Anticipated Temporal Landmarks Undermine Motivation for Continued Goal Pursuit

67 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020

See all articles by Minjung Koo

Minjung Koo

Sungkyunkwan University, SKK Graduate School of Business

Hengchen Dai

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Ke Michael Mai

National University of Singapore

Camilla (Eunyoung) Song

University of Florida - Department of Marketing

Date Written: June 6, 2020

Abstract

Temporal landmarks, especially those that signal new beginnings, have been shown to spur goal initiation. We draw attention to a dark side of temporal landmarks by examining the effects of anticipated temporal landmarks on motivation to persist in an ongoing goal. Across an archival study and four experiments, we find that when an upcoming temporal landmark becomes salient and signals a new beginning, individuals perceive their current and future selves as two separate agents and optimistically believe that their future self will take the responsibility, which licenses them to exert less effort toward their ongoing goals in the present. However, individuals who reduce effort in anticipation of a temporal landmark may not work harder to compensate for the lost progress after the landmark. This detrimental effect of anticipated temporal landmarks is mitigated when individuals are reminded of everyday activities they consistently do to meet their goal.

Keywords: temporal landmark, goal pursuit, current self, future self, optimistic belief, responsibility shift

Suggested Citation

Koo, Minjung and Dai, Hengchen and Mai, Michael and Song, Eunyoung, Anticipated Temporal Landmarks Undermine Motivation for Continued Goal Pursuit (June 6, 2020). Koo, M., Dai, H., Mai, K.M., & Song, C.E. Anticipated temporal landmarks undermine motivation for continued goal pursuit. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. (four authors contributed equally) (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3621221

Minjung Koo

Sungkyunkwan University, SKK Graduate School of Business ( email )

53 Myeongnyun-dong 3-ga Jongno-ju
Guro-gu
Seoul, 110-745
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Hengchen Dai (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Michael Mai

National University of Singapore ( email )

1 Business Link
Singapore, 117592
Singapore
119245 (Fax)

Eunyoung Song

University of Florida - Department of Marketing ( email )

Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

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