March 22, 2016

Self-concordant goals → effective self-regulation → goal progress

In Self-concordance theory I mentioned that Vasalampi et al. (2009) found empirical support for self-condordance theory which says the following: “having personal goals that are selected for autonomous reasons increases goal-directed effort and thereby increases goal progress. Goal progress, in turn, leads to an increase in subjective well-being and adjustment.” Put more simply: goal motivation is related to more goal progress. Two newer publications confirmed the relationship between goal motivation and goal progress but found that it is mediated by several other variables.
  1. A first study found a mediating role for implementation planning: Implementation planning as a pathway between goal motivation and goal progress for academic and physical activity goals – Carraro & Gaudreau (2011) The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the role of self-concordance and implementation planning on the progress made by university students in the pursuit of their academic and physical activity goals over a 1-month period. A sample of 205 students completed measures of self-concordance at Time 1, and implementation planning and goal progress at Time 2. Results of structural equation modeling analyses indicated that implementation planning partially mediated the relationship between self-concordance and academic goal progress, and fully mediated this relationship for goals related to physical activity. The results attest to the importance of selecting goals that are congruent with the self and the use of planning strategies for the facilitation of goal progress in 2 life domains.
  2.  A second study found mediating roles of effort and action planning and of coping: From goal motivation to goal progress: The mediating role of coping in the Self-Concordance Model – Gaudreau, Carraro, & Miranda (2011) The present studies examined the mediating role of self-regulatory mechanisms in the relationship between goal motivation and goal progress in the Self-Concordance Model. First, a systematic review, using meta-analytical path analysis, supported the mediating role of effort and action planning in the positive association between autonomous goal motivation and goal progress. Second, results from two additional empirical studies, using structural equation modeling, lent credence to the mediating role of coping in the relationship between goal motivation and goal progress of university students. Autonomous goal motivation was positively associated with task-oriented coping, which predicted greater goal progress during midterm exams (Study 1, N=702) and at the end of the semester in a different sample (Study 2, N=167). Controlled goal motivation was associated with greater disengagement-oriented coping (Study 1 and Study 2) and lesser use of task-oriented coping (Study 2), which reduced goal progress. These results held up after controlling for perceived stress (Study 2). Our findings highlight the importance of coping in the “inception-to-attainment” goal process because autonomous goal motivation indirectly rather than directly predicts goal progress of university students through their usage of task-oriented coping. 
It appears that self-concordant goals increase the use of self-regulatory strategies such as implementation planning, action planning, putting in effort, and coping which in turn lead to more goal progress.

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