Didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions last year. Won’t this year either. And this is from a guy that used to make them regularly.
More than this, I encourage you to join me. And I hold out a strange hope that you might find yourself achieving even MORE of your goals/resolutions if you do…er, don’t.
The gist is here:
“Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.
Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.“
The psychology is like this:
— You resolve to be a runner.
— You tell everybody.
— You do out and buy running shoes.
— You admire your new shoes, and your brain says “HEY! I’m a runner.”
— You never, or rarely, ever do actual running.
Here’s Sivers’ TED talk:
I can tell you from my own life this most definitely works.
I won’t go into too many details, because then I’d been doing what I said I wouldn’t (making resolutions public…).
But this last year, I made significant progress on several things that have been part of my long-term “life to do” list; the kinds of things that almost always found their way onto a list of previous New Year’s Resolutions, only to remain undone at the end of the next year.
It doesn’t mean you don’t constantly work to achieve your goals. You do. You must.
But in a pretty literal way, Nike was right. Doing means a whole lot more than talking about doing. Holding an intention or thought in your brain, and doing something real/tangible in the world, are two different things.
Sometimes, talking prevents us from doing. It give us the satisfaction that we’ve already done something. Or, if we fail to do something, it gives us the guilt of failure.
How does it work? Not really sure, beyond what Sivers suggests here. But my guess is it’s related to this…
Have goals, for sure. Just keep some part of making them private…interior. Pray them to God. Meditate on them. Think about them all the time. Just don’t talk them to death, and go around announcing them to everyone.
Especially for professional talkers/communicators, there’s always the potential to overshare. (Yes, I’m talking about me. Yes, I know, this applies to Facebook).
We all need interior space. A place to connect with our deepest selves. For us introverts, we need a place to recharge our batteries. There is a powerful resolve that can come from inner intention, not shared, not publicized, not done with external fanfare or hoopla.
Focusing on a daily inner intention appears to be more powerful than making public, or outer, ones. At least it does in my life.
So, no resolutions again this year.
Just doing, day by day, in a way that is gentle on myself when I fail.
Just do it.
UPDATE 2013: This year, I’ve written a new blog called “Follow Your Heartbreak,” soon to be a sermon series at Northaven. It’s an alternative way to move toward your life’s passions, without the traditional “resolutions” trap.
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