‘I’m going to start that diet Monday!’ ‘I’m definitely getting up early for gym tomorrow.’ I love hearing people’s goals and ambitions. It fires me up when someone talks about what they’re planning to do. But I can only take that seriously if it’s followed up with action.
When you tell someone about how you’re going to start your new diet or crush your new exercise program, you experience a false sense of success. It makes you feel good. Simply telling someone about what you intend to do can make you feel as though you’ve already done it and end up preventing you from taking your words any further than that. This is not a new idea. It has been explored since 1933 when W. Mahler found a ‘social reality’ resulted from when a person announced a solution to a problem even if that solution hadn’t been achieved. More recently, a body of work from Gollwitzer has further proved the idea that when we publicise our goals, the ‘potential’ of that goal is enough to give us a dopamine reward (feel good hormone) and trick our brain into thinking we’ve actually made progress. Are you achieving false satisfaction by telling people your goals? Or are you being fulfilled by taking action on your goals?