Share Your Goals, But Only to the Right People

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If you want to achieve a goal, you should share it with someone you believe on a higher status than you, study found.


People tend to show greater goal commitment and performance when they tell their goals to someone they believe to have higher status than themselves, while telling someone they think on lower status or not telling anyone doesn’t help.


"Contrary to what you may have heard, in most cases you get more benefit from sharing your goal than if you don't - as long as you share it with someone whose opinion you value," lead author of the new study Howard Klein said.




How the study underwent



Researchers recruited 171 undergraduate students in the study, asking them to finish a task on the computer (moving a slider on the screen to the number 50 as many times as possible within a limited time.)


After one round of task, the participants were told to do the task again, this time two groups of participants setting and writing down a goal in advance, and a third group not sharing their goals.



The experimenter then informed participants that a lab assistant would come around and check on their goals. While the same assistants were responsible for the participants, researchers set two versions of assistants.


In some cases, the lab assistant was dressed in a suit and introduced himself as a doctoral-level student in the business school who was an expert on today’s study topic, performing as a role whose status was higher than the students.


For other participants, the same lab assistants dressed in casual clothing and introduced himself as a student at a local community college who was working part time at the business school, performing as a role whose status was lower than the students.







Results showed that participants who believed the lab assistants as doctoral students reported that they were more committed to achieving the goals they set for themselves, compared with the group who believed the lab assistants as part-time students. The outcome of the task also presented better in the first group.


Participants who shared their goals with the lower-status assistant performed no better than those who told no one about their goal.

Results showed that people were motivated by sharing a goal with someone they thought with higher status because they cared about how that higher-status person would evaluate them.


“You don’t want them to think less of you because you didn’t attain your goal,” Klein said.


Next time when you are trying to achieve a goal, share it with someone who you believe is on a higher status than you. The important thing is that you need to care about the opinion of who you are telling.

9 Answers

I think many dont share goals coz they lack confidence. Its hard to say your goal in front of someone better than you.
I dont think you lack confidence I think you dont believe the one you want to talk to.
Nope. I trust her, but I envy her. I just dont want to say anything to her!
Then don't.
Temporary satisfaction for telling goals to someone lower. Long term satisfaction for telling foals to someone higher.
Come back, come back, space is dangerous.
True. Those who are not as good as you only wish you fail so they can laugh. Those who are better would encourage you to achieve your goals. They are totally different.
I told my buddy whos great at breaking I want to learn breaking I want to be like him. Guess what he said. Stop dreaming buddy.
Maybe it's his revenge.
I wonder whether telling others your goals would offer an visional satisfaction so that you lose your commitment to achieve that goal.
I know the feeling. I have experienced similar situations myself. Only when you go for the professionals can you be encouraged.

In fact I have an idea. Pretending professionals to encourage those students, workers, whatever. Tell them to cheer up. Like a nonprofit org. Anyone in?
Im in. Im good at pretending successful person.
Enough you guys stop pretending anyone you are NOT THEM AT ALL.
I like the psychologist in Billions, that's a good one to talk to and she always cheers you up. You guys should watch the drama, so good.
From a psychological perspective, people hope to attract successful people's attention by good performance and thus gain their appreciation and support, so people who seem to have lower status can get more help from successful people.
I share my plan with my boyfriend, I hope to get his support. Sometimes he doesn't respond at all. I'm upset. Maybe he's a Mr. Wrong.

Indeed. If you are willing to share your goals, I am willing to be your listener lol

Simple enough in fact. Whether you ask an elder or infant when you have trouble. No need to say elders give you more suggestions. But look at those people above who pretend to be some professionals. Shame on you cheats. Do find a reliable man to share.
I like talking to baby. I can achieve my goal even talking to a baby.
Im a professor in a college. I always get encouragement from my students rather than my tutors in research.
Which means you are merely a student.
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