Goal PrimingOpen Access

Goal Priming

When we’re reminded of our aims, we're more motivated to reach them

Subtle, well-timed cues that surface our long-term goals improve the immediate decisions required to get us there.

Papies & Veling (2013). Healthy dining. Subtle diet reminders at the point of purchase increase low-calorie food choices among dieters. Appetite, 61, 1-7.

The study

Setup

The food choices of 89 people both dieting and not dieting were analyzed in a cafe. Diners were given a menu with either information highlighting low-calorie options or not (the control).

Results

Results showed that dieters primed with the reminder of their future goal consistently made healthier food choices than unprimed dieters.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Who is the target group?

They could be people who are motivated to protect the environment, improve productivity at work or improve the quality of their lives. Note: they must have already stated a desire for this goal. Your prime will merely aim to nudge their existing Commitment to meeting their own aspirations.

Takeaway image

Where can you trigger these long-term motivations?

As well as environment, timing also matters, so make sure that you do so very close to the actual decision point, i.e. at the start of a meeting, at the ordering counter or on the inside of a restroom door.

Boost with the Spacing Effect.

Takeaway image

What's the specific behaviour that you're allowing them to perform to help move them towards their long term goal?

It has to be obvious and easy to do, such as clearly identifying an eco-friendly substitute, bolting on a salad or opting for an equally-priced, dairy-free option.

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
Goal Priming

Goal Priming

When we’re reminded of our aims, we're more motivated to reach them

Subtle, well-timed cues that surface our long-term goals improve the immediate decisions required to get us there.

The study

Setup

The food choices of 89 people both dieting and not dieting were analyzed in a cafe. Diners were given a menu with either information highlighting low-calorie options or not (the control).

Results

Results showed that dieters primed with the reminder of their future goal consistently made healthier food choices than unprimed dieters.

study graph
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