2 strategies for implementing goals and plans

Two strategies for implementing goals and plans

Indeed you have had such an experience before. Suddenly, in the last hours of the night, before you want to go to sleep, something strikes your mind.

This flip may be due to severe discomfort or a spark in your mind. Either way, you conclude that you need to make a difference in your life. In such cases, you suddenly realize that you need to do something and even find the motivation to do it. For example, you conclude that you need to learn a new skill or exercise more than before. You may even decide not to be late for appointments and do your projects on time and on time.

But because it’s too late and you have to go to sleep, you will tell yourself that you will start this new path tomorrow. However, when you wake up the next day, you are no longer the new person you wanted to be last night.

You are back to normal and have no motivation to make the changes you made last night. You are like before; You do not exercise, do not progress in your training, and do not work on time. You go back to monotonous habits that you do not want to change and can not do what you promised.

But do not worry, you are not the only one with this problem. People always want to do things, but they do not take any steps in the end. Just look at the goals that people set for their new year.

According to Forbes magazine, in 2013, only 8% of these people achieved the goals they set for themselves. These statistics show that most people have a purpose and motivation but can not do what they promise. Do you think there is a way to do what we want to do?

Motivation is not enough!

The answer to the previous question is “yes.” However, rather than relying on short and increasing and decreasing motivation, it is better to focus on a concept that psychologists call “implementation of intentions.” In 2002, the British Journal of Health Psychology published an interesting research paper.

The researchers in this article randomly divided 248 participants into 3 different groups.

The first group was the control group. They were simply asked to record the number of times and days they were scheduled to exercise in the next two weeks.

The second group was told to record the number of times they exercised in the next two weeks, just like the first group. Still, they were also given a motivational message with leaflets about heart health and why exercise is beneficial. This group was named the Motivated Group.
The third group received the same motivational message as the second group but were asked to do another task. They were also told to write down their exercise time, place, and manner.

The results of this research were very informative and exciting.

In the first group, 38% of participants exercised at least once a week.

In the second group, 35% of people exercised. Apparently, the motivational message had no effect on their performance.

The message had been erased from their minds as soon as they left the research center.

But in the third group, the group that was asked to indicate the place, time, and manner of exercising, 91% of the participants were able to exercise at least once in two weeks.

The third group differed from the other groups because they used the “Implementation Intentions” method. This form of If-Then Planning helps us put what we intend to do into action. But how can this method help us?

The key; Time, place, and how

Usually, when we have a goal, we think about it like this:

I want to reach the goal (X). For example, I want to exercise 3 times a week.

The method of “implementing goals and plans” makes a slight change in the way we think and changes it as follows:

If the state (Y) occurs, I will do (X). For example: “If it’s 5 pm on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, then I go to the gym and work out for an hour.”

In this way, the goal does not change. The goal is still to exercise three times a week, but notice how much more practical and accurate it is, and this is the main idea of ​​the Implementation Intentions method.

It only takes a few minutes to write down the time, place, and method of doing the work to reach the goal, but this exponentially increases your chances of doing what you want to do. The reason this method is effective is to eliminate all speculation in advance. When we are not sure exactly how and when to do things, we usually choose a more accessible option for us to do. What do you typically think is the easier option? That we do nothing.

Imagine returning home from a tiring day at work but promising to exercise more. Now you have two options, go to the club or watch TV. Since you do not know precisely when you are going to the club, you tell yourself that you will do it tomorrow or another convenient day. So you choose the easier option, which is to watch TV. So you do not exercise again; In fact, you justify yourself and postpone your work in the same way.

But when you determine in advance the time, place, and manner of your work and commit to it, then you will tend to keep your promises and commitments and fulfill them. So if it is 5 pm on Monday, you will go to the club. You no longer think about whether you should exercise that day, and if it is 7 pm on Tuesday, you do not think about whether now is the right time to exercise. So you have already stated that you do not exercise on that day and time.

The results of more than 100 different studies have shown that this method is very effective for getting things done. For this reason, if you want to do something, it is better to use “implementing goals and plans.” But our plans do not always go as we anticipate, and we may not be able to do our ideal for various reasons. What do you think should be done in this case?

