reach your goals.”
an identity based on what
is truly meaningful.”
really, really wanna do something
People who are self-determined identify and work toward goals based on a foundation of knowing and valuing themselves. The degree to which we are self-determined is influenced both by our personal characteristics, i.e., our knowledge, skills and beliefs, and by the supports and barriers in our environments. We live with heightened self-determination when we have a good sense about what we want and take action to achieve it. Given the constancy of change, both in our environments and ourselves, self-determination is a process, not an outcome. Internal motivation is maximized when we approach a task or activity with a self-determination mindset. When we act with increased self-determination and heightened internal motivation, we increase our likelihood for success and enjoyment in education, employment and just about every other endeavor.
Our Action Model for Self-Determination was developed with the goal of identifying what individuals can do to increase their self-determination. We recognize that environmental supports and barriers are highly important to self-determination. However, we chose to focus on factors affecting self-determination that are within a person’s control so we could develop educational programs and supports to help people increase their self-determination in a variety of settings. In addition, we believe that these characteristics will lead to increased ability to recognize and choose environments that are most conducive to self-determination. To build the model, we conducted interviews with over 200 individuals across the U.S. representing a wide variety of ages, ethnicity and occupations. The questions we asked included What is self-determination? How does a self-determined person act? What helps you be self-determined? and What gets in the way of your self-determination? We analyzed themes that emerged from the responses to construct the model. Our model development process was also influenced by what we learned from the research and writing of others about self-determination, many of whom who’ll find more information about on the pages of this website.