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<title>Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them. </title>
<p>
Shouldn't you announce your goals, so friends can support you?
</p><p>
Isn't it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects?
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Doesn't the “<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Attraction">law of attraction</a>” mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal as already yours?
</p><p>
Nope.
</p><p>
Tests done since 1933 show that <strong>people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen</strong>.
</p><p>
<strong>Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you're less motivated to do the hard work needed.</strong>
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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.
</p><p>
NYU psychology professor <a href="http://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/">Peter Gollwitzer</a> has been studying this since his 1982 book “<a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=29xuRaMr1sIC">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://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122306810/abstract">When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?</a>”
</p><p>
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.
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Once you've told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness.”
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You have “identity symbols” in your brain that make your self-image. <strong>Since both actions and talk create symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it “neglects the pursuit of further symbols.”</strong>
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A related <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/?fa=main.doiLanding&amp;doi=10.1037/0022-3514.91.2.232">test</a> found that <strong>success on one sub-goal</strong> (eating healthy meals) <strong>reduced efforts on other important sub-goals</strong> (going to the gym) for the same reason.
</p><p>
It may seem unnatural to keep your intentions and plans private, but try it. If you do tell a friend, make sure not to say it as a satisfaction (“I've joined a gym and bought running shoes. I'm going to do it!”), but as dissatisfaction (“I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don't, OK?”)
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<img src="http://sivers.org/images/zipit.jpg" width="489" height="364" alt="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30368039@N06/2891452910/" />
<p>
<em>Thanks to <a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/onlyhuman/">Wray Herbert</a>'s <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/id/197006">article</a> about this.</em>
</p>
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