Is Planning Good for You? The Differential Impact of Planning on Self-Regulation
Previous research suggests making plans is generally beneficial for self-control activities such as saving money or dieting. Yet the results of five experiments reveal that planning does not always benefit everyone. Although planning tends to aid subsequent self-control for those who are in good standing with respect to their long-term goal, those who perceive themselves to be in poor goal standing are found to exert less self-control after planning than in the absence of planning. This occurs because considering a concrete plan for goal implementation creates emotional distress for those in poor goal standing, thereby undermining their motivation for self-regulation. Findings of the fifth study suggest that engaging positive self-related thoughts in the relevant domain after planning can prevent any negative consequences of planning on subsequent behavior.
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