Goals as identities: Boosting perceptions of healthy-eater identity for easier goal pursuit

Janna K. Dominick, Shana Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


People who think of their personal goals as identities are more likely to engage in goal-consistent behavior. However, no research has explored whether learning to frame goals as identities can be an effective strategy for pursuing goals in daily life. Across a series of studies, we assessed how incorporating a goal as part of one’s identity impacts goal-consistent choices. In a pilot study, we established a positive correlational relationship between natural goal identification and goal-consistent decision-making. Individuals with stronger healthy-eater identities made healthier food choices in a behavioral choice task. In Studies 1 and 2, we employed longitudinal interventions to teach people to frame their healthy eating goals as identities. We found that people who learned to frame their goals as identities made healthier choices, felt their goals were easier to pursue, reported greater success at managing goals, and made food choices that they both perceived to be healthier and that were rated as healthier by independent evaluators. Across studies, our findings suggest that thinking of goals as identities makes it easier to engage in goal-consistent choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-426
Number of pages17
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


  • Ease
  • Goals
  • Healthy-eater identity
  • Motivation
  • Self-control


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