365 Moments of Clarity 2014 Collection

365 Moments of Clarity – Day 32 2014

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 29to 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.

MORE RESOURCES:
Closing The Intention Action Gap
The Main Reason You’ll Never Accompish Your Goal
Examples of Implementation Intentions


Daily Exercise

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.

9 replies
  1. Paula
    Paula says:

    Hey there, I wish I’d read this post when I was working in my corporate job 3 years ago I would have needed this! Nowadays I work for myself so I don’t need it so much – I remember being scared to say no etc and was afraid of being a let down. Now I am alot more savvy thank goodness! Thank you though 🙂

  2. Kendra
    Kendra says:

    Connie, this is one of the best that I have read on this. Instead of a lot unnecessary words and a lot of telling me how to get these intentions accomplished you have given me one statement that does it all. In fact I just pinned this statement: “If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal-directed behavior X!” to my bulletin board right in front of me. Thank you for making this so much more understandable and, well easy to comprehend.
    Kendra recently posted…Celebrate Singles Awareness Day

  3. Kristy Moore
    Kristy Moore says:

    Sticking to (and taking inspired action) anything for 365 days is very, very impressive. Except morning coffee – so many of us have that daily ritual sorted. But, then there is the really, really important things – the things that require change and the things that challenge us. Like you and your daily blog posts (32 is a fantastic start!), and me and the book I’m writing.

    Thank you for the reminder to keep taking action and thanks for the ‘if then…’ concept. It is far more effective that the alternative: ‘what if…’
    Kristy Moore recently posted…Bad Things Happen to Good People – how you can handle it

  4. Mary Beth Leisen
    Mary Beth Leisen says:

    Connie, I love the simplicity of the If-Then statements! I’ve seen strategies where people have a list of things they’ll do, but using If-Then statements helps you pair the situation / roadblock with the right solutions for that roadblock. I think this would be so helpful in getting myself to think both about the problems and the solutions.

    Awesome – thank you!!!!
    Mary Beth Leisen recently posted…Mom Saw Need for Mindful Emailing Way Back in 1979

  5. KateLindsay
    KateLindsay says:

    Good one!! I have done lots of goal setting and fully understand the two parts of intentional direction and behaviour goal but I have always sort of take the If/Then statements as a given. I have never really thought of them on their own. But they are really very important. Sometimes our paths are less than straight and a side step needs to happen but an intention I have always relied on to direct me still towards my focused goal. OK, I intend to build a busy enough home cleaning business as my bridge job so that I can focus on my coaching on my own schedule. If I am going to do that Then I must advertise efficiently. If one of my flyer spots is suddenly without advertising, Then I will put up one of the ones I keep on-hand in my car. How am I doing so far??
    KateLindsay recently posted…For Ultimate Bliss Seekers, Some Rules Just Have To Be Broken

    • Connie Benedict
      Connie Benedict says:

      LOL! Great Job! I am so happy to see this idea implemented in your comment. I love how you stated the intention and then the implementation intention. It’s perfect. Thank you for sharing.

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