Solution for unwanted events

What gives you the best of luck is the combination of “implementing goals and plans” with coping plans. Coping programs work like an “alternative plan” or plan B, and there are specific strategies you can use when dealing with obstacles. However, these programs also follow roughly the same pattern as before:

If an obstacle (Y) occurs, I do the task (X) to deal with it.

Doing so will force you to think about the potential difficulties you will face. In this case, when you encounter these difficulties, you will be ready to meet them. Let’s go back to the exercise example to better understand the subject.

Suppose it is 5 pm now and the “implement goals and plans” method tells you to go to the club, but your boss asks you to work until 6 pm. How to “Implement Goals and Plans” You’ve encountered an obstacle and can not do it. But since you were smart and were anticipating over time, you had an alternative plan in place. For example, consider the following two coping programs for precisely these conditions:

If I have to work until 6 o’clock, I go to the club at 6:30; But if I have to work after 6:30, I will go to the club the next day.

Again, you do not need to think about questions like going to the club, getting bored, or going the next day. You already know the answer.

To show the power of “countermeasures,” we will examine another research article. The participants in this study were all patients with heart problems. These individuals were completing their rehabilitation course, during which they performed regular physical exercises as part of the healing process. But after completing the rehabilitation course, the researchers divided them into three groups and gave each group different instructions on how to continue the exercises.

This chart shows us how each group cycled for a few minutes per week during the rehabilitation period. Note that these numbers are pre-grouped. Therefore, during the rehabilitation period, all participants exercised almost equally.
But now look at the numbers obtained two months after the instructions were given to them.

The first group was the control group and only recorded their exercises after completing the rehabilitation course.
In addition to recording their exercises, the second group also used the method of “implementing goals and plans.”
The third group used “implementing goals and plans,” but they were also told to consider the obstacles interfering with their training process. For this reason, they had to come up with a solution to deal with these problems successfully. In essence, they used the method of aggressive programs.

The results of this study clearly show us that motivation alone is not enough to get the job done. Remember that all the participants were motivated and had a compelling reason to exercise. In addition, they all wanted to be healthier because of their problems. But in the end, it was the methods of “implementing the goals and plans” and the “countering plans” that kept them committed to their work. Motivation certainly makes things easier, but we probably won’t do much if we wait for inspiration whenever we want to do something.

Related post: How to make our minds interested in challenging work

A formula for dull days

There will be days when you are either tired, your back hurts, or you do not have the patience to do anything at all. Unfortunately, the experience of these days is standard in all of our lives, and if you can not cope with them, you should not blame yourself.

However, when you do not do what you promised yourself, you will feel guilty, and it will ruin the rest of your day, like your free time.
Suppose you have to study for an exam, but you do not have the patience to do so and instead sit and watch the series. What happens, in the end, is that you will not enjoy watching this series as much as you should. At this point, your conscience comes to you and blames you for what you should have done but did not do.

So to avoid blaming yourself, ‌ do what you promised yourself ‌ on a small scale. For example, your coping plan might look like this:

If I do not have the patience to study, I will only read and learn one page.

Or

If I’m too tired and unable to study, I only read from notes and notes.

It may seem pointless to start something you do not intend to finish and complete, but there are two good reasons why this method works.

The first reason is that we overcome the initial obstacle of “getting started.” Starting a business is more challenging than continuing. For example, suppose you need to practice your piano class next week, but you do not have patience. Instead of practicing a whole lesson, first, practice only the parts you know, and you will see that this miniature work of yours will become a complete exercise. Then, you will find it easier to continue practicing because you are sitting behind the piano and playing it.

Reason 2: Even if you just review your tips or practice for 5 minutes, you still do more work than any other mode. Doing something small is better than not doing it, and most importantly, you have successfully done the coping program. So even if you decide to watch the series after doing a little work, you will not feel guilty.

We would all do what we tell ourselves to do in the ideal world, but unfortunately, this is not the case in the real world. We hope we have been able to tell you ways to make your work easier. Life, in any case, will put obstacles in your way.

But do you want to wait for motivation before dealing with them?

Or do you want to have the method of “implementing the goals and plans” along with the “counterplan”?

Do not be like many people who give up because of obstacles in their path. Instead, be one of those people who do what they want to do smartly.

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