In recent years, theorists have increasingly relied on various goal constructs to account for action in achievement settings. Four levels of goal representation have been introduced: task-specific guidelines for performance, such as performing a certain action, situation-specific orientations that represent the purpose of achievement activity, such as demonstrating competence relative to others in a situation, personal goals that symbolize achievement pursuits, such as getting good grades, and self-standards and future self-images, including planning for future goals and successes. These goal-based achievement motivation theories have focused almost exclusively on approach forms behavior but in recent years have shifted more toward avoidance (Elliot & Sheldon, 1997).
Motivation is an important factor in everyday life. Our basic behaviors and feelings are affected by our inner drive to succeed over life's challenges while we set goals for ourselves. Our motivation also promotes our feelings of competence and self-worth as we achieve our goals. It provides us with means to compete with others in order to better ourselves and to seek out new information to learn and absorb. Individuals experience motivation in different ways, whether it is task- or ego-based in nature. Some people strive to achieve their goals for personal satisfaction and self-improvement while others compete with their surroundings in achievement settings to simply be classified as the best. Motivation and the resulting behavior are both affected by the many different models of achievement motivation. These models, although separate, are very similar in nature and theory. The mastery and performance achievement settings each have a considerable effect on how an individual is motivated. Each theorist has made a contribution to the existing theories in today's achievement studies. More often than not, theorists build off of each other's work to expand old ideas and create new ones. Achievement motivation is an intriguing field, and I find myself more interested after reviewing similar theories from different perspectives.