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<title>Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them | Derek Sivers</title>
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<h1><a href="/" title="Derek Sivers">Derek Sivers</a></h1>
<div class="blogparent"><a href="/blog">Articles</a>:</div>
<h1>Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them</h1>
Shouldn’t you announce your goals, so friends can support you?
Isn’t it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects?
Doesn’t the “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_attraction_%28New_Thought%29">law of attraction</a>” mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal as already yours?
Tests done since 1933 show that <strong>people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen</strong>.
Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.
In 1933, W. Mahler found that if a person announced the solution to a problem, and was acknowledged by others, it was now in the brain as a “social reality”, even if the solution hadn’t actually been achieved.
NYU psychology professor <a href="http://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/">Peter Gollwitzer</a> has been studying this since his 1982 book “<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=29xuRaMr1sIC&hl=en">Symbolic Self-Completion</a>” (<a href="http://interruptions.net/literature/Wicklund-BASP81.pdf">pdf article here</a>) — and recently published results of new tests in a research article, “<a href="http://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/09_Gollwitzer_Sheeran_Seifert_Michalski_When_Intentions_.pdf">When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?</a>”
Four different tests of 63 people found that <strong>those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them</strong> than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others.
Once you’ve told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness.”
You have “identity symbols” in your brain that make your self-image.
Since both actions and talk create symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it “neglects the pursuit of further symbols.”
A related test found that <strong>success on one sub-goal</strong> (like eating healthy meals) <strong>reduced efforts on other important sub-goals</strong> (like going to the gym) for the same reason.
It may seem unnatural to keep your intentions and plans private, but <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V68SMFrpFt8">try it</a>.
If you do tell a friend, make sure not to say it as a satisfaction (“I’m going to run a marathon!”), but as dissatisfaction (“I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don’t, OK?”)
<img src="/images/zipit.jpg" alt="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30368039@N06/2891452910/" />
Thanks to Wray Herbert’s <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/does-announcing-your-goals-help-you-succeed-79645">article</a> about this.
Also <a href="https://www.bassam.com/single-post/CSI-TED-Talks-What-Derek-Sivers-Was-Really-Saying">please see this article</a> for more clarification.
© 2009 <a href="https://sive.rs/">Derek Sivers</a>.
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