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Knowing What to Want: Personal Goals, Self-Concordance And the Organismic Valuing Process

An open lecture by Kennon Sheldon was held in lecture hall 101 at 20 Myasnitskaya St. Dr. Sheldon is a professor at Missouri University in the USA, and academic advisor at the International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation. The topic of the event was: "Knowing what to want: personal goals, self-concordance, and the organismic valuing process"

During the lecture Dr. Sheldon presented the results of his current research on the issue of personal goals choice. Dr. Sheldon’s methodology is based on the notion of concordance, i.e. goal’s relation to the deepest, often unconscious strivings of the person. Concordant goals are based on internal motivation (meaning that they derive from his or her own strivings, and not from the pressure of external circumstances and feelings of guilt); they are also connected to personally significant meanings.

Recent experiments, conducted by Dr. Sheldon and his team, show that the choice of the individuals, who assess options in accordance with their goals before making decision, is based on internal motivation more than the choice of the individuals who make decisions without reflection. Moreover, when a group of individuals who were making choice without reflection, was asked to reflect on it on the next stage of the experiment, the quality of decisions (i.e. their alignment with internal motivation) increased.

Thus, according to Dr. Sheldon, the proposed methodology allows to improve the quality of decisions at the pre-decision phase (in the  Heckhausen &. Gollwitzer four action phases model, also known as the Rubicon model), and also to increase life satisfaction in the long run.