Weight Loss

New Year’s Resolution – Should You Tell Others?

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You hear it every January. What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

We kind of all have something we’d like to achieve. But how bad do we really want it?

Any time you have a goal, you know there’s work to be done to achieve it. And telling others creates the necessary accountability that motivates you to make it happen. Right?

Well, that depends.

Research shows that when you tell someone else about your goal and they acknowledge it, that the mind can trick you into feeling like you’ve already accomplished it. The result is you don’t actually do the work needed to reach your goal. [1]

There is also the possibility that when you tell someone your goal, you may feel this pressure to not only achieve it, but to do it quickly. This may make you feel controlled, stressed, and judged.

How do you get around these potential pitfalls?

The first step is to choose a New Year’s Resolution you actually want to achieve. The stronger your desire to achieve the goal, the more intentional you’ll be about reaching it … whether you tell someone else or not!

The next step is to create a specific action plan for how to achieve the goal. Don’t be vague. If your goal is to lose weight through better eating, don’t just say, “I’ll do my best to eat healthier.” Lay out the plan of what you will eat on a daily basis and have those foods ready for when you get hungry.

“If-then” plans can be particularly helpful, too, by delegating the control of your behavior to situational cues. For example, “If there are treats in the break room, I will get what I need and get out of there right away.”

Finally, establish accountability. You can post your New Year’s Resolution somewhere where you will see it every day, you can physically write it down daily, or you can share it with a close friend or family member who can keep you accountable in a fun and healthy way. “I really want to lose weight this year, so if you see me eating or drinking crap, kick me in the butt, okay?”

Telling others your New Year’s Resolution can create the accountability you need to reach your goal. Just make sure it’s a goal you truly want to achieve and you’ve planned manageable, sustainable, action steps to get you there.

[1] www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/09_Gollwitzer_Sheeran_Seifert_Michalski_When_Intentions_.pdf

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