Keeping my sh*t to myself.

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying NOT sharing my goals with my closest friends and family 🙂


A few weeks back, I told my boyfriend that for the time being, I’m going to shut up about the things I want to do or work on. I said that I’d rather keep those things to myself until I feel I’ve made some progress. He replied “Oh sh*t, I was just reading a similar thing on Reddit/LifeProTips about that!” He said that the Reddit user wrote about the idea that it’s often better to keep your goals a secret, at least until you’ve taken real action or have some results to share. I read the post and looked into the idea some more, and found that it was actually a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was not about to think I came to this idea completely on my own. I’m sure I heard it in passing a while back and threw it onto the back burner [of my mind] until I was actually ready to receive it. Well, that time had come.

Photo by Gesina Kunkel

I shared with a friend that I would love to start exercising in the morning as soon as I wake up. I told her that I want to start waking up half an hour earlier than normal, throw on workout gear right away (because that’s what they all say to do), and do 10 minutes on the bike followed by some crunches and planks. I told her how excited I was, that I was going to start small and work my way up, and that it’s going to really improve my mornings and my mood. Yea, so, that was about about 2 months ago now and that morning exercise regimen has yet to exist.

This has been a common occurrence in my life. I get really amped up about the thing I want to do (e.g. eat healthier, save more money), I talk about it with people, and I begin to picture myself doing the thing. What happens then is that it starts to feel like it has already happened; like I’ve already started… and I am filled with happiness from this. I’m filled with pride. BUT WHY? I haven’t even done anything yet!

Visualization is a powerful tool. Many athletes and high-powered people use it daily to get what they want and get themselves where they want to be. It’s something many of us do without thinking, but when you do it intentionally and wield it in the right way, you can truly benefit from it. Go read about it; it’s cool.

What I came to know is that when I talk about the thing I want to do, that’s the moment it feels real and that’s the moment where I begin to unintentionally visualize it [aaaand cue the endorphins, cue the false sense of pride, prepare to fizzle out]. That’s when I decided to experiment with the idea of keeping my mouth shut. Instead of talking to my pals about the thing I want to do, I will wait and talk to them about the thing I’m doing. Instead of allowing myself to feel proud of something I haven’t even done yet, I’ll wait and save that delicious feeling for later when I truly deserve it.

Well, OF COURSE I had to wait a few weeks to write about this because I wanted to talk about it after doing it for a while. So far, I am so pleasantly surprised by how good this little change in behavior is for me. By not openly discussing something before I do it, I keep myself from accidentally unlocking those feelings of pride, and that drive to actually get started remains in tact and gets me going.

=)

Why I’ve kept myself from setting goals.

Photo by Bekir Dönmez

For most of my life, I’d never been one to set big goals or “dream big”. In a journal entry a few weeks ago, I asked myself flat-out why I think that is. I was able to clarify at least a couple of reasons, and I’d like to share them. Perhaps others can relate!

  1. Envy. Until my early to mid-20s, which is when I began to gain some wisdom in this area, I always envied people that had “a lot” – a lot of money, a big gorgeous home, great beauty, great confidence, great talent, etc. The envy ran pretty deep and it is only recently that I realized how much I let it control me. Though I never begrudged anyone their happiness or good fortune, I put them on a very high pedestal in my mind. The gap I felt between myself and “them” widened over time and it ended up feeling like more of a weight. In my misguided attempt to lift this weight, I guess I somehow convinced myself that I would simply never have what they had. I convinced myself that those people were just lucky, I wasn’t, and that was that. I wouldn’t even let myself imagine what it would feel like to have what they had (and I specifically remember saying that so many times- “wow, I can’t even IMAGINE!”). It’s not that I couldn’t, I just wouldn’t. [Important sidenote: I have fantastic, supportive parents. They never, ever told me that anything was out of my reach. Introvert that I am – I hardly expressed or discussed the envy that I had with anyone for so long, out of embarrassment maybe (?) or to preserve my pride (?), so I think it just quietly chipped away at a part of me.]
  2. Depression. I’m prone to it, and one of the symptoms is the inability to clearly envision a future. I believe this symptom, which I’ve experienced MANY times in various depressive slumps, managed to stick to my every day thought patterns.
  3. Overthinking. This one is sort of related to the other two, but I felt it was worth clarifying. If I have the beginnings of an idea about my future and what I could possibly do with it, I’m able to talk myself out of it pretty quickly. I think about the reasons it may not work and sure enough, I become fearful and want to climb back into my comfort zone.

The abundance other people have has absolutely no bearing on my goal for more abundance in my life. I know this now.

If I hit a depressive slump, I try to journal my thoughts & feelings and keep them confined in there. I remind myself that what I feel during those times isn’t always real; that the depression is hogging my attention. I cannot allow it to follow me.

As for the problem of overthinking: I’m working on it! I’m working on my ability to concentrate and my ability to control my awareness. Like anything else, this takes practice, but I am already reaping the rewards. [I highly recommend this YouTube video about the power of concentration: Dandapani: Controlling Your Awareness]

Gaining clarity on why I haven’t set big goals for myself has been enormously helpful. I’ve been able to combat my unhealthy thought patterns and obstacles because I know exactly what I’m up against. At this point, I can confidently say that envisioning a future and dreaming up great, big, wonderful goals has never felt easier.

=)