We know that if in the morning we register for a class before heading to work, we have a far greater chance of attending than if we waited later in the day, or worse yet, figured it out once work was finished. That’s step one towards being prepared in your day and while that greatly increases your likelihood of success, it is not foolproof. Why? Because it ignores the possibility of variance. Your boss making you stay late. Realizing you forget your gym clothes, etc.
Only those who plan ahead and plan for variance achieve what the Heath brothers refer to as preloading with “implementation intentions”, wherein we account for what we do if we are exhausted by day’s end and now don’t feel like training. We plan for friends who text to go to happy hour, and what we do when we find out the fridge is barren of healthy food. This preloading lets us not be sidetracked when things don’t go our way or a distraction pops up.
There is no textbook way to successfully do this, it requires a little trial and error for each person but inkeeping with this example it could be that the first 90 minutes after work are yours. Rather than tell yourself, “I am going to the gym at 5 pm, instead tell yourself, I will do something that betters my fitness from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.” Your personal improvement time. It would provide enough time to stay late, run home and change, or meet up with your friends afterwards.
The Power of Moments reveals that in a clinical setting, this kind of intrinsic preloading doubled on time assignments with in students, doubled the amount of women who performed breast self-exams, and reduced recovery time by patients who had hip or knee replacement by half.
Said another way, planning is scientifically effective. Avoid the mental taxation of unexpected variance by planning. Not just, “I am going to the gym after work”, but a list of responses that you have in place for yourself for any type of disruption to your plan.
It’s like having an analog compass and knowing how to use it when your navigation system goes out.
A: 14 DB Goblet Side Lunges
B: 14 SA DB Floor Press
C: 14 DB Floor Wipers
KB Sumo Deadlifts
SA Renegade Rows