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DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2601(06)38002-1 · Source: OAI

Abstract
Holding a strong goal intention ("I intend to reach Z!") does not guarantee goal achievement, because people may fail to deal effectively with selfregulatory problems during goal striving. This review analyzes wether realization of goal intentions is facilitated by forming an implementation intention that spells out the when, where, and how of goal striving in advance ("If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal-directed behavior X!"). Findings from 94 independent tests showed that implementation intentions had a positive effect of medium-to-large magnitude (d= .65) on goal attainment. Implementation intentions were effective in promoting the initiation of goal striving, the shielding of ongoing goal pursuit from unwanted influences, disengagement from failing courses of action, and conservation of capability for future goal striving. There was also strong support for postulatad component processes: Implementation intention formation both enhanced the accessibility of specified opportunities and automated respective goal-directed responses. Several directions for future research are outlined.

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First publ. in: Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 38 (2006), pp. 69-119
Konstanzer Online-Publikations-System (KOPS)
URL: http://www.ub.uni-konstanz.de/kops/volltexte/2008/5653/
URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:352-opus-56534
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    • Taking the form " When x occurs, I must remember to perform y, " implementation intentions can take a general intention (e.g., I need to remember to take my medication) and provide strong contextual associations (e.g., When I have breakfast, I will take my medication) that increase the likelihood of reflexive retrieval upon encountering the contextual cues (i.e., those associated with breakfast). More specifically, tying the intention to environmental stimuli increases the likelihood of spontaneous retrieval, because eating breakfast can now serve as a strong cue for the intention to take medication (see Gollwitzer and Sheeran, 2006; McDaniel et al., 2008; McFarland and Glisky, 2012; Rummel et al., 2012 , for evidence showing that implementation intentions increase prospective memory performance).
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    Full-text · Article · May 2017 · Frontiers in Psychology
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    Full-text · Article · Mar 2017
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    Full-text · Article · Mar 2017
    • Thus, the passive voice mindset may be more effective when people explicitly use passive sentences while they engage in a target behavior. One area of future research may be to train people to form implementation intentions that have been shown to be an effective way to merge the gap between intention and behavior across a variety of contexts (Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006). Such pre-formulated and linguistically expressed intentions about food cues (e.g., Whenever I encounter healthy food cues during my meals, I will say to myself " The food will be eaten " ) may be especially helpful in maintaining healthy eating among healthy eaters.
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    • This focus on goals that might not be achieved may lead to a sense of deprivation that promotes increased impulsivity (Hoch and Loewenstein, 1991; Rachlin and Raineri, 1992). These possibilities are further supported by the literature on mental contrasting, which shows that imaging future goals alone does not improve success in achieving those goals, unless accompanied by making concrete plans as to how to achieve those goals (i.e., implementation intentions) (Oettingen, 2000; Gollwitzer and Sheeran, 2006; Kappes et al., 2013; Oettingen et al., 2015). Each of these three possible explanations for the trait associations we observed can be reconciled with reported state effects of imagination that go in the opposite direction, given that participants in studies of state effects imagine only future events, and these events are typically already planned or easily possible rather than highly desired goals (Peters and Büchel, 2010; Benoit et al., 2011; Lin and Epstein, 2014).


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