You know the theory, tell people your goal to up your commitment to getting it done. That’s the rational thinking – if you’ve told others about it, now you really are locked-in to getting it done – right? Well not quite…there is a psychological aspect that the science indicates you are actually decreasing your chances of meeting the goal. Weird uh?
The crux of the contradiction is you need to do the work to achieve your goal, at which point you then receive your social praise/reward. By telling someone of your goal beforehand you receive social praise beforehand…which your mind gladly receives and then feels less inclined to complete the goal to pick-up the rest of the praise.
Check out this Ted Talk by Derek Sivers:
Can you have it both ways? Have the increased personal commitment because you’ve told others without slaying your goal on the slab of upfront praise? Of course you can, here’s 3 tips:
- understanding this is the first step, your mind misinterprets the talking for the doing.
- be strong willed, don’t accept the praise till the goal is done. For sure be courteous with thanks for the well wishes, which is what they intended anyway but dismiss the notion of congratulations.
- ask people to be active in reminding you what you said you would do.
So now we understand the psychology better how far will you go next time when you publish you goal: not at all, loved ones only, close friends or go all out and publish to your social network?