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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Self-determination theory has expanded goal-setting research beyond the question of how best to set personal goals by exploring questions about the meaning of personal goals. In asking why we pursue a goal, researchers can determine the extent to which a goal is truly personal, in the sense that it emanates from one’s abiding interests and values. In asking what is the nature of our aspirations, researchers can estimate the extent to which goal pursuit is likely to satisfy intrinsic psychological needs of relatedness, competence, and autonomy. In asking who will support our goal pursuits, researchers can identify the vital role that close others play in our ongoing struggles to reach valued goals. Goal research inspired by self-determination theory has provided evidence that goal strivings are most successful and adaptive when they are based in autonomous motivation; when they are aligned with intrinsic, need-satisfying aspirations; and when they are supported by empathic rather than directive others.

Keywords: goals, motivation, autonomy, autonomy support, intrinsic aspirations

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