The start of the year is usually about setting goals and intentions. Then somewhere about now, we drop off slightly and maybe start to find reasons (excuses?) we can’t keep at it.
But when we take ownership of something–an item, an idea or a goal–we are more committed to it. This is called the “endowment effect” which happens when we take ownership of something and it becomes “ours,” (integrating it into our sense of identity). This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to TELL anyone about your goal.
Cornell University researchers demonstrated the endowment effect with a clever experiment. First, researchers gave participants coffee mugs and offered to trade them chocolate for their mug. Almost none of the participants wanted to trade. Next, researchers reversed the trial. They gave participants chocolate and then asked them to trade it for the coffee mug. Again, very few wanted to trade
It was about what they already had, not about the actual objects. When we take ownership of something, we work to keep it.
How can you take ownership of your goals?
One thing I do is write a letter to my goals/s! That’s my real diary there in the photo. I have just written a letter to a BAG (Big Audacious Goal) in that book – Dear Goal, here’s all the reasons you are coming into my life xxxxxx (you get the idea).
I wrote in present tense like it was already here and expressed gratitude and many other things for it joining me in my life.
Could you write a letter to your goal this weekend?
1. Beggan, J. (1992). “On the social nature of nonsocial perception: The mere ownership effect”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 62 (2): 229–237. doi:10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.168.
2. Morewedge, Carey K.; Giblin, Colleen E. (2015). “Explanations of the endowment effect: an integrative review”. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 19 (6): 339–348. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2015.04.004. PMID 25939336.
3. Weaver, R.; Frederick, S. (2012). “A Reference Price Theory of the Endowment Effect”. Journal of Marketing Research. 49 (5): 696–707. doi:10.1509/jmr.09.0103.