The aim of this research was to integrate concepts from goal theories to understand the factors that distinguish between successful versus unsuccessful achievement of a personal goal. In two studies participants completed a questionnaire that measured 17 constructs identified from research on goals in relation to a recent situation in which they either succeeded or failed to see a task through to the end (Study 1) or in relation to their performance on an undergraduate course (Study 2). Factor analyses of the responses revealed 12 factors underlying self-regulatory efforts. Discriminant analysis showed that self-regulatory success was associated with high levels of motivation and task-focus, and with forming an implementation intention. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.