Turns out, keeping secrets can actually be bad for you. We all have things we don’t want to share with others for one reason or another. We all have things we were told to “never tell anyone.” But keeping all that information inside isn’t good for us. We need people to talk to. We need a support system.
Keeping secrets can be stressful because we may want to share that information with someone in particular and are unable to. Keeping secrets can be all-consuming because we have to focus on not talking about them.
All About The Goal
Research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that the problem with keeping secrets could simply be that it is a goal. Goals that we have yet to achieve are usually something we think about. For example, you are more likely to notice a mailbox when you need to mail a letter or you are waiting for something special than when you aren’t. It is about motivation.
So secrets may not be stressful because of the information itself but rather due to the act of thinking about the information. They are stressful because they are thought-consuming and therefore can depress your mood.
The study also looked at authenticity. The study found that keeping secrets, or more specifically thinking about keeping secrets, decreased people’s feelings that they were being their authentic, true self. That lack of authenticity caused them to feel bad about their life and how they were representing themselves.
If you are keeping a secret and feeling not-so-great about it, that is ok. Find the right person to share it with and move forward. It can be helpful to bring it up to a licensed mental health professional who can help you figure out what to do with the information so you can live your best life.
The time is upon us. It is a new year. Time to start making those resolutions. But, the real challenge is not making the resolution. It is not coming up with a plan to achieve that resolution, but rather it is keeping it. It is sticking to your word, obeying your subconscious mind. Statistics show that only 9.2 percent of people will ever achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Less than 10 percent of us stick to our word and break free of bad habits.
So, what do we do to keep them? How do we change this mindset that leads to failure?
The real problem is not that we are setting a goal for ourselves. I see people achieve personal goals all the time. It is not that we can’t do it. I know that we can. It is about how we see a New Year’s resolution versus a personal goal. Rather than tying a goal to the New Year, simply set a goal. Don’t give yourself a time frame.
Our brains’ seem to be attached to that phrase “New Year” and after a week or two into the month, that goal doesn’t seem to matter as much. After all, it is not the “new year” anymore so why does a resolution matter? That goal starts to dwindle and the new becomes old.
Instead, make a change. Make a change in your life for the better. Whatever it is you need. Set out to achieve the things that will help you to live your best life. Break free from old habits. Learn to love yourself a little better. Set aside time for you. But drop the phrase “New Year” resolution and instead resolve to make a positive change for you. You can make positive changes anytime throughout your life, they don’t have to start or end with a change in the calendar.
What changes are you making this year?
Statistic Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/306400
Someone once told me they didn’t want to go after their dream because they were afraid of a self-imposed expectation. They didn’t want to create the assumption that they should be making a change. They didn’t want to face that kind of intense pressure from themselves or others.
What this person really wants is a life aligned with personal value. It is not an expectation. There is a difference between personal value and expectation. An expectation is metric, it is performance driven, whereas personal value is what is important to us. Personal values are the things near and dear to our hearts.
They are part of who we are. For example, say you knew someone battling with breast cancer and breast cancer awareness has become an important issue for you. It has become part of your personal values. You can participate in a breast cancer fundraiser, and even set a goal to raise a certain amount. You don’t need to set this as an expectation and kick yourself if you don’t meet the goal. You are not expected to cure breast cancer. You value the cause. It is an important and deeply personal part of your life.
Everyone has a personal value and aligning your life with that value helps you to feel “alive” and to motivate you to do certain things. Maybe your personal value is physical fitness. You value your health and well being so you decide to walk to the store, you are not setting the expectation that you will run a marathon.
What are some of your personal values?
We get asked by our college professors, potential and current employers, our parents, our mentors—what is your five-year plan? You are encouraged to write it down. Put it on paper. Stick to it. The reality is, you need to learn to let go of that plan.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to have goals, plans, and dreams you want to accomplish. You can choose to write up an outline of sorts but don’t get too attached.
We change. Life changes. Things happen that we don’t expect. That is the beauty in uncertainty. You never truly know where the road will take you. Events that happen to us shape us as people. Things we learn over time change our way of thinking. Our experiences create deep roots inside our souls, and the people we thought we would become no longer seems as fitting.
We fall in love, we have children, we move for careers, maybe you end up in a place you didn’t originally plan. The course changes. There is no need to be a perfectionist about the plan. It is ok to deviate, to take another road. We can get so stressed, so exhausted trying to keep things lined up with the plan. But what is the real purpose of that plan?
You made it to keep yourself focused. To help achieve success and happiness. If those things come a different way than expected, that is ok. I say it all the time, you have the key to happiness inside of you. By letting yourself get so attached and worked up over the plan, you are denying yourself the happiness to enjoy where you are and how far you have come and where you might go if you embrace change.
Change is good. It is growth. It is learning. It is having an open mind. It is going with the flow.
How has your five-year plan changed over time?