Eyes on the prize: The longitudinal benefits of goal focus on progress toward a weight loss goal

Academic Article


  • Past research suggests that focusing on what has not yet been accomplished (goal focus) signals a lack of progress towards one's high commitment goals and inspires greater motivation than does focusing on what has already been accomplished (accomplishment focus). The present investigation extends this research to a longitudinal, important domain by exploring the consequences of focusing on one's goals versus accomplishments when pursuing a weight loss goal. Participants were tracked over the course of a 12-week weight loss program that utilized weekly group discussions and a companion website to direct participants' focus toward their end weight loss goal or toward what they had already achieved. Goal-focused participants reported higher levels of commitment to their goal and, ultimately, lost more weight than did accomplishment-focused and no focus control participants. Accomplishment-focused participants did not differ from controls on any measure. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Conlon KE; Ehrlinger J; Eibach RP; Crescioni AW; Alquist JL; Gerend MA; Dutton GR
  • Start Page

  • 853
  • End Page

  • 855
  • Volume

  • 47
  • Issue

  • 4