Just this morning I read an article about a couple that lost over 300 pounds together, but unfortunately, many people with an overweight or obese partner have a completely different experience. Family and friends, even when they say they want to be supportive, often resist the change, making it hard for that individual to reach their health goals.
This article explores a few other reasons why keeping a new diet or exercise plan to yourself may be a good idea. Research performed by Dr. Peter Gollwitzer, a professor of psychology at New York University who studies how goals and plans affect cognition and behavior, describes what happens when we reveal our plans in his research paper, “When Intentions Go Public.”
One thing Gollwitzer found was that when announcing a plan, acknowledgment of the change made a person feel they had accomplished their goal, thus stalling the process of putting it into action.
He suggests that one way to avoid this effect is simply to “keep your mouth shut,” but go about making those positive changes and enjoying the benefits. However, it may be helpful to have one or two trusted people to whom you know you will feel held accountable so that you have someone to talk to.
Another reason many may feel more comfortable starting a new plan in secret is that, hey, if you fall off the wagon or take longer to meet your goal than planned, only you have to know.
I actually think this makes a lot of sense—I’ve always wondered why I tend to be secretive about plans and ambitions in my life, health-related and otherwise. I guess it may actually be a good thing.
What do you think? Do you like to share your plans or do you play it close to the vest? Have you ever wrestled with whether to tell someone about lifestyle changes you were making?