Building on recent research examining the influence of decision making on subsequent goal striving and decision enactment, we consider and elaborate on the mechanisms through which effortful decisions are made, maintained, and enacted. Our proposed framework builds on the Dholakia and Bagozzi (2002) model, distinguishes between two important types of intentions and desires, and shows that the motivation-mustering function of the decision process is mediated by goal and implementation desires. In addition to decision processes, the roles of goal feasibility, anticipated emotions, attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are also elaborated on. Through a two-wave field study tracking real decisions and their pursuit by participants, we find empirical support for our model of effortful decision making and enactment. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.