This paper reviews evidence for deficits in goal regulation in bipolar disorder. A series of authors have described mania as related to higher accomplishment, elevated achievement motivation, and ambitious goal setting. These characteristics appear to be evident outside of episodes, and to some extent, among family members of people with a history of mania. In addition, people with a history of mania demonstrate intense mood reactivity, particularly in response to success and reward. During positive moods, they appear to experience robust increases in confidence. These increases in confidence, coupled with a background of ambitious goals, are believed to promote excessive pursuit of goals. This excessive goal engagement is hypothesized to contribute to manic symptoms after an initial life success.