Setting performance and learning goals is useful for active and inactive individuals, if goals are personalized and flexible: commentary on Swann et al. (2020).Health Psychol Rev. 2020 Jul 01 [Online ahead of print]HP
This commentary expands on the recent critical review by Swann et al. (2020) which aimed to update the applications of Goal-Setting Theory (Locke & Latham, 2019) in physical activity promotion. Drawing from other work on goal striving and behaviour change, we make four key points to further elaborate on Swann et al.'s review. First, goals are more likely to be enacted if they are specific, personally relevant and pursued for autonomous motives; performance goals can be useful for inactive individuals if set appropriately and self-endorsed. Second, goal striving needs to be flexible and adjustable, and to consider goal priorities and time factors relevant to goal engagement and disengagement. Goal-Setting Theory would therefore benefit from being expanded to add the factors of goal priority, context, and time. Third, research on goal setting in physical activity could benefit from embracing idiographic designs and interventions. Fourth, other theoretical approaches to goal striving should be considered when discussing goal setting in physical activity promotion.