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Oversharing Can Sabotage Your Goals


The acknowledgment people receive after sharing their ambitions can actually sabotage their end-goals, according to new research out of the Association for Psychological Science. That conclusion—which can be applied to fitness, diet, and other targets of improvement—is based on a small group of studies that found that university students put in less effort after expressing their academic goals to acquaintances.

“When people know you are embarked on something, they support you, but primarily this praise is not subject to actual achievement, and such recognition can reduce your drive,” says Roy Sugarman, Ph.D., director of applied neuroscience at Athletes’ Performance.

So while it’s true that working out in a group can spur on greater gains, you might want to avoid that pack-mentality when it comes to expressing your inner intentions. Instead, Sugarman says to set and share small goals along the way, perhaps with just a few people who will support your every step, to help you move closer to your ultimate personal goal.

Below are five more tips from Dr. Sugarman to help you reach your goals.

  1. Set micro-goals. Focus on baby steps and you might just find yourself leaping to the finish line, since you’ll be following a significantly more attainable and manageable path.
  2. Be open minded. “Academic achievement has a definite end point, but that’s not always the case when it comes to your health,” says Dr. Sugarman. Health goals are not judged by others, but by you. In turn, manage your own expectations.
  3. Avoid added stress. You can feel swamped by the pressure of letting others down, which can be a huge detriment. It’s another reason why you should keep your personal goals close to the vest.
  4. Rely on your inner fire. “Any argument that you make for your goal is meaningful; inspired speeches from others are not,” adds Dr. Sugarman. “Otherwise, you’ll swap your intrinsic motivation for some extrinsic approval, and again, that can destroy aspects of your own purpose.”
  5. Be your own advisor. “At the end of the day, you are the expert in how you have succeeded in the past and where things haven’t worked out,” says Dr. Sugarman. “Make the argument for change in your own words, and you will succeed.”

Tags: Focus, Goals, Motivation, Planning