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When Goals Loom Darker: Goal Ambivalence Moderates the Effect of Goal Proximity on Goal‐Related Motivation

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European Journal of Social Psychology

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--- - |2 Abstract This research extends previous work on the self‐regulation of goal striving as well as effects of temporal and psychological distance on motivation. Borrowing from classic work on goal gradients and approach‐avoidance conflicts, we predicted that the experience of ambivalence toward a personal goal moderates the extent to which feeling or being close to goal attainment affects motivation, such that greater proximity to the goal has a negative effect on motivation at higher levels of experienced goal ambivalence. We find evidence for the hypothesized effect across three studies examining different goals (pursuing a degree, running a half‐marathon) with varying operationalizations of goal proximity (self‐reported, manipulated, temporal) and motivation (goal commitment, intention strength). These results validate that classic concepts of motivation science such as goal gradients and approach‐avoidance conflict are both relevant and applicable to the everyday pursuit of self‐set personal goals. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - European Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.