Studies showing that people who talk about their goals tend not to complete them. Based on Lewinian goal theory in general and self-completion theory in particular, four experiments examined the implications of other people taking notice of one’s identity-related behavioral intentions (i.e. the intention to read law periodicals regularly to reach the identity goal of becoming a lawyer). Identity-related behavioral intentions that had been noticed by other people were translated into action less intensively than those that had been ignored (Studies #1–3). This effect was evident in the field (persistent striving over 1 week’s time from Study #1) and in the laboratory (jumping on opportunities to act from Studies #2 and #3), and it held among participants with strong but not weak commitment to the identity goal (Study #3). Study #4 showed, in addition, that when other people take notice of an individual’s identity-related behavioral intention, this gives the individual a premature sense of possessing the aspired-to identity.
Source: Space Collective