The Simplest Strategy To Boost Motivation

How to increase goal commitment and performance.

How to increase goal commitment and performance.

To motivate yourself to achieve a goal, tell someone about it whose opinion you value, research suggests.

People who share their goal with someone they respect have higher goal commitment and performance.

The reason is that we don’t want to let that person down, or feel we have disappointed them.

In contrast, telling someone of lower status, or keeping a goal secret was not as effective.

Professor Howard Klein, the study’s first author, said:

“Contrary to what you may have heard, in most cases you get more benefit from sharing your goal than if you don’t — as long as you share it with someone whose opinion you value.

You don’t want them to think less of you because you didn’t attain your goal.”

The conclusions come from a series of studies that tested the effect on motivation of revealing goals to others.

They repeatedly showed that it really matters who we share our goals with.

The more people cared about the opinion of the person they shared their goal with, the more motivation they demonstrated.

Professor Klein explained:

“If you don’t care about the opinion of whom you tell, it doesn’t affect your desire to persist — which is really what goal commitment is all about.

You want to be dedicated and unwilling to give up on your goal, which is more likely when you share that goal with someone you look up to.”

Of course, it is always possible to put too much pressure on yourself, Professor Klein said:

“We didn’t find it in this study, but it is possible that you may create so much anxiety in trying to impress someone that it could interfere with your performance.”

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (Klein et al., 2019).

Author: Dr Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004.

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