According to a 2009 study, people are apparently less motivated to execute on plans that they announce to others.
This finding applies to people whose intentions have a direct contribution to how they want to be perceived and the identity they’ve associated themselves with.
For example, a writer may say that she wants to write a novel and after announcing it, may feel less motivated to actually complete it.
The paper concludes that: “When other people take notice of one’s identity-relevant behavioral intentions, one’s performance of the intended behaviors is compromised”.
I’ve experienced this as a writer.
I have a couple of novels sitting unfinished. One that’s finished but unedited. These are the ones I’ve told people about.
Then there are other things that I don’t talk about until I’ve finished — like the short story that I finished in a night. It was a submission for an anthology that I didn’t think I’d have time to submit to because of a tight deadline. Somehow, I found the energy after midnight to finish it.
But there are other things I work on that seem to progress faster when I tell people about them. Now that I’ve said it, I have to do it, I think to myself.
Is it because I don’t think of these as tied in to my personal identity? Could this perhaps be the trick to motivating oneself? To be separate?