So, what’s your New Year’s resolution for this year? How do you plan to achieve your goal or goals? Is it reading a book a week? Having more of a strict budget and sticking to it? What’s the plan? Have you told everyone about your New Year’s resolutions? Have you given up already?
You probably had the same or similar resolutions last year and around March (the best-case scenario), you already forgot about them completely. Unconsciously, you are probably afraid the same might happen this year. Many do believe that New Year’s resolutions are ridiculous and not worth having. However, this is not entirely true. New Years is a good occasion to chase those dreams and goals that you always wanted to achieve, and the most important thing is to not give up.
In a study from 2009, psychologist Peter M. Gollwitzer ran experiments to examine the phenomenon of New Year’s resolutions.
How to achieve your resolutions?
In a study, students of two areas (psychology and law) were given a survey where they had to rate how important finding a job was for them once they finish their studies and what steps they plan to take to reach their goals?
Half of the participants gave their surveys to researchers and the other half kept the surveys. The next day, participants were asked to perform a task where students of psychology had to count the instance of eye contact between patient and therapist on a recorded session of 40 minutes. The law students were also given to solve 20 criminal cases in 45 minutes. Participants from both groups were told that they can finish earlier if they wish.
In each experiment, those who shared the goals with the researchers actually spent less time working on the task than those who had a choice to stay anonymous. Researchers said:
“Other people’s taking notice of one’s identity-relevant intentions apparently engenders a premature sense of completeness regarding the identity goal.”
It seems that if you say your goals at loud to others then you feel like you have already accomplished them. People perceive you as a go-getter and that feels enough, and no action is needed. It also seems that if you share your resolutions with more people, the worse the effect will be.
You might believe that this does not apply to you. You might think that telling everyone your goal can be beneficial to you. Again, maybe you don’t want that embarrassment of saying that you will do something and then you don’t do anything about it. It all depends on how you frame it and what is your approach in these situations.
It is your choice how do you want to deal with your goals, and if you want to share them? If you need public accountability and support that comes with announcing the plans for 2020 then you should share your goals with everyone. From the other side, if you are happy with simply striving the goal in solitude then keep your goals for yourself.
Try to analyze your past experience when it comes to goals, resolutions and what are the effects of sharing your goals with others? What worked for you and what did not work for you? Maybe you are someone who shares the goals with others all the time, and you fail to meet those goals. In that case, you should definitely keep your 2020 resolutions for yourself and keep working on them for yourself, not for the praise and support if that will not help you in achieving those goals.