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Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain$
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Ran Hassin, Kevin Ochsner, and Yaacov Trope

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.001.0001

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The Power of Planning: Self-Control by Effective Goal-striving

The Power of Planning: Self-Control by Effective Goal-striving

Chapter:
(p.279) CHAPTER 15 The Power of Planning: Self-Control by Effective Goal-striving
Source:
Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain
Author(s):

Peter M. Gollwitzer

Caterina Gawrilow

Gabriele Oettingen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.003.0015

As highlighted by Kurt Lewin, goal attainment is not yet secured solely by forming strong commitments to highly desirable and feasible goals. There is always the subsequent issue of implementing a set goal, and one wonders what people can do to enhance their chances of being successful at this second phase of goal pursuit. A promising answer seems to be the following: People may plan out in advance how they want to solve the problems of goal implementation. But what are these problems? There are at least four problems that stand out. These problems include getting started with goal striving, staying on track, calling a halt, and not overextending oneself. We will describe research showing that making if–then plans (i.e., form implementation intentions) on how to deal with these problems indeed facilitates solving the crucial problems of goal implementation. Thereafter, we will ask whether implementation intentions foster goal attainment even under conditions that are commonly viewed as not amenable to self-regulation attempts, such as succeeding on an intelligence test or overcoming spider phobia. Finally, we will report research showing that implementation intentions can even foster goal-striving in those samples (e.g., children with ADHD) that are known to suffer from impaired action control.

Keywords:   implementation intentions, goal intentions, medial/lateral pre-frontal cortex, action initiation, goal shielding, disengagement, overextension, academic test performance, negotiation performance, winning competitions, overcoming habitual responses, Simon effect, spider phobia, weapon identification task, behavior change interventions, children with ADHD, response inhibition, delay of gratification, set-shifting, multi-tasking

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