Intention Plan

An intention plan is a specific strategy of what you will do, where you will do it, and when you will do it. There is research that shows that an intention plan like this can increase the likelihood of achieving a result by 2x.

In a study on weight loss, obese women between the ages of 18-76 lost on average 4.2kg during a 2 month period when they created specific implementation intentions (eg when, where, what) regarding their dieting and exercise versus an average of 2.1kg of weight lost for the group that simply attended health, diet and stress-related group meetings.

~ PLOS ONE

Think about it. How many times have you started towards a goal only to get distracted or to lose motivation? We tend to blame motivation as the reason we don’t finish, but maybe we place too much weight on being motivated. What if the problem was our process. What if we could create a system that ensured that we would actually do the system? This is exactly what we are setting up with an intention plan.

Before we jump into some details about how to create an intention plan, first let’s look at the benefits of creating one.

  1. Clarity. Many times when we start down a path but we haven’t thought through what we are setting out to do. The act of writing out an intention plan forces us to be clear about the “what”. What specifically am I trying to accomplish. All the ambiguity in our mind gets refined as we write it out. Studies have found that the simple act of writing down your goals increases your likelihood of achievement.
  2. Foresight. When asking the detailed questions required to create an intention plan, you start to think through logical conclusions. You start to ask questions like, “If I do x then will y be the result?” or “If I do this at x time, is that realistic?” or “What could hinder my ability to actually do x at y time?”. These questions surface all sorts of hidden obstacles to the process.
  3. Visibility. Requiring you to consciously define what you will do and when make the process visible. You know immediately what isn’t working and what is. Maybe you need to change the time you will do things. Maybe the context of where you are doing it isn’t ideal. When you imagine where you’re going to perform an activity, you start to think about any tools or resources that are missing to complete the step. If you are going to sit down at you’re desk to write an article and immediately start to type, there are some resources you may need first.

Creating an Intention Plan

Now that we have seen why it is a good idea to create an intention plan, here is the process for how to create one.

  1. Define the what. What specifically are you trying to accomplish. Write out all the details you can think of to describe the end objective. I recommend writing it out as a narrative being as detailed as you possibly can in every aspect of accomplishing the end.
  2. Define the where. This is the environment where you will do your what. The reality is that there are environments that are conducive to peak performance and there are environments that aren’t.
  3. Define the when. The last step is to think through when you are going to do this. Put it on your calendar so that you aren’t tempted to schedule something else. Ideally, you are doing this activity every day and you have scheduled it for the same time every day.

If you want to increase the likelihood of reaching your goal by 2x, an intention plan is a great tool to use. Start today and define a small goal that you are wanting to accomplish and then write out the what, where and when.

View other articles in: Grow

Tools to grow your small business

This article was published to my Growth Tools For Small Business email list.

Sign up now to receive articles like this daily in your inbox.