paper - and found a neat article in Slate which adds further supporting evidence:

    Nice post Derek - cheers.


  164. Robert Reynard (2009-12-10) #

    Counter-intuitive, but so true in some cases.

    Specifically, when you're announcing your plans to people that won't or can't hold you accountable for following through.

  165. Lucas (2009-12-13) #Lucas

    There are certain things that work like slapping yourself on the head - this is one of them.

    With the subgoals the easiest thing would be to consider them separate, but then again - this isn't such an easy thing to do after all.

  166. Ryan Dawidjan (2009-12-14) #

    Interesting post, it is definitely thought provoking.

    I will try to maintain a balance of showing others my future plans and announcing just to get that false sense of completion.

    Thanks for the great post

  167. DanaSz (2009-12-18) #

    This is so true (at least it is for me)!

  168. Justin (2009-12-22) #

    BUT you could also look at it like announcing your intentions gives you MORE motivation to accomplish what you said because otherwise it makes you look like a douchebag if you don't. It makes you a talker and not a walker, and no one wants to be "that" person. Who cares about some study that was shirley not 100% accurate because science has proven that 51% of 99% of studies show that 35% of the time there is a 69% chance of it being 97% innacurate. If you get my drift.

    It is what is important and what works for YOU!! How can some study say it is "more likely" yet 95% of the comments here agree with it?? Hmmmmm either the study is way off or some brown nosing is occuring.

    For me it is more like, if there is a women/girl/female that I am certain "likes" "loves" me, but I am only guessing, and I then pronounce that, I find in the long run it is less likely to go anywhere. If I leave those type things up to themself without announging it, it has a better chance of furthering itself.

    I do prefer not to "announce" goals or what I am going to do, but when I have, it has actually made me more motivated to accimplish them. Whether or not that increases the chance of them actually being accomplished is probably better left for a study ;)

    A better rule of thumb is...


  169. PAULETTE RICHARDSON (2009-12-30) #


  170. Praca Ogłoszenia (2010-01-03) #

    Wow that`s so true

  171. Aladine Vargas (2010-01-04) #

    I agree. I often refer to this cause and effect as verbal masturbation. Since it gives you some level of satisfactions while remove the hunger to go for the real deal.

  172. Miles Patrick Yohnke (2010-01-21) #

    By Miles Patrick Yohnke
    © 2006 © 2010 All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

    In my life I've met many a person, many an artist. Unfortunately most never
    reach their goals. I asked myself why? Over the years I have been watching,
    studying, and analyzing how it is that some people make it and others don't.

    One of the reasons I believe some achieve their goals is their inner self.

    The people I've been privileged to watch succeed have an intensity about
    them. They demand everything from themselves. They show up everyday, in fact
    every moment, and they are accountable to themselves. Everything they do has
    a hard statement, and they know when to stop. Very impressive.

    I asked an artist recently why he wasn't where he wanted to be. His replied
    was, "It seems I want to learn, maybe you might say that learning was what I
    really wanted to do, more than achieve."

    We have to stop telling people what we are going to do, what we have not yet
    accomplished, and tell them instead what we have accomplished. Only in this
    way can we be accountable for our actions. I am not accountable for
    achievements I have not yet reached, but I am what I have accomplished.

    What steps are you going to take today to achieve?

    Widely recognized and award-nominated engineer, producer, writer, poet and
    founder and C.E.O. of 5 Star Productions, Miles Patrick Yohnke brings many
    years of experience to the music industry; including many awards in sales
    and marketing. If you are looking at developing your career, Yohnke offers
    consulting in person, by phone or via email. For more info, please contact
    him directly at: 306.227.6379 or email at:

  173. willy (2010-01-24) #

    I agree..thought waves I believe,are much more powerful than the spoken word to command,create,communicate,have dominion of,to direct, bring to actuality, one's dreams and aspirations..

  174. Sinem Saniye (2010-01-24) #

    I disagree smile Sharing my plans ahead of time, especially in interviews, kicks my ass into gear to actually accomplishing my goals because I know I'll look like a douche if I don't follow through. If I don't say anything at all, I get lax and have the highest rate of failure because there's no pressure or time frame to actually get it done, since no one knows about it. Yes sir, this is what works for me!

    Sinem Saniye

  175. Jennifer Johnson (2010-01-28) #

    I heard about this once but I took as superstitious stuff but from inside I always had a feeling that when I tell others about my plans it can just satisfy them not me until I am not succeed or completely done with it. I have noticed, discussing future plans damages the motivation for and I am gonna figure the more details about these survey.

  176. Maria Sadi (2010-02-01) #

    i don't agree with it may be to some extent it damages the motivation a little but its not completely true as i believe sharing and discussing plan is a good thing. it helped me many times to modify and put some thing better in my decision. My frnd with whom I discuss my matters she always make me aware of every aspect of the matter.

  177. Mike TV (2010-02-11) #

    Just get on with it. Make a start, with no announcements and you will soon find your flow. I spent years saying I was a songwriter, no one listened until I made my own ep and got signed. A product is better than hot air. People need to see and hear it to get it. Now I need to listen to my own advice.

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Derek Sivers