Attitudes, motivation, and goals are used to achieve change — preferably personal success. As shown in the research by the psychology professors, Hess and Pickett, attitude is defined as “general evaluations of things that can bias us toward having a particular response to it.” Motivation is a deep inner drive to achieve a goal while a goal is an ideal that represents a need or a want that hasn’t been achieved.
The journal article, “The Rocky Road From Attitudes to Behaviors: Charting the Goal Systemic Course of Actions,” includes how attitudes and motivation affect the pursuit of our goals because “the strength of the attitude-behavior relationship varied as a function of individuals’ perceived vested interest on the attitude issue, with those who had more vested interest displaying higher attitude-behavior consistency.”
The preferences that come with attitude make a person prone to wanting a certain goal. Without the force of motivation, the lack of consistency is likely to result in choosing not to follow through with a goal midway or even failure to consider a goal in the first place.
Self-control is the ability to control one’s own feelings, the actions related to those emotions, and being able to ignore temptations. According to the research by Cleanthous and Christodoulou, self-control is a learned ability through reinforcement learning because “the networks learned that it is for their own benefit to compromise in order to maximize their long-term reward.”
The use of self-control in order to be motivated enough to pursue a goal can be promoted by the regular use of self-monitoring and self-presentation. Self-monitoring involves an emotional understanding of others within a social situation while self-presentation is the behavior that is mimicked or applied in order to make a beneficial impression and increase social status, as was stated in the Principles of Social Psychology.
As the psychology researchers, Fishbach and Touré-Tillery, mentioned, an individual can increase the likelihood of demonstrating self-control in achieving their goals by self-regulating; self-regulation involves changing one’s behavior by giving up short-term pleasure for long-term success.
According to the Principles of Social Psychology, success and failure in the pursuit of a goal can also depend on locus vs. stability; the locus relates to a personal trait or the current situation while stability relates to how long-term that trait or situation can be.
Self-control may be most helpful in a situation involving external locus with stability or one involving internal locus and instability.
My motivation and self-control, for better or worse, are influenced by the current state of self-esteem that I possess at that point in time. Self-esteem involves how negatively or positively I view myself, and this can change regularly depending on successes and failures, but some people are more emotional than others — like me.
I am motivated by the idea that I can find complete understanding and meaning while influencing people and animals in some way — that is my goal. It changes regularly when it comes to the details because I am open to new ideas that fit within that moral or ideal. It may seem as if I am still in the process of finding an identity since I am still adjusting social roles with regular changes to my short-term goals and values.
Other difficulties involve plausibility since in order “to adopt a given goal one needs to infer from appropriate evidence that the state of affairs in question is sufficiently desirable and attainable — which is mentioned in “The Rocky Road From Attitudes to Behaviors: Charting the Goal Systemic Course of Actions.”
I do not want to be motivated to follow goals that are not realistic, but this can result in a lack of change.
Self-control has also sabotaged my ability to pursue my goals in the past. I have a tendency to become my own personal Führer with a psychological whip in one hand and a checklist in the other. This involved taking self-regulation to an extreme.
For example, in order to become thin several times in the past, I would avoid eating anything I considered unhealthy, and I made sure to log in a minimum amount of exercise on a daily basis. After a while, I gave up all forms of temptation, but I would stop eating for days, and I would exercise for excessive amounts of time.
These moments were an example of durability bias because I kept expecting to feel more positive about how much slimmer I became, but it was never enough.
I did not expect the results of my actions to last as long as they did when it came to the negative side effects. At first, I had self-control, but then it became inverted, and I lost all control. I have managed to keep myself from extreme goals, lately, but they never began as desirable or attainable — each success, partnered with a low self-esteem, resulted in this excess.
An example of how self-control is aiding in pursuing my goals is the use of mindfulness techniques and containing my heavy emotions. I am currently in the process of self-improvement, and I noticed how Dan McAdams revealed that this kind of attempt “at changing one’s traits to become a more effective social actor — are sometimes successful, but they are very hard.”
The psychology professor, Dan McAdams, mentioned neuroticism as an example, and that is a dominant trait that I am trying to minimize with self-control. Besides receiving therapy which has provided some mindfulness techniques, there is a difference between mindfulness while alone versus mindfulness within a group setting.
I am currently planning to apply more self-control and mindfulness when in public by ignoring the temptation to hide and avoiding the urge to not socialize in the first place.