How formulating implementation plans and remembering past actions facilitate the enactment of effortful decisions



Building on prior research studying effortful decision making and enactment processes (Bagozzi, Dholakia, & Basuroy, 2003; BDB), we identify and provide an in-depth understanding of two specific self-regulatory strategies: (1) formulating an implementation plan, and (2) remembering past actions, that decision makers can use in facilitating enactment of effortful decisions. The results of three experiments, in which the decision maker's goal and self-regulatory strategy were manipulated, showed that for goals that decision makers chose volitionally, the motivational effects of both these strategies lay in increasing levels of proximal implementation-related variables (implementation intentions, plan completeness, plan enactment, and goal realization) significantly. In contrast, for goals that were assigned to participants, these strategies' motivational effects additionally extended to significantly increasing distal goal-related variables (goal desire, goal intentions, perceived self-efficacy, and implementation desires). The theoretical implications of our findings are discussed, and future research opportunities are explored. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.