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Episode 4: Self-regulation and goal pursuit – with Prof. Michael Inzlicht

By October 31, 2021December 11th, 2021No Comments

Episode 4: Self-regulation and goal pursuit – with Prof. Michael Inzlicht

In this episode we learn about self-regulation, willpower and goal pursuit. Michael Inzlicht is a professor of psychology with a specific interest in understanding the underlying mechanisms of self-control. Here he talks about different models to describe the self-regulatory process and we discuss which components makes for a more successful pursuit of goals. Through this episode you can learn ways to reflect on and develop your own process of creating, working on and achieving goals in your life.

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Main topic notes

  • How are self-regulation and self-control defined? [04.57]
  • The relationship between cognitive control and self-regulation [08.15]
  • What is will-power? [09.50]
  • How is research on self-regulation performed? [10.30]
  • What are the benefits of high self-regulation? [12.13]
  • To what extent is self-regulation inherited, cultural or learned? [15.01]
  • Different models of self-regulation [17.00]
  • Ego depletion and the replication crisis [23.45]
  • Why self-regulation fluctuates [26.20]
  • What do people high in self-control do differently? [30.14]
  • Good practices for goal setting [32.17]
  • Different personal reasons for goal achievement [34.36]
  • Self awareness and goal pursuit [36.31]
  • Will-power and morality [41.16]
  • The importance of balance [44.00]

Main article

Integrating Models of Self-Regulation
Michael Inzlicht, Kaitlyn M. Werner, Julia L. Briskin, Brent W. Roberts
Annual Review of Psychology 2021 72:1, 319-345


  • Self-regulation can broadly be defined as any process that helps people bring their goals about. It can be divided into three major aspects: the setting of the goal, monitoring the progress and acting on it to move things forward. Self-control is part of self-regulation and comes into action when there is mental conflict and a choice must be made.
  • People high in self-regulation actually restrain their impulses less than people low in self-control. This might be related to better planning skills and the ability to avoid tempting or conflicting situations.   
  • Goal settings can be improved by: making the goal specific, visualizing the endpoint of the goal, setting challenging goals and pre-commitment. Goal monitoring can be improved by: writing down the details of the goal such as motivation, timeline and plan of action. Revisit regularly to course correct where necessary. To improve the goal directed activity itself you can: get an accountability partner or go public with your goal.   
  • Self awareness is an important key to setting you up for whatever success looks like for you. When you understand your beliefs and desires and their causes, the fluctuations in your energy or motivation and what your physical needs are, you are much more likely to set a goal and make a plan that is manageable and enjoyable for yourself.  
  • It’s very useful to make goals intrinsic, meaning something with true meaning and enjoyment for you as an individual as well as making them larger than yourself, meaning including the well-being of others in your intentions.  

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