Craft an “Implementation Intention”.
We all have good intention and plans. But we often fail to execute on these “New Year resolutions” because we don’t have clearly defined what, how, when and why we are going to do things.
We kind of know what we want to do like exercising more, spending less time on social media and more time building our business.
These are vague goals, but no clear habits. We don’t really know how we are going to achieve it and what exactly we are going to do.
We need to clearly define our habits and create a game plan.
Instead of wanting to meditate more, you say:
“Every morning at 7 am after I’ve used the bathroom, I sit down on my pillow to meditate for 10 minutes.”
Now, how does that sound?
This is what James Clear in his book “Atomic Habits” calls an “Implementation Intention”.
Studies have shown that if you create such a statement, you are much more likely to actually follow through.
The basic formula looks like this:
“I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION] (or also [DURATION])”
To make it even easier, you can use what is called habit stacking.
This is where you use existing habits as an “anchor”, as some kind of foundation, and build new habits on top.
“Anchor habits“ are already well established in your routine, like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting a cup of coffee or sitting down at your desk after lunch.
Since you do them anyway, they serve as good cues for your new habits.
So the plan would look like this:
“After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION] (or also [DURATION])”
Every evening at 10 pm after I put on my clothes for bed I will sit down on my bed and write in my journal for 5 minutes.
What about more general habits like switching your diet to a certain type?
It’s the same idea. Keep the following questions in mind:
What exactly will you do? How often? For how many days? How strictly? Why? What benefit will you get out of it? What’s the goal above the goal? How? How will you achieve this?
"I will eat Vegetarian for every meal of every day, meaning vegetables, fruits, dairy, eggs and grains, making exceptions only for family holidays. I’m doing this in order to cut out my worst eating habits and to focus more on healthy, sustainable foods that help me maintain my weight and feel energetic. I’ll do this by pre-planning food orders through (enter supermarket), by ordering lunches from (delivery service), and by ordering vegetarian burritos when I eat Mexican."
This seems like a lot of hassle.
But writing all these points down, including the reason why you want to do it when you are going to do it and with what exceptions, makes it so much more likely that you will actually stick to it.
You craft that plan only once in the beginning and commit to it.
This is the big step you have to take towards changing your habits.
Hope that helps,