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.

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