The theory outlined in the present chapter adopts a cognitive approach to motivation. We describe a research program premised on the notion that the cognitive treatment affords conceptual and methodological advantages enabling new insights into problems of motivated action, self-regulation and self-control. We begin by placing our work in the broader historical context of social psychological theorizing about motivation and cognition. We then present our theoretical notions and trace their implications for a variety of psychological issues including activity experience, goal commitment, choice, and substitution. The gist of this chapter describes our empirical research concerning a broad range of phenomena informed by the goal-systemic analysis.