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  • About a week ago, an acquaintance of mine named Tom Scott

  • put out a video called "Why You Should Write Down Your Goals," and in that video

  • he recounted a failed marketing stunt/experiment put on by the British television network ITV

  • where they asked people to publicly commit to goals

  • and those goals were then etched on to monuments,

  • and these monuments were placed all around the UK in lots of historic places,

  • and they were really excited about punctuating the new millennium with this project,

  • but after just a couple of years, the television network actually scrapped it

  • because well, nobody cared about it, and it didn't make any money.

  • The point of Tom's video though is that the financial failure of this monument project

  • didn't stop it from doing some good because as recent research has pointed out,

  • the simple act of writing down your goals

  • really does help you become more likely to achieve them,

  • so ITV's project, despite its failure,

  • most likely did benefit the people who committed to those goals

  • or did it?

  • See, these people didn't just write down their goals privately,

  • they publicly stated them,

  • and had someone etch them onto a monument for all to see.

  • and therein lies the problem, they told someone

  • or rather several thousand someones on national television

  • what their goals were, and it turns out that

  • telling people about your goals

  • actually does you more harm than good.

  • Now maybe this is confusing to you, after all,

  • accountability and stuff, right?

  • Won't telling my friend about my goal

  • to run a marathon make me accountable to them?

  • Well, in one word, nope.

  • Unfortunately, that's usually not how it works.

  • Here's the thing, most of your friends won't

  • care enough to actually keep you accountable.

  • They'll pat you on the back. They'll give you some congratulations on your goal,

  • but most of them are too busy dealing with their own lives

  • to break into your house at four am with a boombox playing "Eye of the Tiger."

  • Unless you're me.

  • More importantly, announcing your goal widens your intention-behavior gap

  • which is the disconnect between knowing you should do something and actually doing it.

  • Now psychologists have been studying the intention-behavior gap since the 1920s,

  • and what they've learned is basically, we humans,

  • we like to dream a lot.

  • We've got tons and tons of dreams, aspirations, goals and fantasies,

  • and we're usually smart enough to

  • know what the first step is in order to achieving that goal.

  • Unfortunately, we often have trouble actually taking that first step,

  • to say nothing of continuing on to the next ones.

  • Being aware of this fact, in 2009 a group of researchers at NYU

  • decided to study how the intention-behavior gap was affected by people telling others about their goals,

  • and across four different experiments they had people first state a goal,

  • and then they gave them 45 minutes to work on it.

  • For each of these experiments, the people were divided into two different groups.

  • The first group announced their goal to the room before starting work

  • while the second group kept their mouth shut,

  • and here's what happened.

  • The group that said nothing

  • tended to work for the entire 45 minutes on average,

  • and when asked about their progress,

  • they were pretty realistic.

  • They tended to say that they still had a lot more work to do before they'd be done.

  • By contrast, the people who announced their goals

  • quit after only 33 minutes of work on average,

  • and when they were asked about their progress,

  • they were a lot more confident,

  • and tended to say they were pretty close to completion,

  • even though they weren't.

  • These latter groups made so much less real progress

  • because announcing their goal gave them a fake sense of accomplishment.

  • See, when you announce your goal to somebody,

  • and they affirm it, you feel good.

  • You almost feel like you've actually taken a step towards achieving that goal,

  • and that gives you some small sense of satisfaction.

  • This is called a social reality.

  • The affirmation of your goal by somebody whose respect you desire

  • actually makes you feel like you are closer to achieving it,

  • even though in reality, you haven't done anything.

  • Now I first heard about this study in a TED talk

  • given by the entrepreneur Derek Sivers, who I have massive amounts of respect for,

  • and after presenting the research findings in the talk, here was his advice:

  • You should, "Resist the temptation to announce your goal,

  • delay the gratification that the social acknowledgement brings,

  • and understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing."

  • Now as a general principle, I totally agree with this,

  • and I think that we should heed it for the most part.

  • I don't think that it disproves the usefulness of accountability partners,

  • but I do think that it highlights the importance

  • that if you're gonna get one and tell them your goal,

  • you should make sure it's somebody who will actually keep you accountable.

  • Also, it helps to frame your goal in terms of the work you need to put in

  • rather than the identity that you want to assume,

  • so instead of saying I'm going to run a marathon,

  • which paints you as a cool, tough marathonrunner,

  • just say I'm going to run an hour a day.

  • That's the work you have to put in,

  • and it's much easier for them to keep you accountable for it.

  • That being said, the main conclusion of Tom's video is still completely valid.

  • I definitely think that you should write down your goals,

  • and now that you've finished watching this video, go give that one a watch. It's a good one.

  • You can also check out Derek's original TED talk which I've embedded in the blog post for this video.

  • If you want to read that, you can click the orange button right there.

  • If you want to get new tips on being a more effective student every single week,

  • you can click that big, red subscribe button down below

  • and I wrote an entire book on how to earn better grades,

  • so if you want a free copy sent to your email, click the picture of the book.

  • Last week's video was all about how I use my calendar, so check it out if you missed it,

  • and if you'd like to connect, I'm on Instagram and Twitter @TomFrankly or you can leave a comment down below.

  • Thanks for watching.

About a week ago, an acquaintance of mine named Tom Scott

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Why You Shouldn't Tell People About Your Goals - College Info Geek

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    羅紹桀 posted on 2016/04/08
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