Use Show Don’t Tell to Stay Focused on Goals

Use Show Don’t Tell to Stay Focused on Goals

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“Show Don’t Tell” writing advice from Nedroid Picture Diary

There are many conflicting viewpoints on whether you should announce your goals to the world. Research studies have proven both methods work. Really, it depends on the person and on the goal.

The advantage is that by telling someone your goal, you will be held accountable. The disadvantage, is sometimes we get so caught up in talking about our goals that we never actually accomplish them.

In general, I would rather talk about what I did than what I’m going to do.


Showing is difficult. Telling is easy.

The idea of Show Don’t Tell is a common piece of advice in writing. Here are examples of each:

Telling: “Her mother was very bossy and self-centered.

Showing: “Her mother announced that everyone was to come back to her house after dinner so she could show off her latest home renovations. The house wasn’t nearby but since everyone was together, it seemed convenient enough. Mainly it was just convenient for her.

Yes, showing takes longer. Yes, showing is harder.

It is easy to tell someone what you want to do. And just as easy not to do it. Even when there is pressure from people around you, it is still easy to ignore. Many times friends don’t want to be pests and will just leave you alone about it.


When you don’t tell the entire world about your goals, this means you are truly doing it just for yourself.

Often times we worry about not completing goals especially when we announced them to the world, for fear of disappointing friends. Or embarrassing ourselves. We sometimes finish what we started, not because we like it, not because we’re good at it, but because we feel obligated by outside pressure. We’re not happy. We’re not doing it for ourselves. And we become very resentful.

If you work on a goal in private, telling maybe only your SO or family, or even no one, then you are doing this goal for no one but yourself. When you accomplish it, then you can tell everyone. And be proud!

Showing someone what you accomplished is far more inspirational than merely talking about it.

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4 Replies to “Use Show Don’t Tell to Stay Focused on Goals”

  1. I have been thinking about this in relation to my financial goals. The reasoning is different: more around a fear of ‘jinxing’ myself by talking about stuff early on, but the conclusion is the same. I think I will be keeping quiet about $$$ related stuff until it is DONE.

  2. I’m so on the fence about this. I do somehow think posting it for everyone to see DOES keep me somewhat accountable, but yeah it sucks when for some reason you don’t accomplish that (wait until you see my financial goals from 2014 and what I accomplished. I’ll give you a hint, it was none). A good majority was because of circumstance and not my doing, but at the same time it looks like a big failure. The other part of why I don’t think I should post is is it really anyone’s business? I probably will post my 2015 goals, but I may not post every single one of them. It’s something I need to think about a lot!

    1. That is definitely the problem with yearly goals especially if you don’t go back and refocus every month, or at least at the six month mark. Circumstances do change. And there is nothing wrong with adjusting goals in June if your life is different then than it was in January.

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