In a general sense, the notion of self-regulation refers to the governing and directing of attention, resources, or actions towards one's adopted goals. This is consistent with the everyday conception of goal-directed action, in which a person is thought to evaluate available pursuits, select the most desirable option, and engage in behaviors designed to attain the goal. For example, a person may consider various potential life paths following graduation from high school and ultimately decide that she would like to earn a bachelors degree, which would then lead to behaviors such as attending (often boring) lectures and reading (often dry) textbooks. Such understanding of self-regulation makes two functions apparent. First, the person assesses the value of potential goals and the various means that serve each goal. Second, the individual locomotes, or moves away from, the current state towards a desired goal state. As such, assessment and locomotion as a body form part and parcel of all self-regulatory activity.
Kruglanski, Arie, Edward Orehek, E. Tory Higgins, Antonio Pierro, and Idit Shalev. "Modes of self-regulation: Assessment and locomotion as independent determinants in goal-pursuit." In Handbook of Personality and Self-Regulation, 374-402. Ed. Rick H. Hoyle . Boston: Blackwell, 2010.
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