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mind over matter with Dr Ellie Milby; Time to put your good intentions into practice.

AS the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but why is it that we so often fail to put our intentions into action and what can we do to boost our chances of success? Goal intentions such as "I intend to lose weight!" are statements of our intention to reach a desired goal and imply our commitment to achieving it. However, research shows that more than half of those who form intentions do not succeed in achieving their goal, a phenomenon known as the intentionbehaviour gap.

Only less |of all 'goal are actually ere are lots of things that can get in the way of achieving our goals such as failing to get started, getting distracted, going about it in the wrong way or taking on too much in the rst place.

Research has shown that a simple strategy known as "if-then" planning can help to overcome these problems. If-then plans connect situations or opportunities to act with behaviours that help you to achieve your goals.

For example "If I want a snack, then I will eat an apple" or "If it is 6.30pm then I will go for a jog." In other words, while goal intentions specify what you want to achieve, the if-then plan species the when, where and how you will achieve it.

is may sound rather simple but making if-then plans has been shown to be eective in helping people to achieve goals as wide-ranging as losing weight, stopping smoking, improving dental hygiene and using contraceptives.

than half intentions' realised So if you're struggling to turn your good intentions into action, try creating your own if-then plans. Here are my top tips to help you along the way: Be specic - vague if-then plans are less likely to work Keep it relevant - make - make sure your if-then plans are appropriate to your goal Be positive - frame your if-then plans in terms of what you will do rather than what you won't do Write it down - this will help you memorise your if-then plan so you carry out the behaviour without having to think about it.

Dr Milby is a |counselling psychologist. Contact her @DRELLIEM

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Only less than half |of all 'goal intentions' are actually realised

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 11, 2015
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