Be bold. Talk to other people (preferably supportive people) about your intention to change. There are many ways to enhance your sense of commitment to change, but one of the easiest and most effective ways is to make a public promise that you are working toward a goal.
Tell your friends and family what you plan to do. Write it on a big sheet of paper and tape it to the refrigerator. Take out an ad in a local newspaper and tell the world about the challenge you are undertaking.
This works because it makes your change effort an issue of integrity in your own eyes and in the eyes of others. We generally want to think of ourselves in a positive way, and we want others to think positively about us, as well. So if we say publicly that we plan to accomplish something, we will go to great lengths to maintain our integrity; that is, to be consistent with our stated values and expectations.
Making a goal public also helps us to garner social support from important others and to create a positive emotional climate in which to achieve our dreams. Consider the science of social bonding and the brain. Scientists who study the brain have discovered that the limbic system, which functions as the brain’s emotional center, is an open-loop system.
This means that rather than being a closed system that does not exchange information with anyone outside of itself, the limbic system can transmit signals that alter the emotions and physiology of another person. In addition, it regulates itself based on input from outside sources. Therefore, emotions are “contagious” whenever people are near one another, even if the contact is nonverbal.
It becomes important, then, for us to be around positive, inspiring people in order to generate a sense of possibility and to propel ourselves forward. There is a direct path from a positive emotional climate to positive outcomes.
What can you do to make your change goals public?