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Achieve Your Goals: The Simple Trick That Doubles Your Odds of Success

Implementation Intentions

They refer to the plan you make about when and where to act before the action occurs.

The format for creating an implementation intention is: “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”

Implementation intentions are an effective way of sticking to your goals.

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Achieve Your Goals: The Simple Trick That Doubles Your Odds of Success

Achieve Your Goals: The Simple Trick That Doubles Your Odds of Success

https://jamesclear.com/implementation-intentions

jamesclear.com

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Key Ideas

Motivation vs. Intention

We all have the motivation, willpower, or desire to achieve our goals to some degree.

What makes the difference, what turns your goals into reality is not really your level of motivation, but rather your plan for implementation.

Implementation Intentions

They refer to the plan you make about when and where to act before the action occurs.

The format for creating an implementation intention is: “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”

Implementation intentions are an effective way of sticking to your goals.

Follow Through With Your Goals

If you make a specific plan for when and where you will perform a new habit, you have bigger chances to follow through.

You don't need motivation, you need clarity. Simply follow your predetermined plan: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].

The "If-then" strategy

It gives you a clear plan for overcoming unexpected events. You plan for unexpected situations by using the phrase, “If ____, then ____.” 

For example: If my meeting runs over and I don't have time to exercise this afternoon, then I'll wake up early tomorrow and run.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Internal vs. external motivation
Internal motivation, the drive to achieve that comes from inside a person is the kind of motivation that can lead to life-changing improvements and well-being.

External ...

Self-Efficacy

It means believing in your ability to perform a task and achieve goals. There are 3 ways to build self-efficacy:

  • Ensure early success. When first starting out, choose activities you're certain you can do successfully.
  • Watch others succeed in the activity you want to try.  This is particularly effective if the person you're observing is similar to you (friends, neighbors, co-workers).
  • Find a supportive voice. Personal trainers and coaches are skilled in giving appropriate encouragement, as are good friends (usually).
Fundamentally Independent Thinking (FIT)

A fundamentally independent thinker understands that nothing makes a person upset, angry, or depressed; rather, what a person thinks about the world determines how they feel

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Goal setting
Goal setting

Is the act of selecting a target or objective you wish to achieve.

Goal setting is not only about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy, but also the costs you are willing to pay t...

The Rudders and Oars Metaphor
It helps clarify the difference between SYSTEMS and GOALS:
  • Your goals are like the rudder on a small rowboat. They set the direction and determine where you go. 
  • If you commit to one goal, then the rudder stays put and you continue moving forward. 
  • If you flip-flop between goals, then the rudder moves all around and it is easy to find yourself rowing in circles.
  • If the rudder is your goal, then the oars are your process for achieving it. While the rudder determines your direction, it is the oars that determine your progress.

Example: If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.

How to Set Goals You'll Actually Follow
  1. Ruthlessly Eliminate Your Goals. Consistently prune and trim down your goals. If you can muster the courage to prune away a few of your goals, then you create the space you need for the remaining goals to fully blossom.
  2. Stack Your Goals. Make a specific plan for when, where and how you will perform this."Networking: After I return from my lunch break, I will send one email to someone I want to meet."
  3. Set an Upper Bound. Don't focus on the minimum threshold. Instead of saying,  “I want to make at least 10 sales calls today.” rather say, “I want to make at least 10 sales calls today, but not more than 20.”

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Destination Goals

While we set our personal goals, we make the common mistake of setting a 'destination goal', focusing on the end result,  without considering the hardships and daily challenges.

W...

Life Direction

Instead of sticking to dream goals it is better to set a life Direction.

How to figure out a Life Direction? Ask yourself these fundamental questions:

  • What energizes me?
  • What do I look forward to?
  • When do I feel the happiest?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What kind of places or people inspire me to strive for more?
Action Plan

Determine and plan in advance all the critical parts of your goal, and break it down in small, actionable tasks.

The small, divided tasks keep you motivated by providing a feeling of progress on a daily basis.

