You've probably read about how the people in your social circle influence your health and weight. The concept was explored in one of my favorite books, Connected, and I recently read this post -- How Friends Can Make You Fat (Study: Shared social behaviors, not shared social norms, are more likely to spread obesity among friends.) If you believe the underlying concepts -- and I do -- it stands to reason that sharing a wellness goal and rallying some support from your circle of family and friends would increase your chances of reaching your goal. It's this community concept that is the underpinning for my strong belief in the value of workplace wellness programs.
Terry Harris, our Learning Facilitator at ASHA, recently developed and led a goal setting workshop to help the staff members competing for our trip to St. Thomas hone their goals. While putting together the workshop, Terry ran across some research that suggests announcing your plans takes away some of your motivation to accomplish your goal. Derek Sivers articulates this clearly in his TED Talk.
Evidently some people feel that sharing our plans can make us feel that we've already done the hard work and give us a sense of completeness, fulfillment and achievement. These feelings can drive our motivation down.
In another of my favorite books, Switch, Chip and Dan Heath talk about the importance of "shrinking the change." After describing two studies, they conclude that "One way to motivate action, is to make people feel as though they're already closer to the finish line than they might have thought." If this is true, no harm should come from people thinking they're on their way to making a desired change. It's always interesting to look at things from another perspective, however. What has your experience been?