Previous research has shown that self-concordant goals are more likely to be attained. But what leads someone to adopt a self-concordant goal in the first place? The present research addresses this question by looking at the domains in which goals are set, focusing on the amount of psychological need satisfaction experienced in these domains. Across three experimental studies, we demonstrate that domain-related need satisfaction predicts the extent to which people adopt self-concordant goals in a given domain, laying the foundation for successful goal pursuit. In addition, we show that need satisfaction influences goal self-concordance because in need-satisfying domains people are both more likely to choose the most self-concordant goal (among a set of comparable choices), and are more likely to internalize the possible goals. The implications of this research for goal setting and pursuit as well as for the importance of examining goals within their broader motivational framework are discussed.

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Keywords goal pursuit, goal setting, psychological needs, self-concordance, self-determination theory
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Journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Milyavskaya, M, Nadolny, D. (Daniel), & Koestner, R. (Richard). (2014). Where Do Self-Concordant Goals Come From? The Role of Domain-Specific Psychological Need Satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(6), 700–711. doi:10.1177/0146167214524445