Updated: May 24
Implementation intention -
Today we are going to talk about using an Implementation Intention. It's one of the most powerful tools for establishing and sticking to a new habit.
I was on the fence if I should share this amazing tool here since it's one of the core concepts in my online coaching program, but I get a kick out of helping people get healthy and stay healthy, so I am sharing it here and now with you!
This is so valuable, it's what people pay thousands of dollars to be taught and to be held accountable to, and so I want you to treat it as such! There is a perception that free things have no value, so while yea, this is free, it's incredibly valuable!
Ok, so now you know how valuable this is, what is Implementation Intention?
The best way to explain it is to tell you about a research study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology (link below) that was done on a group of people who wanted to start exercising regularly.
So the researchers brought in three groups. The first group was told to exercise over the next three weeks and record their workouts and progress. That was the control group.
The second group was asked to do the same thing but the researchers showed them videos and lectures about the importance of exercising and all the great benefits that exercise has on your mind, body, and spirit. That was the motivation group.
The third group was told to track all their exercises, showed them the same motivational videos and info but the researchers added one thing. They had each person in the group write out a single sentence. “I will exercise for 20 minutes on this day at this time and at this place”
That simple sentence is the implementation intention.
After the three weeks were up, the study groups returned and shared their progress over the last three weeks.
In the first group, one in three people did their workouts over the three weeks, roughly thirty percent.
In the second group, the motivation group, the results were about the same. They had a good reason to do their exercises, but only one in three people did their workouts. So basically as soon as they left the room, they lost their motivation and didn't stick to their desired new exercising habit.
In the third group, the group that wrote down where and when they will exercise, ninety percent of them stuck to their exercises. That's triple the results of the other two groups!
So what do we learn from this study? That by writing down when and where you will do your desired habit you are double or triple more likely to follow through.
Now the big idea here is that you are committing ahead of time to do your desired action. So many times people get hit with a lack of motivation or wonder when they will have time to do their workouts and rely on motivation.
Motivation is fleeting and unreliable.
If you want to create that new healthy habit, you need to create your Implementation Intention and commit to doing it. Because you can't always count on motivation. It will be there sometimes, but the rest of the time, you just have to show up and get to work.
After a while, the habit will establish itself and you won’t even think twice about it. You will have an exercise habit.
You won't have to wonder “hmmm… When will I make it to the gym? I don’t really feel like working out…” because you will have it written out when and where you will do your workout.
So, now how do we put this into action right now?
I want you to stop what you're doing, get a piece of paper and write this out “I will (HABIT) on (DAY) at (TIME) in (PLACE)”
Write it down and stick it somewhere you look regularly. Put it in your calendar as a set date and treat it as a date you cannot break.
In the work my wife and I do in our health coaching business we cover this in-depth and add other tools to help establish new habits so that it feels easy, natural, and in line with your core values. But this is a great place to start!
I hope this helps! Send a message when you have your resounding success and keep being the awesome amazing you!