Is your goal to become a black belt in karate? Want to beat the world record at the next Coney Island hot dog eating competition or replace Mick Jagger as lead singer of the Rolling Stones? 

This week on You're the Expert , Dr. Ted Powers (UMass Dartmouth) talks with us about setting and reaching goals. Dr. Powers studies "autonomous goal support," which basically means figuring out how best to help the people around you accomplish their goals. Dr. Powers' research suggests that giving someone directions on how to accomplish their goals doesn't help them achieve their goals (and may even undercut them). 

Even though, as Dr. Powers quipped, "my grandmother thinks all this is bunk," psychology theory points to the fundamental human need for autonomy. Dr. Powers has written many papers on autonomous goal support, and on related topics ranging from weight loss to perfectionism.

So the next time you think to yourself, "no matter how hard I work, I'll never be the next Mick Jagger," don't just bang your weathered leathery face against the ground in despair, just call Dr. Powers! (But...don't actually call him. Just read up on autonomous goal support). 

- Lee Stephenson, Production Associate

For More Info about "Autonomous Goal Support": 

Dr. Powers' official website is here.

Click here to read one of Dr. Power's academic papers: Autonomous Motivation, Controlled Motivation, and Goal Progress

Or here's an interesting related article in Psychology Today about the importance of autonomy. 


AuthorChris Duffy