Implementation Intentions and Effective Goal Pursuit

Peter M. Gollwitzer, Veronike Brandstätter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The theoretical distinction between goal intentions ("I intend to achieve x") and implementation intentions ("I intend to perform goal-directed behavior y when I encounter situation z"; P. M. Gollwitzer, 1993) is explored by assessing the completion rate of various goal projects. In correlational Study 1, difficult goal intentions were completed about 3 times more often when participants had furnished them with implementation intentions. In experimental Study 2, all participants were assigned the same difficult goal intention, and half were instructed to form implementation intentions. The beneficial effects of implementation intentions paralleled those of Study 1. In experimental Study 3, implementation intentions were observed to facilitate the immediate initiation of goal-directed action when the intended opportunity was encountered. Implementation intentions are interpreted to be powerful self-regulatory tools for overcoming the typical obstacles associated with the initiation of goal-directed actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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