Ok, so this is the year you’ll finally lose those extra five pounds. If you’re smart, you’ll keep your mouth shut about your intentions. Why? Because the secret to weight loss may be in just doing it instead of talking about what you’ll do, according a number of psychological studies, reports MSNBC.com’s Health TODAY.  

What does this mean? Well, every time you share your lofty goals with others, you’re actually decreasing your motivation to follow through. Psychologists call this phenomenon “social reality.” The way it works is that every time people tell others they plan to achieve a certain goal, this psychological back patting tricks their brains into believing they’ve already taken action when they’ve really not made a move. 

“Many people want credit just for saying they’ll do something, the want the credit just for trying,” said Madelyn Fenstrom, Health TODAY’s diet and nutrition and expert. 

One 1928 Russian study found that even when people swapped their starting goal for another they still felt they’d accomplished something, as long as their goal setting was witnessed by others.  

What’s more, a 2009 study done by Peter Gollwitzer, PhD, a New York University professor as a follow-up to his 1982 book on social reality, found talking about our future plans actually makes us less likely to take action. 

For the study, Gollwitzer and other researchers surveyed 63 psychology students and asked them whether they intended to study videotaped therapy sessions in order to become better clinical psychologists. Then researchers acknowledged the intentions of about half of the students who said yes and ignored the answers of the others. After all the students got a chance to watch the videotapes, researchers found those whose answers were acknowledged looked at the therapy session videos for less time than those students whose answers were not recognized.
But this doesn’t mean everyone who talks about something they plan to do won’t follow through. reacts the same way. Fernstrom said that for some personality types professing goals may actually motivate them to get the job done.
For those with goals to reach who simply must share their plans with others, what she advised is this: talk in terms of how much progress you’ve made; what you have left to do; and what you plan to do next.   
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