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May. 26, 2015 Fast Company

The hardest thing about working independently is, well, being independent. When no one is looking over your shoulder and you get to set your own goals and deadlines, things can go sideways pretty quickly.

Your inner voice tells you that the task needs to be completed, but you lose focus (about every 59.5 seconds) and the setback can lead to self-doubt, which can throw you into an that research has shown to increase stress.

But telling someone else about what you hope to achieve can change the game. A brand-new study by Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University, revealed that more than 70% of the 267 participants who sent weekly updates to a friend reported successful goal achievement (completely accomplished their goal or were more than halfway there), compared to only 355 of those who kept their goals to themselves, without writing them down.

For Xander Schultz, the effect of making progress public was not only personal, it was the spark that ignited the idea for a whole company. Complete, an iOS app that allows users to share their to-do lists with a community, launched this past January. So far, data from its users reveal that those who publicly declare their intentions on the network are four times more likely to complete their tasks.

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