This paper develops some mathematical models arising in behavioral sciences, particularly in psychology, which are formalized via general preferences with variable ordering structures. Our considerations are based on the recent variational rationality approach that unifies numerous theories in different branches of behavioral sciences by using, in particular, worthwhile change and stay dynamics and variational traps. In the mathematical framework of this approach, we derive a new variational principle, which can be viewed as an extension of the Ekeland variational principle to the case of set-valued mappings on quasi metric spaces with cone-valued ordering variable structures. Such a general setting is proved to be appropriate for broad applications to the functioning of goal systems in psychology, which are developed in the paper. In this way we give a certain answer to the following striking question in the world, where all things change (preferences, motivations, resistances, etc.), where goal systems drive a lot of entwined course pursuits between means and ends what can stay fixed for a while The obtained mathematical results and new insights open the door to developing powerful models of adaptive behavior, which strongly depart from pure static general equilibrium models of the Walrasian type that are typical in economics.