There is a simple strategy that has been proven to help you deal effectively with distractions and help you to successfully achieve any goal you set in life, personally or professionally.

The strategy is called “if-then planning”.

If you are consistently finding that too many important tasks have gone unaccomplished and you are looking for a way to introduce better time management into your life, or if you have a habit that you would like to change, then look no further.

As we all know, changing a habit doesn’t happen overnight.  It happens over a period of time.

Here’s how to use it to make successful changes.


If – is a situation that could lead to falling off your plan

Then – is the action you planned for that specific circumstance.

“If I go to the restaurant tonight, then I will only eat salad.”

Studies have shown that if you decide in advance, when and where you will take specific actions to achieve your goals, you can double or triple your chances of success.

Don’t focus on what you won’t do.  Focus on what you will do.

Pick a goal. This is the obvious first step. A goal should be a big picture idea of what you want. It should be as specific as possible. “I want more money” is not a good goal, but “I want to  save £5,000 by the end of the year” is perfect.

Identify the single action (the “Then”) that you’ll focus on to meet your goal.

“If I want to save £5,000 by the end of the year, then I will only go on one holiday.”

Identify a specific cue for the action (the “If”). What will remind you to take your action?

So the secret to making a lasting change is to create a series of if-then statements for your habits.

Good luck!