Connecting to our future, healthier selves: Associations between self-continuity measures and eating behaviors in daily life

Richard B. Lopez (Lead / Corresponding author), Brittany M. Tausen, Gabriel Traub, Effie Marathia, Blair Saunders

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In the pursuit of healthy eating, as with many other health goals, most benefits for one’s health are not realized immediately, but instead occur after a person engages in consistent patterns of healthy eating across many weeks, months, and years. Thus, being able to represent temporally distant benefits when making seemingly trivial daily eating decisions (e.g., choosing fruit salad rather than ice cream for dessert) should be a key determinant of healthy eating. Here, we tested a priori, preregistered hypotheses in a large online sample of adults (N=360) by examining the role of self-continuity in people’s daily eating behaviors, as well as the relationship between self-continuity and motivational factors behind people’s decisions to eat healthy. We also examined the moderating influence of self-continuity on training in self-regulatory strategies intended to promote healthy eating. Overall, we garnered support for our hypotheses, as there were links between self-continuity measures, autonomous motivation levels, and daily eating of healthy and unhealthy foods, with participants’ ability to consider future consequences associated with unhealthy eating measures, and participants’ connectedness to their future selves associated with healthy eating measures. Taken together, the present findings suggest that continuity with one’s future self is an important factor underlying daily eating decisions and successful goal pursuit in the eating domain.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100128
JournalCurrent Research in Behavioral Sciences
Early online date26 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jul 2023


  • Eating behaviors
  • Goal pursuit
  • Self-continuity
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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