Self Programming that moves Intentions into Actions
Today I would like to discuss how to go past setting intentions to an action plan. Your intentions are the guidelines that your action steps are measured against. Therefore, my action steps are always in support of my intentions in life.
How does one go from intentions to action steps and then from action steps to following through?
Implementation Intentions – The Tool that works for You!
If you have been following these posts, you have noticed that I have set many intentions. This is an important first step. However, I also understand the struggle from intentions to actions. Just yesterday I began reading a great article on “A Formula for Success: The Power of Implementation Intentions.”
Implementation Intentions are used to create a concrete connection to the action. Implementation Intentions were created by Peter Gollwitzer; a Professor of Psychology (Social, Cognition & Perception). Here is his summary:
Holding a strong goal intention (“I intend to reach Z!”) does not guarantee goal achievement, because people may fail to deal effectively with self regulatory problems during goal striving. Realization of goal intentions is facilitated by forming an implementation intention that spells out the when, where, and how of goal striving in advance (“If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal-directed behavior X!”).
You can read the article above but basically it works like this:
If you are at all familiar with programming, than you know about “If this – then that” statements. They are statements that say, If this occurs than do that.
An obvious example is an alarm clock. If the alarm goes off at 6 am, then get up and get ready for work. Technically this in an intention. You intend to get up at 6 am and get ready for work. Or even more simply, you intend to go to work and getting up at 6 am is your action step to fulfill that intention.
This example above is more than likely unconscious. But what happens when we set intentions such as my intention from Day 29, to be mindful and respectful of my time.
How do we take this intention and make it an Implementation Intention?
If I plan to be more mindful and respectful of my time that I need to implement an “if this, then that” statement. If someone comes to me with a rush job, then I will look at my schedule and make sure that it doesn’t push me over my scheduled time to work that day. If it does, then politely and kindly say, “I am sorry but I am unable to make this happen.”
I actually created two If-Then statements. Let’s do another one.
I intend to blog about a moment of clarity everyday for 365 days. If it’s 11 PM and I have yet to blog that day, then I need to stop what I am doing and blog. Or better yet… If it’s 11 PM, then I am blogging.
You see how these work. In the article above, the author talks about an experiment that was done with students. In the experiment, there were two groups. The group that used Implementation Intentions actually performed 71% better than the other group in following through.
Today I would like you to write out your Implementation Intentions. Use the formula of If-Then statements.
“If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal-directed behavior X!”
I would LOVE to hear your feedback on this one as this is new to me as well. I will give you a report later on this year of how well this new idea of Implementation Intentions are working in my life.
If you feel drawn to share your story, I am always blessed to receive it. Namaste.