Washington : A new research has revealed that people give more weight to progress than setbacks when pursuing goals. The University of Colorado Boulder-led study claims that people tend to believe good behaviors are more beneficial in reaching goals than bad behaviors are in obstructing goals, for instance, a dieter might think refraining from eating ice cream helps his weight-management goal more than eating ice cream hurts it, overestimating movement toward versus away from his target. Lead author Margaret C. Campbell said that basically what their research shows is that people tend to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative when considering how they’re doing in terms of goal pursuit On the up side, the finding, called the “progress bias,” can be a motivator for some, like, whether they’re trying to lose weight, eat healthier foods, save money or win a game and on the down side, the bias could lead people to engage in too many goal-inconsistent and not enough goal-consistent behaviors because the goal pursuers feel they are making progress when they actually aren’t, said the researchers.

The researchers found that even when the goal-consistent and goal-inconsistent behaviors are the same size, like saving 90 dollars or spending 90 dollars, the bias tends to be present. The researchers also found that the bias can apply on behalf of others, when one thinks about another who is pursuing a goal and the other’s behavior toward or away from the set objectives. A lack of confidence in a goal, because of past failure or possible difficulty achieving an over-zealous goal, can lessen the bias, found the researchers. Researcher Caleb Warren said that consumers buy products and services in pursuit of goals to get an education, make friends, woo lovers, care for their families, win money, lose weight, save for retirement, impress others and so on. Warren added that many goals require consumers to control themselves to repeatedly engage in behaviors that move them closer to, and avoid behaviors that move them further, from their goals. The study is published online in the Journal of Consumer Research.