Implementation Intention separates strategies from pipe dreams
Is there something you "should" do, that is obvious you'd be better off if you did it? But you put off doing it. Whether that's kicking-off the weight loss program or starting to live within your means, it seems that we can have a tough time with taking the first steps forward on the path we know we want to be on.
This is where "Implementation Intention", a term from psychology, comes into play. It sounds fancy, but all it means is "make sure you have a plan" and make sure you include a few "what ifs" in that plan so that if the rest of the world doesn't cooperate, you still have a fighting chance to stay on track. For each obstacle that's likely between you and reaching your goal, you work out ahead of time a way to get past that obstacle even before it shows up.
Let's take a look at how this is going to play out in the real world:
By the way, if some of this seems new and unfamiliar for you, do come back to FiClub's blog and we'll be sure to cover all of it - we want you to be part of the inner circle of people who get the tools they need to win at life.
Let's say I have the goal of bettering my career and I dream of being able to get a better job if I lose the one I have now (which is what we call "career resilience" - or the ability to bounce back from getting socked in the face by a pink slip). I know there are things I should be doing to make that happen, but I don't do them. Why? Because there's always something better to do here and now than focusing on that "someday goal". Here's how designing Implementation Intention looks:
"Lack of time”: I have a full-time job that pays the bills but I am not moving forward professionally and I don’t know if the job is going to last forever. I know I should be doing more to work on my career resilience (more interviews, networking, consider doing a side gig) but I just don’t have time. That’s my excuse. As we know the mind is a very creative “excuse generating machine” and we’re also very efficient at stopping ourselves from planning out how we are going to do what we need to do as soon as we find the first reason or excuse why we can’t do it.
I can upgrade my behavior with better planning and time management so that I schedule activities for myself at times where I most likely would slack-off, in my default habits. Do you veg in front of the TV coming home from work? Put some activities in your calendar on those time slots. Now, put that calendar in a place where you are likely to see it right as you are about to engage in the habit you want to eliminate. That remote control goes in the end table drawer and your calendar stays open on top of the end table, becoming a trigger that reminds you to stay on your career development plans.
That's it - we gave you an example of what building an implementation intention to supercharge your goal looks like. In future posts, we'll go deeper into what motivation is, how you can better understand triggers and how to keep stacking the deck to win the inner game. Feel free to contact us with any questions or if you'd like to attend or even organize a FiClub bootcamp near you.