So here’s a tip that could help you stick to any current good habits you may have or maybe even start a new one…..
With Christmas around the corner, which I have to admit, I still can’t quite believe it’s nearly here again. I really enjoy Christmas, but sometimes I’m astounded by how ‘quickly’ it arrives each year. Anyway, I won’t dwell on that, back to the point. With Christmas around the corner, things can get a bit hectic with all the present buying and preparations we choose to do. Especially as Christmas Day gets closer and closer, buying the last minute perishables and making sure you have everything you may need. Our everyday routines and good habits can get pushed to the side, maybe replaced by a last minute shopping trip or you may look outside the window and decide staying in a warm, dry house is a much better option than facing the cold (and usually rain) outside.
So here’s a tip….
State When, Where and How…
Psychology research has shown you are more than 2x to 3x times more likely to stick with a habit if you make a plan specifying when, where and how you will perform the behaviour you intend to do.
In one study, scientists asked participants to fill out the following sentence: “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on (DAY) at (TIME OF DAY) at/in (PLACE)”. They found, those who filled out this sentence were 2x to 3x more likely to actually exercise compared with a control group who did not fill out the sentence and make plans for their future behaviour.
This study is one of hundreds of well documented studies showing how stating where, when and how you intend to implement a particular behaviour, makes you more likely to carry out that behaviour. Psychologists even have a name for these specific plans, they call them “implementation intentions” and the findings are well proven across a broad range of areas.
Implementation Intentions have found to increase the likelihood that people will implement a wide range of behaviours such as start exercising, stick with studying, being recycling and even stop smoking.
So, with Christmas around the corner and the ‘to do’ list getting longer, what behaviour would you like to implement, in other words, what good habits would you like to do? If you find at this time of the year, the gym or your exercise time goes out the window, why not state when, where and how you intend to do your exercise. If you know you have last minute shopping to get done, state when, where and how you will do it.
Here’s a thought…
Implementation Intentions normally apply to creating good habits and sticking with them over a period of time. But I think you can also use this idea to help you get those odd jobs done that maybe get put off and off, or to help organise your time more efficiently leading up to Christmas….even help you cook the Christmas meal!!
In a way it’s just comes down to planning, but it uses the same principle, so rather than just having a rough idea of when you intend to get that last minute bit of shopping done, or prepare any food for Christmas Day before hand, specify where, when and how you intend to do it. I’ve noticed, if I specify when and where and how I’m going to get work done, or even a simple task like descaling the kettle (which lets face it living in East Anglia is a regular thing), I find the job gets done more often than not compared to if I just leave the task ‘open’, knowing it needs to be done at one point.
Plus, if you find you worry a lot leading up to Christmas, organising the jobs you know need to be done into where, when and how you intend to achieve those things, helps ease the worry because I imagine they will mostly fall into the solvable worry category and taking action, eases worrying.