Is planning good for you? the differential impact of planning on self-regulation

Claudia Townsend, Wendy Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Previous research suggests making plans is generally beneficial for self-control activities such as saving money or dieting. Yet the results of five experiments reveal that planning does not always benefit everyone. Although planning tends to aid subsequent self-control for those who are in good standing with respect to their long-term goal, those who perceive themselves to be in poor goal standing are found to exert less self-control after planning than in the absence of planning. This occurs because considering a concrete plan for goal implementation creates emotional distress for those in poor goal standing, thereby undermining their motivation for self-regulation. Findings of the fifth study suggest that engaging positive self-related thoughts in the relevant domain after planning can prevent any negative consequences of planning on subsequent behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-703
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Is planning good for you? the differential impact of planning on self-regulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this