This summer I decided to go for a trip. I wanted to spend all the colder months, from October to March, in warmer climates. I planned to go to the south of Europe first, stopping for a while in Croatia, Greece or some other country at the Mediterranean.
Many people were asking me "what are you planning to do?", and I kept telling them about the idea of the trip. I hoped to meet some great people, get to know other cultures better, and above all else - not suffer from cold weather (which I hate more than most other things in life).
Everyone was excited about my trip. I was excited too. I departed in the first week of October and headed for Czech Republic, where I had friends to visit.
I planned to spend around 6 months on the road. I returned home after 6 days. It was boring and tiring.
Of course people asked "hey why did you return? What happened?" So I explained with patience.
I decided to stop announcing my plans so much. I'll keep my goals and plans to myself, and announce what I already did - not what I'm planning to do.
I announced a lot of crazy and a lot of reasonable plans to my friends and colleagues, and you know what? I didn't do many of these things. I don't think announcing is healthy.
If I announce something and then not do as I said, I feel bad (for various reasons). Perhaps others also think less of me, too. And I don't see much benefit in announcing - other than that it satisfies curiosity of people who ask me about my plans, and is an easy response for me ("you want to know what I'm up to? Why, of course I'll tell you. I am about to...").
Now, incidentally, two friends of mine have sent me this short TED talk by Derek Sivers: he suggests (and has some research behing his thesis) that if you announce that you'll do something, it makes you less likely to succeed. He also has an article about it.
By the way, I noticed that people often do not distinguish the following to statements:
I will do it. (certainty)
Perhaps I will do it. (uncertainty)
In both cases, if I don't do it, people think I failed to live up to my commitment. I think they are wrong, but it's probably better to be very careful with qualifiers in statements - people really have a hard time remembering them, or perhaps even have very different meanings attached to them (e.g. some interpret "perhaps" as "probably not" while others as "most likely yes" etc.).
Anyway, I think this whole area of announcing your goals to others, whether or not it actually motivates you to accomplish the goal, whether others hold you accountable, what you do when others fail to do what they promised etc. is very interesting -- and I hope science will give us some definitive answers about these topics in the future.