It’s not what you do (it’s the day that you do it)
Psychologists have labelled it “implementation intention”: predetermining how and at what time you’re going to do a specific task. A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology showed that forming implementation intentions increased the likelihood of people following through on an activity (physical exercise) from 35 per cent to 91 per cent because scheduling removes the often wonky wheel of deciding what to do on the go. Yet even the best intentions have limits. American research reveals that for those who suffer from socially prescribed perfectionism (the belief that others expect them to be perfect), implementation intention actually hinders goal progress and might stir up a chain of self-criticism and hypervigilance to others’ negative judgements.