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The Dynamics of a Resolution

We all have goals to achieve and behavioral changes we want to implement. Making the resolution is the easy part. The implementation and the work that is to be put in daily is the real challenge.

Why Resolutions Fail
  • Getting motivated by negative emotions like fear or regret.
  • A sudden influx of motivation followed by giving up in the first instance of a setback ("All or Nothing" approach).
  • Having a big and unattainable resolution.
  • Not being in terms with the concept of failure.
  • Not committing fully to the process.
Social Pressure

New research suggests we are less prone to keep working on our goals after we publicize them. This is because we may end up talking about our goals and celebrating our success prematurely rather than implementing them.

Social Pressure makes us fearful, as we can feel afraid of appearing inept. This negative mindset does not work well where we need daily work.

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Implementation intention

You are 2x to 3x more likely to follow through with a habit if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you are going to implement it. This is known as an implementation intention.

Focusing on one thing

People who try to accomplish multiple goals are less committed and less likely to succeed than those who focus on a single goal.

So it's important to remember that developing a specific plan for when, where, and how you will stick to a new habit will dramatically increase the odds that you will actually follow through, but only if you focus on one thing.

Automaticity

This is the ability to perform a behavior without thinking about each step, which allows the pattern to become automatic and habitual.

Because when you begin practicing a new habit it requires a lot of conscious effort to remember to do it. But after a while, your new habit becomes a normal routine and the process is more or less mindless and automatic.

Stop following routines

Routines don’t work for most people. People with young kids, pets, people who travel a lot or work remotely, find it extremely difficult to follow the same routine every day. If you keep trying, yo...

Focus on the process

It is better to focus on the process rather than the outcome. When you focus on the outcome, you slow your growth.

Commit to consistent practice. Focus on the process of getting better every single day. 

Small progress

Most people lack success because they cannot follow a routine to achieve an important goal.

Instead of fighting a losing battle, learn to move around these tasks to start making progress when you can. 

Daydreaming about goals
Daydreaming about goals

It is natural to daydream about the things we want - how wonderful it would be if you learned a new language or wrote a novel. But, merely visualising a brighter future won't m...

The "Fantasy Realisation Theory"

It is speculated that people confuse daydreams for reality. The warm emotions from the fantasies lead them to feel as if they'd already met their goals. It results in not putting in the hard work needed for success.

Positive thinking on its own could be counter-productive. Research shows that dieters who fantasized about weight loss are less likely to lose weight. Students who dream of academic success tend to get worse grades than those who don't.

Mental contrasting intervention

Mental contrasting is engaging in a positive fantasy, followed by thinking about the obstacles that might stop you from achieving that goal.

Mental contrasting is a versatile and valuable tool. It is particularly effective when it is combined with implementation intentions ("if-then" plans).

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The Akrasia Effect

Akrasia happens when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else.

It's what prevents you from following through on what you set out to do. It could be trans...

Time Inconsistency

It refers to our tendency to choose immediate rewards over future rewards. It's why we make plans, but don't take action.

When we make plans, we are actually making plans for our future selves. But when the time comes to make a decision, we are in the moment and our brain is thinking about the present self.

Delayed Gratification and Success

The ability to delay gratification is a great predictor of success in life.

If you really understand how to resist the attraction of instant gratification, you'll be able to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

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Our Intuitions can be Wrong

The underlying cause of our bad behavior, procrastination, slacking or avoiding something that is beneficial may or may not be what we think it is.

We need to identify our own self-defeating ...

What We Believe In

If we believe that we are powerless and stop fighting against the enemy we've created, then we lose our inner strength and resistance to fight, as the body reacts according to our mind.

What our mind believes, our body accepts.

Finding an Enemy

Going anti-something, finding a villain, or a fictional antagonist to our lives makes us work harder, as a force awakens in us wanting to defeat the enemy.

We need to embrace this enemy in our lives and realize that even though this is just us fighting against ourselves, the fight is worth it.

Habit Stacking

One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top - habit stacking.

Habit stacking is a spec...