Implement Your Intentions.

James Clear recommends what he calls “implementation intentions”, a specific kind of plan to meet our goals. I would like to take a look at them, how and why to predict your own failure and why it matters.

The structure of implementation intentions is: “I will [action] on [day] at [time] in/at [place]”. For example, you could write: “I will write a blog post on Monday and Friday this week at 1:00PM at my desk downstairs.” or ” I will walk for 20 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2:00PM outside my house.” It doesn’t matter how good or bad what you wrote or did is, just that you did it. Building the habit is the most important thing.

Imagine that six months from now you failed. You didn’t reach your goal. What challenges or obstacles got in your way? He calls this a “Failure Pre-Mortem”. We can see where we could fail and work around it. For example: “If I am hanging with a friend on a Friday at 1:00PM, I will write a blog post at 5:00PM instead.”

They did a study where they had three groups of participants: The first group tracked how often they worked out. The second group tracked how often they worked out and were given a motivational presentation about the benefits of exercise for their health. The third group got the same motivational presentation as the second group but also did a basic implementation intention: “During the next week, I will participate in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in/at [PLACE].” In the first group, 38% of them worked out. In the second “motivational” group, 35% of them worked out. In the third group who did a basic implementation intention, 91% of them worked out. He argues that we don’t lack motivation to reach our goals, we lack clarity. We lack a plan. He says “Give your goals a time and place to live in the world.”

Use an implementation intention to reach your goals and make a difference in the world! Take a look at how you might fail, so you can avoid getting de-railed and remember that clarity is more important than motivation. If that was valuable to you, please let me know what you liked in the comments. If you noticed something I can improve on, please let me know in the comments as well. Thank you for reading.


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