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Lecture 1: Motivation

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PSYC 471
Richard Koestner

PSYC 471 Sept 6 Why do we fail at our goals and resolutions? - motivation = drive, energy and direction - when we think about how we need motivation, we often come to the same strategy: usually we decide to set goals. this is the most natural and easiest way to renew our motivation - once we set a goal, something very positive happens {universal action plan: when you have a goal, you have to focus attention, give effort and persist} - we usually fail when we make resolutions: how successful are we at achieving our goals? - about 50% of Americans make resolutions, and from year to year, the same resolutions are the most popular (quit smoking, lose weight and start exercising) - these are all people trying to change their lifestyles for the better - most people who succeed do so as a result of a self-initiated event (not as a treatment, but because they've made a goal/resolution) - research suggests that smokers have to try about 8 times before they succeed in quitting. thus it's often a result of multiple attempts - most people would acknowledge that they tend to fail in their resolutions. thus a lot of people don't like setting goals, as it makes them feel bad about themselves. - that being said, many people learn things from doing so, and it allows them to start a bit further along the next time - the main problem with goals is that humans are very habitual creatures and they have a hard time changing their schedules. - the thing is that sometimes you succeed, and this is a problem because you have to figure out why you succeed at some and not at others - if a goal is inspiring, you may persist because of that - accomplishing a goal makes us feel euphoric/accomplished - goals are a path to happiness and emotional well-being, but failing at them puts our well-being at risk - Norcross et al, 1990: they gathered a large group of adults who were going to make New Years resolutions, and then they followed up with them to see when they failed - by the end of two years, 90% have failed - predictors of this: the desire to change, readiness to change and self-efficacy. - certain factors with influence your success rate - reasons for failure: people forget, they lack will power, they make deliberate decisions not to, or there are factors beyond their control - theory of self-regulation failure - Baumeister and Heather
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