I named this the If Then technique because the actual scientific name is Implementation Intentions. I felt that a technical name like that would probably scare some people off. That would not be acceptable. Especially since this is not a complicated technique.
The purpose of this technique is to prepare yourself for an upcoming situation by creating a prepared response in advance. In other words, you are achieving a short-term goal ahead of time in your mind. So smart.
By doing this, you set yourself up to respond automatically to a cue. No hesitation. Your per-programmed response takes you instantly in the right direction.
You begin by saying to yourself, “If this happens, then I will take this action.” And by doing thinking through the situation in advance, you stop your negative mind kicking in and causing problems when you are actually in the situation. You visualize the situation before it happens. By doing that, everything is set up to happen automatically.
Here is an example of using the If Then technique:
Let’s say you are on a diet and you have been invited to a party where you know there will be sweets. Great sweets. And in the past, sweets were your downfall. Their attraction was very strong. What can you do?
The night before the party, you think about different situations that can occur at the party. That includes,when you arrive at the party, during the party, when you are not talking to someone and the sweets seem to call to you, etc. You say to yourself, “If I see sweets, then I will not approach them. I will walk away from the sweets and find someone to talk to. That will take my mind off of sweets. Now say to yourself, ‘I can do this.’”
You do not say the above once. No, you say it often. Repetition matters. You also visualize yourself looking at the sweets and then walking away. The more often you do this, the easier it will be to walk away. You might even have started using this technique days before. Saying what you have prepared over and over and over again. The more often you use it, the easier it will be walk away at the party.
You get to the party and pretty quickly you see the sweets. They are sitting on a table calling to you. That is your cue. You do not approach the table, and in fact, walk away from it and find someone to talk to. This happens quickly because you have prepared yourself in advance. You also say to yourself, “I’ve got this.”
The If Then technique can be very powerful in helping you in many different situations...if you allow it to.
The first one is the “What if”
strategy where you ask yourself, days before the event as well, while
at the party, “What if I walk away from the table and have no sweets?” You
think how proud you will be of your new found ability. How your confidence in yourself grows. You
also think how much better you will look when you lose the weight while
at the same time feeling so much better.
You also use the “what if” strategy when you see the table and sweets. You ask yourself, “What if I walk away from the table and not look back.” Answer, “I will be holding true to my goal to not have sweets, I will lose weight, I will look better, and I will feel better.” And…you walk away
The other technique you could use at the party is “The 5 Second Rule.” When you see the table at the party, you say to yourself, “I am now going to walk away. 5,4,3,2,1 move now.” Again, the negative part of your brain doesn’t have time to try and convince you otherwise.
Why not using all three techniques? That would stack the odds in your favor. You win.
Finally, it is important to remember to practice any technique you decide to use by starting with easy tasks and moving up to the more difficult tasks. In this way, you build up your ability to use the technique; you learn to own it; and to build your confidence using it. Start using the If Then Strategy and prepare your future in advance.
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