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Category Archive: goals

Goal self-concordance and mastery versus performance goals

Goal self-concordance moderates the relationship between achievement goals and indicators of academic adjustment

 

Patrick Gaudreau (2012)

 

Abstract: This study examined whether the good or bad outcomes associated with mastery- and performance-approach achievement goals depend on the extent to which these goals are pursued for self-concordant reasons. A sample of 220 undergraduate students completed measures of achievement goals, goal self-concordance, academic satisfaction, and academic anxiety before mid-term exams. A total of 115 participants completed a follow-up measure of their semester GPA. Results of moderated regressions revealed that mastery-approach goals were positively associated with academic satisfaction and performance, but only for students with high levels of mastery goal self-concordance. Performance-approach goals were also associated with higher performance, but only for students with high levels of performance goal self-concordance. Both types of goals were positively associated with anxiety for individuals with low levels of goal self-concordance. This study illustrates the importance of considering the joint influence of goal content and goal motivation in their association with consequential educational outcomes.

Exercise: keep a progress diary

Research suggest that there are some powerful advantages of frequently monitoring progress. Among other things it may contribute to your motivation, well-being and even health. To try how monitoring progress might work for you I suggest you keep a progress diary for one month.

 

Instruction: Choose a notebook, diary or word file to write in every night. During the day, pay attention to any progress you make in relation to anything you find important. At the end of each day write down 3 examples of progress you have made during the day, no matter how small that progress may be. Also, write down how you managed to create that progress. Write down, as specifically as possible, what it was that you did which worked well. Estimated time: 10-15 minutes per day.

 

If you have tried this exercise please let me know if you found it useful.

Goal-striving reasons are significantly associated with subjective well-being

Be careful what you wish for but also why you wish for it – Goal-striving reasons and subjective well-being

 

By Christian Ehrlich

 

Abstract: Individuals’ subjective well-being (SWB) when attaining their goals is moderated by the characteristics of their goals. Two significant moderators are whether goals are approach or avoidance oriented and their content. Within the goal-setting literature, these characteristics have been applied to goals as such, focussing on what it is people try to achieve. However, they can equally be applied to analyse why individuals pursue their goals. By applying the dimensions of approach and avoidance orientation as well as goal content to the analysis of goal-striving reasons, a framework has been developed encompassing the following four goal-striving reasons: goals pursuit because of pleasure, for altruistic reasons, out of necessity and for self-esteem reasons. The empirical findings (N = 174) show that goal-striving reasons are significantly associated with affective SWB. Therefore goal-striving reasons provide an additional level of analysis, when analysing the relation between goals and affective SWB.

 

Question to readers: Please let me know if you have more information about this study.

Approach/avoidance and promotion/prevention

I’ve been confused by two sets of concepts mentioned in the human motvation literature. On the one hand there is the distinction between approach and avoidance motivation; on the other hand there is the distinction between prevention and promotion focus. I did not understand the difference between the two so I tried to understand. It turns out they are indeed subtly different. Here is an explanation of those concepts:

  1. Approach versus avoidance motivation: An approach motivation is a motivation to reach a positive (desired) end state while and avoidance motivation is a motivation to avoid a negative (undesired) end state.
  2. Promotion versus prevention focus: a promotion focus is about trying to reach positive outcomes/gains while a prevention focus is about trying to achieve a non-negative end state.

So what is the difference between the two distinctions? Molden, Lee, & Higgins (2008) explain the difference using a 2×2 model. Here is my adaptation of that model:   Click here to read more »

Benefits of autonomy support

Distinguishing Autonomous and Directive Forms of Goal Support: Their Effects on Goal Progress, Relationship Quality, and Subjective Well-Being

 

by Richard Koestner, Theodore A. Powers, Noémie Carbonneau, Marina Milyavskaya, Sook Ning Chua

 

Abstract: Three studies examined the relations of autonomy support and directive support to goal progress over 3 months. Autonomy support was defined in terms of empathic perspective-taking, whereas directive support was defined in terms of the provision of positive guidance. Results from Study 1 revealed that autonomy support between romantic partners was significantly positively related to goal progress over 3 months, and that the beneficial effect of autonomy support was mediated by enhanced autonomous goal motivation. Study 2 involved female friend dyads and extended the goal progress results to include both self-reports and reports by peers. Study 3 showed that autonomy support similarly promoted progress at vicarious goals. Across three studies, autonomy support was also significantly associated with improved relationship quality and subjective well-being. Directive support was marginally associated with better goal progress across the three studies and unrelated to relationship quality or well-being.

The test-and-learn approach

In my post Combining practice based learning and theory based learning I suggested that self-directed learning at its best is characterized by a combination of what I call practice based learning and theory based learning. Practice based learning is learning on the basis of one’s own reflections on one’s own actions. Theory based learning is learning on the basis of systematic knowledge development by others. Click here to read more »

The Effects of Visualization Feedback on Promoting Health Goal Progress in Older Adults

The Effects of Visualization Feedback on Promoting Health Goal Progress in Older Adults

by Tuan Pham, Shannon Mejía, Ronald Metoyer, and Karen Hooker

 

Abstract: Working towards and maintaining goals is closely tied to healthy aging, but aging researchers know little about how older adults work towards their meaningful goals on a daily basis. We conducted an internet-based microlongitudinal study (100 days, n=105) to examine factors that may affect older adults’ abilities to self-regulate health goals over time with a focus on the role of visualization feedback on promoting their progress. Our findings suggest that (1) older adults found visualization feedback helpful in maintaining an awareness of their health goal progress, and (2) visualization feedback weakens the positive relationship between the previous day’s progress and today’s progress, helping older adults bounce back from a poor progress day.

Is it better to focus your attention on accumulated progress or on remaining progress?

The Small-Area Hypothesis: Effects of Progress Monitoring on Goal Adherence
By Minjung Koo and Ayelet Fishbach

This article examines a small-area hypothesis: individuals striving toward a goal end state exhibit greater motivation when their attention is directed to whichever is smaller in size—their accumulated or remaining progress. The result is that, at the beginning of goal pursuit, directing attention to accumulated progress increases goal adherence relative to directing attention to remaining progress (e.g., 20% completed is more impactful than 80% remaining). However, with closeness to the goal, directing attention to accumulated progress lessens goal adherence relative to directing attention to remaining progress (e.g., 20% remaining is more impactful than 80% completed; studies 1–2). The focus on small areas increases motivation by creating an illusion of fast progress (study 3). Therefore, when individuals wish to prolong goal pursuit and avoid reaching the goal’s end state, they slow down goal adherence when their attention is directed to small areas (study 4).

Focusing on mastery goals has important benefits over focusing on performance goals

Much psychological research has shown that there is an important difference between so-called performance goals and mastery goals. Performance goals are about being able to demonstrate a certain skill or ability; mastery goals are about attaining progress and growth with respect to a certain skill. Psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson explains how the performance orientation, while very motivating has an important disadvantage: Click here to read more »


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