Why do we struggle so much in reaching our goals? Why are new habits so difficult to start? Why are bad habits so difficult to get rid of? There is a simple reason why you will never really change. I’ll share that one reason with you in just a bit.
First, let’s explore why actually accomplishing our goals are so hard. We get really excited about writing a goal down only to abandon ship within a few days. We begin to make excuses why our goal is a little unreasonable and why it is okay to choose not to do it in that moment.
Later, we grow frustrated with ourselves because of our lack of will power. Why can’t I just follow through with the commitments I have made for myself? There is a great quote by Caleb Wojcik:
Planning what you want to achieve is easier, sexier, and more fun than doing the work to actually get there.
That is the reality we face. So, how do we push past this in order to actually do the work. I want to submit an idea to you today that I want you to try for just one week. I think you will be amazed at the results you get.
The Simple Power of Implementation Intentions
This idea I am going to share with you is not an original idea. Although I first heard about this concept over a year ago, Marelisa Fabrega has a solid article on implementation intentions. I think it is the missing ingredient in our goals and habits.
What exactly is implementation intentions?
So, what does this mean and how can it help me reach my goals or change my habits? Setting goals only specifies what you intend to achieve. While that is a great start, there is still much more that is missing.
Implementation intentions specify the behavior you intend to take and the situational context for that new behavior. It answers that questions what, when , and where. For example, let’s say your goal is to write a book. Now you need to establish the what, when, where or it will never happen.
You might say, when my alarm goes off at 6:00, I will immediately get up and get in the shower. After my shower, I will sit down to write for an hour each morning. That is how you use the power of implementation intentions.
Let me offer you another way to look at this. There is a really cool site called IFTTT.com. It stands for If This, Then That. It is a software that allows you to create automatic tasks among unrelated software applications. It is a really cool technology tool.
Your Personal IFTTT
Why not create one for you personally? Find an “if this” that is already a habit in your life, and join it with a “then that” (some new habit you want to form).
If This: I see my kids off to school…
Then That: I go for a 30 minute jog around the neighborhood
If This: I want to watch the latest episode of Biggest Loser on TV
Then That: I have to walk/jog on the treadmill while watching it.
I want to encourage you to take a fresh look at all of your goals or new habits you want to form and create a personal IFTTT to turn it into a reality. After you have answered the what, when, where, try it out for a week and see if you are not more energized about going after your goals.
Question: Have you used the power of implementation intentions in your life? If so, please share…