When we keep our goals a secret…

This is sort of a continuation of Monday’s post about the importance of writer friends–but it’s more about why we don’t always seek out those relationships. Or why we might not even breathe a word about our writing for the first while (or possibly forever).

I bet you can guess where I’m going with this: The reason we keep our writing–or any art or goal (from a training for a 5K to learning to sew)–a secret is because we fear rejection.

But, unlike Monday when I urged you to go out and find writer friends or a solid CP, I’m not going to urge you to tell your secret.

Why? Because I have my own.

Yep. That’s right! I have my own little secret project that I don’t tell anyone about because I’m downright terrified of failure. The only reason my husband knows about this hobby is because he caught me redhanded. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have even told him.

Normally, I’m all about conquering fears and kicking them when their down, but sometimes, I think a little fear of failure is healthy. And I think keeping it secret is healthy too–I think that sometimes our secrecy is the only thing that will keep us working toward our new goal. Sometimes our dreams are so new and so fragile, that even a little failure at the start will cause us to quit. And so…

…when we know the only people who might see us fail is ourselves, then when we stumble, we’re more likely to dust off our hands and start over again.

Now to explain: I once read a study that said people receive the same amount of emotional satisfaction from talking about a new goal as they do from actually achieving the goal. In other words, the more you talk about a goal, the less you might actually reach it since you’re gaining all the happiness without actually lifting a finger. Guys, I am SO GUILTY OF THIS.

Here’s an exmaple: there was a period a few years back when my husband and I were obsessed with South Korea–the food, the TV, the pop music, the culture–and I told everyone that we wanted to move there. We did want to move there…but actually making that happen was nigh impossible. So soon enough, that dream faded and all I have is the embarrassing realization that I sounded like an idiot.

I have so many other goals that fell off the track as soon as I talked about them too much: getting my black belt in karate (I only reached purple before I moved towns and never found a new dojo. SIGH.), painting (I picked that hobby up when we first moved to Germany–those Alps are just so inspirational!–but I also quit shortly thereafter), singing (I KEEP saying how I’ll get back into musicals…This has obviously yet to happen), and the list goes on.

When it comes to my secret projects, though, I find I’m more likely to follow through. When I first got into kettlebells, I didn’t tell anyone–I’m such a skinny twerp, and I didn’t want people to see me fail. I worked at it in the privacy of my own home until I felt strong and proud. Then I shared my new skill with everyone (and probably annoyed everyone too).

My current Top Secret Project is going well so far, but I’m not going to breathe a word of it to anyone until I know it’ll be as good as I want it to be. And who knows? It might take years to meet my standards, but I’m willing to keep working until the day I finally get there.

You tell me: do you have any secret goals? From eating healthy to writing a novel? You don’t have to tell me the goal, but I’d love to know if I’m alone in acting like this!