Achieve Goals with If-Then Plans

Goals like lose weight and exercise more are too vague. Increase your chances of achieving goals by pairing specific conditions with specific actions. If it’s 3:00 I will walk up and down three flights of stairs — exactly what to do, and when and where to do it.  In this video, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson discuss pairing specific conditions with actions to set goals.

After viewing the video, answer a “Questions to Ask” and select an “Ideas for Action” to incorporate into your routine this week.

Ideas for Action

  • Think about a goal you set last year that you failed to achieve. What were the reasons it tanked? Recognize the commitment you made and follow through on your areas of execution (or lack thereof). Determine what you could have done differently to achieve this goal.
  • Start with a small goal, such as writing a “thank you” note. Envision where you will be when you write it and when you will do it. If necessary, schedule time in your calendar or set the alarm on your phone as a reminder.
  • Set a moderate to large personal or professional goal. Write down as many specifics related to that goal as you can possibly think of. Then set a timeline. If possible, work with a life coach or family (for a persona goal) or a mentor (for a professional) goal to further define the specifics and to hold you accountable.
  • Integrate if-then planning into your daily schedule. First thing in each morning, check your schedule. Spend a few moments considering each task as an if-then scenario.

Questions to Ask

  • If most goals go unachieved because of missed opportunities, how can you protect the time that you need to work on your goal?
  • How do you feel when a promise or a task that you meant to fulfill or complete gets away from you?
  • Why is it important to achieve even small goals on a regular basis?
  • How often do you struggle with reaching your goals?