The Goal breakthrough model of goal reorientation: Explicit questions drive implicit processes
We propose and test the goal breakthrough model (GBM), which combines stage models of the creative process and of goal-functioning to explain where new ideas for action come from. The GBM posits that asking oneself questions (during a preparation phase) can prompt nonconscious thought (during an incubation phase), which can surface as new ideas for living (during an illumination or “aha” phase), which can lead to enhanced thriving in life (elaboration phase). In our first (retrospective) study, we find evidence supporting the three-step model and demonstrate links of the “aha” experience to felt self-integration, need-satisfaction, and well-being. In our second (prospective) study, we put participants through a breakthrough process, measuring their experiences at the beginning, middle, and end of that process. Similar patterns of effects emerged in both studies, providing preliminary support for the GBM. We discuss implications of the model.