What is it about?

Ever wondered why sometimes we are optimistic about reaching our goals, even after facing setbacks and failure? This research explores how our past struggles influence what we expect in the future. Whether it's trying to eat healthier or save money, we all bump into challenges along the way. But here's the twist: our expectations don’t just depend on how many or which issues we've faced. It turns out that viewing those challenges as varied — different from each other — can lead us to see them as relatively temporary, resulting in lower expectations of encountering obstacles in the future.

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Why is it important?

Understanding how past experiences shape future expectations has implications for motivation and resilience in goal pursuit. Perceiving past challenges as diverse can instill people with optimism about future endeavors, thereby enhancing motivation. However, this research also underscores the importance of maintaining a realistic perspective. Sometimes, perceiving commonalities among past obstacles and being prepared for potential challenges is equally crucial for successful goal pursuit.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Perceiving greater variety among past conflicts with a focal goal reduces expected goal conflict., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/pspa0000387.
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