If you have been following WPT on our social media (linked below), then you know that we have been working through the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book has been helpful for us because it is helping us establish a framework for fostering existing habits and creating new habits in a healthy, impactful way.
We want to continue to demonstrate our commitment to our patients by having resources that can help you establish and work on your own goals. Resources like these will help institute the positive behavior changes that are necessary for improving your health and well-being.
In this book there are four outlines. These outlines are:
1. It needs to be obvious.
2. It needs to be easy.
3. It needs to be attractive.
4. It needs to be satisfying.
Today we are going to talk about making it easy. The best way to do this is by using something called “implementation intention”. To break it down, an implementation intention is an “if-then plan” with the ultimate objective of leading to better goal attainment. The way it does this is with habit and behavior modification. This tool is used to portion out when, where, and how this goal-directed behavior is going to happen.
The research for this topic speaks for itself. In 2001, researchers in Great Britain conducted a study with 248 people in an effort to build better exercise habits over a 14 day period. These test subjects were divided into three different groups. Group one was the control group, their task was to track their current exercise habits with no exterior motivation. The second group was called the “motivation group”. This group was not only asked to track their habits, but also read content that focused on the benefits of exercise as it relates to coronary heart disease. The third group had the same specifications as the second group, with one added element. The third group was asked to make an exercise plan for the next two weeks. They followed a specific template, “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].”
The results were as follows. 38% of participants in group one exercised at least one time a week, 35% of participants in group two exercised at least one time a week, and 91% of participants in group three exercised at least one time a week. So what does this mean? Simply put, by writing down their intentions, group three had a framework for what their plan was and how they were going to do it. Because they manifested this goal, it was easier for them to make it happen.
By completing implementation intention, you can start to make changes in your life that can help you with your goal. Understanding whether something is serving you well is the first step. In order to help assist you in identifying your habits, we have free worksheets that you can download here.
Stay tuned for more habits content!