Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Implementation Intentions

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1710

Definition

Implementation intentions are if-then plans that spell out in advance how one wants to strive for a set goal. For the if-component, a critical cue is selected (e.g., a good opportunity, an anticipated obstacle) that is linked to a goal-directed response in the then-component. Implementation intentions are known to enhance the rate of goal attainment. They do so by delegating action control to situational cues thus endowing action control with features of automaticity.

Description

Successful goal pursuit requires solving both of two subsequent tasks: first, strongly committing to goals, and then, effectively implementing them. Accordingly, strongly committing to a goal is a necessary but not sufficient step towards goal attainment. Indeed, effective goal pursuit may be hampered by various problems such as failing to get started and to stay on track as well as overextending oneself. Finally, people may fail to disengage from futile means and unattainable goals. Meta-analytic...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

References and Readings

  1. Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54, 493–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Gollwitzer, P. M., & Oettingen, G. (2011). Planning promotes goal striving. In K. D. Vohs & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 162–185). New York\London: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  3. Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta-analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 69–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Oettingen, G. (2012). Future thought and behavior change. European Review of Social Psychology, 23, 1–63.Google Scholar
  5. Oettingen, G., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2010). Strategies of setting and implementing goals: Mental contrasting and implementation intentions. In J. E. Maddux & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Social psychological foundations of clinical psychology (pp. 114–135). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  6. Sheeran, P. (2002). Intention-behavior relations: A conceptual and empirical review. European Review of Social Psychology, 12, 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Stadler, G., Oettingen, G., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2009). Physical activity in women. Effects of a self-regulation intervention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36, 29–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Stadler, G., Oettingen, G., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2010). Intervention effects of information and self-regulation on eating fruits and vegetables over two years. Health Psychology, 29, 274–283.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA