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How a Helping Hand Can Slow You

Having a partner can actually undermine your motivation to work towards goals.

Having a partner can actually undermine your motivation to work towards goals.

It’s great to know your partner will help you pursue your goals, right? Maybe not. According to a new study published in Psychological Science, having a helpful partner can actually undermine your motivation to work towards those goals.

This “self-regulatory outsourcing” phenomenon involves unconsciously relying on someone else to move your goals forward and, as a result, reducing your own efforts to reach those goals. In the authors’ first experiment, volunteers who focused on a way their partners helped them reach health and fitness goals planned to devote less effort to these goals than a control group. In another experiment, volunteers who had thought about how their partners help them with academic achievement procrastinated longer before working on an academic task than the control group.

Having a supportive partner may be good for the relationship, but it’s best not to think about it when trying to reach a goal.

Read the article abstract: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/02/07/0956797610397955.abstract

ResearchBlogging.org
Fitzsimons, G., & Finkel, E. (2011). Outsourcing Self-Regulation Psychological Science DOI: 10.1177/0956797610397955

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