Maintenance Versus Attainment Goals: Why People Think It Is Harder to Maintain Their Weight Than to Lose a Couple of Kilos

Antonios Stamatogiannakis, INSEAD, France
Amitava Chattopadhyay, INSEAD, Singapore
Dipankar Chakravarti, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Five experiments examining the perceived difficulty and performance impact of maintenance goals relative to the commonly studied attainment goals. Counter to lay intuition and the assumptions of goal setting theory, the studies show that maintenance goals are judged as harder than modest attainment goals, even though the latter are objectively more difficult. The effect is attributed to underlying cognitive processes that produce imbalances in generated success and failure reasons in judgments of goal difficulty. Both goal types have similar effects on performance, but maintenance goals can lower performance when they interact with an active high performance standard.
[ to cite ]:
Antonios Stamatogiannakis, Amitava Chattopadhyay, and Dipankar Chakravarti (2010) ,"Maintenance Versus Attainment Goals: Why People Think It Is Harder to Maintain Their Weight Than to Lose a Couple of Kilos", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 77-80 .