Unintended effects of implementation intentions on goal pursuit initiation vs. persistence: Substitution and acceleration

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Advances in Consumer Research, 2012, 40 pp. 924 - 925
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When trying to achieve a goal (such as losing five pounds), people run into problems with getting started (begin controlling one's diet), keeping at it (continue cutting out the sugar), or both. Failure at either initiation or persistence in goal striving reduces goal attainment significantly. One way to overcome these challenges is to form implementation intentions (i.e., make detailed plans on when, where, and how to enact goal-directed behaviors, Gollwitzer 1999). Implementation intentions improve action initiation under cognitive load (Brandstaetter, Lengfelder, and Gollwitzer 2001), and shield goal pursuit behaviors from distractions (Bayer, Gollwitzer, and Achtziger 2010). Most implementation intentions research focuses on the outcome (i.e., goal attainment), not distinguishing between initiation and persistence or examining them independently (Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006). It is unclear if planning out goal-directed behaviors is equally effective for starting and persisting in goal pursuit and what the underlying mechanisms are. The present research addresses this gap. © 2012.
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