March 22, 2016

Self-concordant goals feel easier to pursue

Self-concordant goals are goals that fit with the developing interests and values of a person. This means people have a stronger autonomous motivation for these goals. Previous research has shown that having autonomous goals is associated with achieving more progress and satisfaction. There is also research which has shown that having self-concordant goals leads tot the use of effective self-regulation strategies.

New research by Werner et al. (2016) sheds new light on the question why people accomplish self-concordant goals better and more quickly. The researchers asked 176 students to set 3 goals on which they would work in the coming semester and to report their motivation on each of these goals. After 2 months the participants reported how easy it had been for them to work on these goals and how much effort they had invested into these goals. Analyses showed that the students felt that self-concordant goals had been easier to work on than other goals. Subjective ease mediated the relation between motivation and progress. The more a goal fit with the person's interests and values the easier the person found it to work at that goal. That participants accomplished more progress in self-concordant goals was, in their perception, not due to their feeling of having invested more effort into these goals but to their feeling that those goals had been easier to work at.

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