Goalsetting is mindsetting: Guided reflection on life goals taps into the plasticity of motivational mindsets

Job Hudig*, Ad Scheepers, Michaéla Schippers, Guus Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The working mechanism of an effective online lifegoal-setting intervention was recently proposed by means of the motivational mindset model (MMM). The MMM contains four types of mindset profiles (high-impact, low-impact, social-impact, and self-impact) based on multiple, co-occurring motives that students hold for studying. The present paper aims to qualitatively investigate the mechanism and explores whether the goal-setting intervention fosters a favorable change in mindset. To this end, a deductive content analysis was used to examine the life goal motives in the written goal-setting essays of 48 first-year university students (33% female; 8.3% ethnic minority; Mage = 19.5, age range 17–30 years). Life goal motives were coded according to four dimensions along two distinctions (self-oriented versus self-transcendent, and intrinsic versus extrinsic) and analyses were focused on comparisons between changed and stable mindsets. Results show that students who changed from a low-impact mindset to a social-impact mindset expressed intrinsic self-oriented and intrinsic self-transcendent motives to a similar extent as stable social-impact mindset students. This pattern indicates that the positive change in mindset already occurred during the reflection assignment and substantiates the proposed mechanism of the goal-setting intervention. The implications of the findings are discussed as well as directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalPsychological Reports
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2023

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The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this

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