Are you more likely to achieve a goal if you tell colleagues about your intention than if you keep the intention private? It is commonly assumed that whenever people make their intentions public, the behavioral impact of these intentions is enhanced. We all have a huge personal goal that we want to accomplish–a big, challenging, amazing goal. We think about it, dream about it, obsess about it… but we never accomplish it.
Last week I stumbled upon a paper by Peter M. Gollwitzer of New York University and his colleagues. It is argued in it that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to follow through on those intentions.
Let’s say you want to build lean muscular body, a mentally and physically challenging endeavor.
You’re having dinner with friends, and you tell them about it.
“Oh, wow!” one exclaims. “That sounds amazing. But won’t it be hard?”
Indeed it will, you say, and you share (or boast) what you know about cardio , weight lifting , apps, fitness books and magazines, and the cool website you’ll get.
It’s fun. It feels awesome to bask in the glow of people who admire you for wanting to take on such a challenge.
A self deceiving process….
It makes you feels like you’re already in the process.
It also means you’re less likely to actually be on track someday. The reason is that “when other people take notice of an individual’s identity-related behavioral intention, this gives the individual a premature sense of possessing the aspired-to identity.”(P.M.Gollwitzer et al.)
In short, you already made people to think of you as a Body builder … so now you’re less motivated to actually be a body builder
It sounds counter-intuitive. Normally we think that we should to share our intentions so other people can help support and motivate us?
But according to the research done that is not the case.
Professor Gollwitzer thinks the issue lies in our sense of identity. Each of us wants to be someone, and we tend to naturally declare those intentions, even if we have not yet become those things. ***
To Describe how I plan to shed pounds, and how I bought running shoes and joined a local gym and created an exercise plan, will certainly makes me feel good, But on the other hand it also makes me feel like I’m already part of the way there even though I haven’t trained at all.
Declaring what we want to be and how we will get there deceives us to somehow feel we are farther along the path of becoming who we want to be, and therefore makes us less motivated–even though we’ve actually done nothing but talked about it.
Therefore Pick a goal, create a plan to achieve it and keep your goal and your plan to yourself. Don’t talk about it! Put all you energies on doing the work required to achieve your goal.
Then, when you’re done, feel free talk all you want. In short, use actions as your medium to share your intentions rather than words.
-I have had friends who used to blog their plans and goals but literally achieved nothing.
-You must have also noticed self-declared GEEKS and game ninjas (check out FB and twitter BIOS)