Choosing goals that express the true self: A novel mechanism of the effect of self‐control on goal attainment

Olga Stavrova*, Tila Pronk, Michail Kokkoris

*Corresponding author for this work

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Why is trait self‐control associated with successful goal progress? Existing research has attempted to answer this question by focusing on individual differences in the process of goal pursuit. Herein, we propose and test a novel mechanism suggesting that self‐control facilitates goal attainment not only by affecting the process of goal pursuit but also the type of goals people select in the first place. Three studies showed that high (vs. low) self‐control individuals are more likely to report successful goal attainment and this association was mediated by their tendency to select the goals that reflect their true / authentic self. These results were obtained using cross‐sectional and longitudinal designs and were robust against controlling for previously established mechanisms of the effect of trait self‐control on goal attainment (habit strength, experiences of goal‐conflicting desires). Overall, there findings contribute to the literatures on self‐regulation, authenticity and goal management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1329-1336
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • authenticity
  • goal attainment
  • self-control
  • self-regulation
  • true self


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