You have great intentions to hit the gym and really want to get fit. Yet even though you’ve set a goal to exercise you struggle to commit to it. Sound like you? The good news is there is a way to get past this step! It’s called the implementation technique, something I’ve been using for a while without knowing it’s technical term until I read about it here.
Traditional goal setting focuses on the SMART approach, meaning setting a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. While this is a effective method of goal setting, using the implementation technique helps us stick to them.
Let’s take a SMART goal of “I want to go to the gym 3 days a week after work for one hour to improve my fitness test score” This is a great goal, it states exactly what you want to do and why you want to do it.
The implementation technique takes this a step further to help you actually reach your goal, which is useful if you’re struggling to commit. An implementation technique links a specific cue or situation to a specific action. For example, for the goal above an implementation technique would be “At 5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday I am going to get changed into my gym clothes and go straight to the gym”. So here the cue is 5pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the response is gym clothes and gym.
Anna Luerssen, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of California Berkeley, states in her blog post that this type of implemention technique differs from goal setting, as even though a goal gives you an idea of what you want to achieve, it gives you little help in exactly how to achieve it.
Using this technique will improve your chances of reaching your goal. In fact, studies show that they are three times more likely to work than just setting a general goal such as “I want to get fit”.
Whatever you want to achieve, put in place an implementation technique to increase the chances of your success.
To read more, see Psych Your Mind