We all have huge personal goal we want to accomplish: A big, challenging, amazing goal. We think about it, dream about it, obsess about it… but we never accomplish it. That could be because we also talked about it, because according to some studies, people who talk about their intentions are less likely to follow through on those intentions.
Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.
Once you’ve told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness”. You have “identity symbols” in your brain that make your self-image. Since both actions and talk create symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it “neglects the pursuit of further symbols.
Psychological researchers have been studying the intention-behavior gap, and the stuff that affects it, since the 1920’s. Basically, we as humans like to dream. A lot. We have tons and tons of dreams, goals, and fantasies. We are also (usually) smart enough to see the first steps we need to take in order to achieve these goals. Oftentimes the first step is right in front of us, whether it be a quick phone call or an application.
There’s another thing about us humans, though; we seem to have trouble actually taking that first step. And the steps after that? Friggin’… FORGET IT! Those steps are taken even less frequently. That’s why those psychologists call it the intention-behavior gap.
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?”)