The Sneaky Way You're Undermining Your Resolutions

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We've all seen the not-so-humble resolution making that occurs on social media. Whether it's your friend from high school flashing his marathon registration form or your friend captioning her smoothie Instagram with a line about dropping 10 pounds by February, many people announce their good intensions to their networks. But, does this behavior keep us accountable? ("I can't miss my morning run. I just told hundreds of people I was training"), or does it subtly undermine our efforts by tricking our brains into thinking that we've actually accomplished far more than we actually have?

Well, according to the Scientific American, it's a little of both — and the way you perceive your own status updates definitely matters. Journalist Melanie Tannenbaum delves into decades of research on the ways that stating your goals publicly can alter your outcome.

Tannenbaum states that over 80 years of research has consistently found that "sharing your goal-pursuit intentions may actually make you less likely to pursue those goals." Wait, but why? The brain is a tricky thing — and if you begin sharing your marathon intentions widely on Facebook, then you actually begin to consider yourself a marathoner. As you begin to craft your public persona of health and fitness, your mind begins to see you as healthy and fit. The only problem is that you're still on the couch.

But, establishing goals can't be all bad, can it? Lots of people have an easier time committing to a work out regime, for example, when they're accountable to someone. And, that's exactly the key, according to Tannenbaum. You have to train yourself to view your Twitter proclamations as commitments to action, not just a way to fluff up your fitness persona. Want more info on how to keep yourself motivated? Read the entire article over at Scientific American.