Implementation intentions are if-then plans that spell out in advance how one wants to strive for a set goal. For the if-component, a critical cue is selected (e.g., a good opportunity, an anticipated obstacle) that is linked to a goal-directed response in the then-component. Implementation intentions are known to enhance the rate of goal attainment. They do so by delegating action control to situational cues thus endowing action control with features of automaticity.
Successful goal pursuit requires solving both of two subsequent tasks: first strongly committing to goals and then effectively implementing them. Accordingly, strongly committing to a goal is a necessary but not sufficient step toward goal attainment. Indeed, effective goal pursuit may be hampered by various problems such as failing to get started and to stay on track as well as overextending oneself. Finally, people may fail to disengage from futile means and unattainable goals. Meta-analytic...
References and Further Reading
- Gollwitzer, P. M., & Oettingen, G. (2016). Planning promotes goal striving. In K. D. Vohs & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications (3rd ed., pp. 223–246). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta-analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 69–119.Google Scholar
- Oettingen, G. (2014). Rethinking positive thinking. New York: Penguin/Random House.Google Scholar
- Oettingen, G., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2010). Strategies of setting and implementing goals: Mental contrasting and implementation intentions. In J. E. Maddux & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Social psychological foundations of clinical psychology (pp. 114–135). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar