The Struggle is Real: Motivating Goal Pursuit by Normalizing Difficulty
64 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2022
Date Written: June 9, 2022
Consumers often use products, such as language learning apps or fitness trackers, to aid them in their goal pursuits. In long-term goal pursuit, setbacks and struggles are inevitable and may lead consumers to disengage from the goal and discontinue the use of goal-relevant products. How can marketers help struggling consumers re-engage with their goals? Across a field study and four preregistered experiments (N = 6,163), we find that when consumers struggle to achieve a goal, setting a norm that goal pursuit is often difficult improves motivation and leads to a greater likelihood of re-engaging with goal-relevant products. We further demonstrate that this increase in motivation is driven by perceived self-attainability – when consumers learn that many people find a goal difficult to achieve, they attribute their struggles to the goal pursuit process rather than their lack of ability, which increases their interest in goal re-engagement.
Keywords: goal pursuit, failure, motivation, norms, goal re-engagement
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