Humans are social beings and when we’ve decided to take a step to improve ourselves, it’s only natural to want to spread the word to the people you’re close with. There’s a certain feeling of reward and satisfaction that comes from it.
But, there’s a bit of debate going on right now about which approach is actually better: to tell your friends and family about your New Year’s fitness goals or to keep it under wraps?
There are undoubtedly benefits and detriments to each.
When you tell others about your plans to shave off those extra pounds or to add another plate to your bench press, you’re actually extending your net of accountability. Each new person is one more voice that may just keep you motivated by checking up on your progress. And one more person to let down if you don’t follow through.
It only seems natural, then, that the more open you are about your goals, the more likely you’ll be to stick to them. Right?
Well, the science is actually a bit split on the subject. Some studies, have actually shown that the simple act of telling someone about your goals may lead to a sense of gratification that may in fact remove the motivation required to actually complete them.
As Derek Sivers put it in a TED Talk on the subject, “The mind is kind of tricked into feeling that it’s already done. And then because you’ve felt that satisfaction, you’re less motivated to do the actual hard work necessary.”
The takeaway here is to be aware of the fact that simply talking about your goals won’t mean a thing – unless you actually act on them.