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Regular version of the site

Article

Rightly crossing the Rubicon: Evaluating goal self-concordance prior to selection helps people choose more intrinsic goals

Journal of Research in Personality. 2019. Vol. 79. P. 119-129.
Sheldon K. M., Prentice M., Osin E. N.

We studied how people ‘‘cross the Rubicon” when making personal goal selections. In Studies 1 and 2 participants rated the self-concordance of four candidate goals, two with intrinsic and two with extrinsic content, before selecting two goals to actually pursue. Intrinsic goal content predicted higher selfconcordance, as did matching between goal content and participant values and motives. Selfconcordance in turn explained participants’ actual goal-selections. In longitudinal study 2, intrinsic goal selection predicted increased well-being. In experimental Study 3, participants randomly assigned to rate candidate goals prior to selection made more intrinsic selections on average, compared to those not afforded this opportunity. We conclude that considering one’s motivations for various candidate goals prior to selecting among them can improve one’s goal choices.