Burying your head in the sand instead of trying to meet your targets this Christmas is completely understandable- in fact people are motivated to do so, suggests a team of psychologists.
Lead researcher Dr Thomas Webb from the University of Sheffield looked at the effect that monitoring progress can have when striving to achieve a goal.
AdvertisementHis research suggested that despite evidence that monitoring can help people to reach their targets, like regularly stepping on the scales when trying to drop a few pounds, there are times when individuals intentionally avoid such information.
"There will be plenty of us over the Christmas period who will not check our bank balance or look at the calories on the back of the box of mince pies despite us wanting to be in control of our money or lose weight," Dr Webb said.
"The project proposes that there is an 'ostrich problem' such that people bury their heads in the sand."
Although there may be practical reasons why people do not monitor their progress, Dr Webb said that research into the ostrich problem suggested that there are also motivated reasons for avoiding information as well.
He said that the ostrich problem is the idea that there are times when people would rather not know how they're doing. Avoiding monitoring may allow people to escape from negative feelings associated with an accurate appraisal of progress.