Can Feeling Guilty Keep You Moving Forward?

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Welcome back!

Over the last few lessons we’ve talked about strategies and tactics that will keep you moving forward, marching towards your goals. Here’s another one: Tell others about your goals.

Think about it…

When you tell others about your goals, it’s like making a public commitment to them. It makes your goals more concrete. And it makes you feel more obligated to complete them.

See, if you tell someone else about your goals, it’s likely that they’ll ask you about these goals the next time they see you. They’ll say, “Did you get that business up and running yet?” or “Did you finish the book?” or “Are you fitting into your size 4 jeans yet?” And if you have to answer “no” to the inevitable questions, you’ll feel guilty.

Now, most people don’t like to feel guilty. So what happens is they push forward on their goals in order to reduce the likelihood that they’ll have one of those uncomfortable moments should one of their friends ask about their goals. It’s so simple… but it’s incredibly effective!

Now, there are a couple ways to make this tactic even more effective and more powerful:

  • Tell multiple people. If you tell just one person, and you don’t follow through on your goals, your psychological discomfort is minimal. But if you tell a whole group of people, you’ll have a hard time admitting to several people that you didn’t follow through. Thus it gives you the motivation you need to move forward.
  • Ask your friends to sign your contract. Instead of merely telling others about your goals, you can ask them to “witness” and sign your contract. You may even give them copies of this contract. That way, they’re reminded to ask you about your goals the next time they see you.
  • Don’t ask for opinions or permission. When you tell people about your goals, you should tell them what you intend to achieve… period. Don’t say, “what do you think?” or similar. Don’t ask for their opinion or permission – just ask for their support.

Telling other people is often just enough motivation for many people to keep moving forward. But if that doesn’t work for you, here’s another idea: Enlist your friends’ help to “punish” yourself if you don’t achieve your goals. And one way to do that is by putting up money that says you’ll achieve your goals by a certain deadline. If you don’t meet your goals, you lose the cash.

Now, this only works if you do three things:

  1. Do this with friends you trust. (Obviously.)
  2. Pay the money up front. In other words, give the pre-determined amount of money to your friends. If you meet your goal on or before your deadline, they have to give the money back to you. Otherwise, it’s theirs to keep.
  3. Make it a painful amount of money. What amount would be painful for you to lose? Would it be $1000… $1000… $10,0000? Whatever it is, that’s the amount you should hand over to their friends. That way you’ll be highly motivated to get your money back!

Now, these aren’t the only ways to get your friends and family to help you achieve your goals. You’ll learn yet another incredibly powerful way to do it in next time’s lesson, so stay tuned!

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