Implementation Intentions

Implementation Intentions

Taking Action
When To Use?
When planning feels like a bottleneck
Choosing a specific when, where, and how action towards a goal


This planning process helps form a new stimulus-response pattern. With practice, it will automatically — subconsciously — occur under the envisioned conditions.

A Well Designed Intention

  1. Cued by a concrete visual
      • Rather than “When I wake up” try “When I press the off button on my alarm”.
  1. Cue will be responded to consistently
  1. Action maps to the goal
      • If you don’t see the connection between your action and your goal, you won’t care enough to execute on it.


  1. Every day after brushing your teeth in the bathroom, do 20 push-ups
  1. Whenever someone is presenting a contorted facial expression, ask them what they are feeling
  1. When someone tells you their name, repeat it back to them and do it again at the end of the conversation
  1. When you finish a block of work and want to take a break, make a short note on what you think the next steps are
  1. Every morning right after turning your alarm off, sit up and smile
  1. While taking out your phone and unlocking it, close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths while paying attention to how your body feels