We’re on the cusp of a new year with all of its shiny promises of hope, fulfillment, and fresh opportunities. As a blogger, it seems logical to announce our plans for the future, to tell our readers our goals in order to stay accountable. That’s what I do. That’s what everyone else does, right? We make checklists of the projects we’d like to finish or perhaps we publicly confess our fitness or writing goals. I’ve done all of this and more. I’m sure you have, too.
Here’s a list of all of my goals for the new year…
We have to keep accountable, right?
And about two weeks in, I usually give up. Maybe not consciously, but I certainly find excuses.
- I’m just too tired.
- It’s too hot/cold/rainy/snowy/cloudy/sunny outside.
- I need to get caught up on “other things.”
- I’ll try again…next week.
- I’m not giving up. It’s just a bad time right now.
- It’s too hard.
- I don’t feel like I’m making any progress.
- If only I’d started sooner.
- Maybe when I’m retired, then I’ll have more time.
Does any of this sound familiar?
You are NOT alone.
Did you know that your public goal setting announcements could be partly to blame for your lack of success? It turns out we might be sabotaging our own plans! Research has shown that publicly announcing goals tricks the brain into producing dopamine, the “feel good” hormone. Basically, your brain rewards you for accomplishing a goal that you haven’t actually accomplished! Furthermore, when all of your buddies tell you, “Great job!” (because they’re awesome and supportive) when you haven’t actually completed your goal, your brain rewards you anyway.
For example: Let’s say you want to run a marathon. You announce it all over social media. “My goal is to run a marathon in the new year.” Your friends congratulate you. “YAY!!! Great job.” Your brain rewards you with feel-good hormones. As far as your brain is concerned, you’ve already met your goal, so there’s no point in getting off the sofa, not when there are so many movies to watch on Netflix. Your brain is bored with the task, and you haven’t even started it.
Does this mean we shouldn’t set goals?
Of course not!
I think we MUST set goals if we want to create something important and meaningful. But maybe we don’t have to announce our plans to the world just yet. Maybe we should ask ourselves why we need to share our goals with EVERYONE in the first place? Maybe we could be MORE productive if we waited until AFTER we achieved a milestone to make our big announcement. Everyone is different. Your results may vary, but it’s something I’ll be thinking about in the New Year.
Wishing you and happy and productive New Year!
P.S. I created these fun notebooks to write down all of the goals we WON’T be immediately sharing!