{Marathon} Goals: To Share or Shut it?

Today we take a (probably much-needed) break from chit-chatting about heart-rates and running and the powers that be behind the training plan. Today, we’re slightly more reserved. Taking yet another different approach to something very familiar – the goal time(s).


Until I watched this TED talk, I approached goal-setting coaching (i.e. my day-job) with one mentality* – talk, talk, TALK IT UP! Tell people as much or as little as you want, but TELL THEM. Spread the news far and wide so that you feel fully committed. Keep it in? Well, that secrecy may mean you  don’t really believe you can do it; you’re giving yourself an out. If no one knows what you’re up to, no one knows whether or not you “succeed”, right?

Yes, in some ways that’s true. But, that’s not necessarily a fool-proof way to fail or stall. *I should have known better; there’s never ONE right way to do anything.

Rather, there are two schools of thought on goal-setting:

The first suggests sharing your goals with your community (family, friends, social network, etc.) to create a sense of accountability, holding you firmly to that goal and the steps you need to take to accomplish it. They’ll presumably check in on you, see how things are going, see if you’re still crazy enough to pursue said goal(s) and/or decide they want to join you! This is so helpful, right? Don’t you want to come back with full reports? Successes? Plans for them to hop on the crazy-train and enjoy the ride?

Sure. If that’s what works for you – go for it!
But, you don’t HAVE to.

The second contradicts this entirely; keep it to yourself, because once it’s said, but not done, you already feel some sense of reward and accomplishment. You get the (sometimes shocked-and-awed) reactions from friends and family, which elicits some feeling that you’ve already done what you need to do! And whew, that was easy. You didn’t even have to actually DO IT! Pressure’s off….but sometimes, so is the motivation to act.

Things are easier said than done anyway, right? Always!

But it’s not that easy. And if {insert personal goal} was easy, everyone would do it and there’d be no need for announcing or for self-keeping.

Maybe you work best within your own head – Introverts, high-five! – and only you need to know what’s going on while it’s going. You don’t need a long list of outside accountability sources to stick to it, and you’d rather operate on the notion that self-motivation can take you a long way. You want to work hard and reap the rewards, and then you can share them, if you so desire.

That’s okay, too! And maybe, if that’s what works for you, the “I DID this” report will be just as, if not more, satisfying than the “I PLAN to do this!” announcement.


demolish goals

Neither approach is right or wrong, better or worse, more or less effective. They can coexist or be completely independent. Whether or not either/or will work for you can only be decided by you. And as with most things, it’ll probably take some trial and error. Ugh, I wish I hadn’t loudly announced my desire to run a 100-mile ultra whilst high on endorphins after that 10-mile trail race! *Shakes fist* Darn you, happy hormones! Can’t you do math?! (End dramatic example.) But, what doesn’t? You’ll figure it out, for you.


Are you a goal-sharer or goal-keeper?

I think I unknowingly do a little of both, depending on the type of goal. And for this round, my lips are sealed for no particular reason other than continuing the trend – try something new and see how it pans out.


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4 Responses to {Marathon} Goals: To Share or Shut it?

  1. monica

    the ted talk link isn’t linked.

  2. Personally, I would tend to announce my goal. That way there’s no running away from it. Because there’s the pressure of the announcement and potential humiliation if you don’t achieve it, I, most of the time achieve it!

  3. Pingback: Saturday Stories | The Courage of Lungs

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