Today, I am wondering why it takes some people a long time to take action to engage in new activities in self-expression. I’ve seen it with mid-career changers. I’ve seen it in friends who struggle with giving up things they clearly no longer need. (As they say, if it doesn’t give you joy, throw it out)! Maybe it’s the change in seasons, but this has been on my mind lately. Strikingly, within the latest professional psychological research, I discovered a concept that I’d like to share with you.

Goal-directed allostasis (GDA) is the mental process behind one’s deliberate actions to keep things as they are.

By contrast with goal-directed progress (GDP), GDA relates to maintaining stability rather than pursuing change.

For example, someone does not need to be served with divorce papers in order to prepare a romantic dinner for their partner; instead, GDA will prompt the action of preparing a romantic dinner, a goal-directed behavior that anticipates the consequences of neglecting the relationship.

GDA thus relies on the ability to imagine future states (prospection) and the ability to remember to perform future actions (prospective memory). During GDA, one might encounter several motivational challenges related to maintaining stability.

What’s the punch line? Okay, here’s your take away. Imagine future states and remember to take actions that will lead to a desired outcome. You’re at an Expressive Age (presumably) and there is much to imagine and perform. Onward!


Research source: “Goal-Directed Allostasis: The Unique Challenge of Keeping Things as They Are and Strategies to Overcome It,” Vol. 13 (5), September 2018 by Yael Ecker and Michael Gilead