Never tell anyone your plans, show them your results instead

You thought telling people your goals made you more accountable. In reality it makes you less likely to follow through and actually achieve your goals.

A research study done by Peter Gollwitzer, reveals that intentions revealed are less likely to become a reality.

Based on Lewinian goal theory in general and self-completion theory in particular, four experiments examined the implications of other people taking notice of one’s identity-related behavioral intentions (e.g., the intention to read law periodicals regularly to reach the identity goal of becoming a lawyer). Identity-related behavioral intentions that had been noticed by other people were translated into action less intensively than those that had been ignored (Studies 1-3). This effect was evident in the field (persistent striving over 1 week’s time; Study 1) and in the laboratory (jumping on opportunities to act; Studies 2 and 3), and it held among participants with strong but not weak commitment to the identity goal (Study 3). Study 4 showed, in addition, that 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.

Peter Gollwitzer had students interested in becoming Psychologists list two activities that they would perform in the next week to help them achieve their goal.
Half of the people handed what they wrote to the experimenter.
The experimenter read it out loud and acknowledged what they had written.
The other half were told that the whole exercise, of writing down their intentions, was given to them in error, and that no one would look at it.
Although the experimenter did privately.
The following week, all of the participants were contacted again and were asked to remember the goals they had written down the previous week.
Then they had to write down how much time they had spent on the activities that brought them closer to reaching their goals.
The results were that the people whose goals were read by the experimenter spent less time pursuing those activities than the people whose goals were not read.
This shows that you should never tell anyone your goals if you want to achieve them.

Never tell anyone your plans, show them your results instead

The percentage of people that follow on their plans is small. Add to this, that some people make a lot of plans and execute few. Hence the many quote about idea vs execution.

Thus, it is safe to say, if you are not 100% sure that your plan will work, better not talk about it. If you want to talk about your plan, make sure the project is done or started first. Showing results is much more valuable that talking about plans.

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Abdallah Alaili

I'm a serial entrepreneur (mostly tech) and micro-investor (tiny), this is a blog to learn from other entrepreneurs and spread the wisdom to many more. You can find me on: Instagram - Twitter - Linkedin - more about me