The ONE Big Secret to Goal-Achievement!

The ONE Big Secret to Goal-Achievement!

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Picture this: It’s Monday 7pm, you get home after work and the last thing you want to do is to eat a healthy meal with a salad, etc. “Screw it, let’s get takeout and I’ll just start again tomorrow!” the voice in your head says.

Does that sound like a familiar pattern to you?

A recent survey of my coaching clients confirmed the following:

  • 90 % of my time-poor clients end up eating junk food and regular takeout meals because they’re not organised to eat healthily.
  • 75% of my clients struggle with inconsistent eating habits
  • 70% also battle stress eating or comfort eating

You might have the right intentions when it comes to achieving your goals but you may fail to act on them, leaving you feeling disappointed and feeling like you failed yet again.

So how do you ensure that your goal intentions reliably lead to your desired goal-directed behaviours, and subsequent attainment of those goals?

Let’s start with the goal-directed behaviours

Achieving your goals requires that certain goal-directed behaviours be established, but many women find themselves unsuccessful in either initiating or maintaining these behaviours. 

Goals define us and have an impact on our behaviour. For example, I cook every day because I have the goal to eat healthy every day of the week and this goal shapes my behaviour to the extent that I happily cook daily. 

But simply setting a goal (e.g. “I will eat healthy every day of the week”) doesn’t automatically ensure the corresponding action of preparing healthy meals and research tells us that there is a gap between peoples “good intentions” and their subsequent behaviour.

Today I want to show you how you can use the “implementation intention process” to promote the realisation of your desired outcomes ,not only by facilitating getting started with your goal striving, but also by preventing goal striving from straying off your course. 

The concept of implementation intentions was introduced in 1999 by psychologistPeter Gollwitzer.(1) Studies conducted by Gollwitzer in 1997 and earlier show that the use of implementation intentions can result in a higher probability of successful goal attainment, by predetermining a specific and desired goal-directed behaviour in response to a particular future event or cue.

Here is an examples of HOW it works (2) 

In a 2-month study investigating the effect of implementation intentions on weight loss,obese women between the ages of 18-76 were either instructed to create specific implementation intentions regarding their dieting and exercise (e.g. when, where, and what I will eat during the upcoming week; Where, when, how will I exercise during the upcoming week), or simply attend health, diet and stress-related group meetings. The women that were asked to create specific implementation intentions lost on average 4.2 kg, compared to those who only attended weekly group meetings, who on average lost only 2.1 kg over the 2-month period.”

Implementation intention process

An implementation intention is a self-regulatory strategy in the form of an “if-then plan” that can lead to more successful goal attainment, as well as help in habit and behaviour modification. 

It is subordinate to goal intentions as it specifies the following portions of goal-directed behaviour: 




This if-then plan is a very specific approach as compared to goal intentions.

Forming “if-then” plan increases YOUR likelihood of following through and ultimately achieve your goals.

A goal intention may be phrased in the following way: “I want to reach X!”

Implementation intentions on the other hand are much more specific and seek to connect a future critical situation (an opportunity for goal attainment) with a specific goal-directed behaviour, thereby leading to what could be called automatization in goal attainment. 

  • The basic structure of an implementation intention is as follows: IF {situation} – THEN I will {behaviour} 
  • They are often phrased in the following way: “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y!”

Action Planning-HOW

Planning has been widely researched to be the best tool to help you to build a bridge between intentions and action, whatever problem that bridge needs to cross.

Creating a concrete plan should involve a specific situation, this situation then becomes mentally represented and activated, leading to better 

  • Perception
  • Attention and
  • Memory concerning the critical situation.

The importance of commitment

The strength of commitment related to both the plan set and the goal is very important for the implementation intention to have an effect on your behaviour.

Without commitment, an implementation intention will hardly have any effect on goal-directed behaviour. 

“If-Then Planning Technique” 

  • This “if-then plan” is a very specific approach as compared to goal intentions.

  • It involves identifying an opportunity in which to act (in the if-part of the plan)

  • Deciding in advance how to respond to that opportunity (in the then-part of the plan)

  • And then linking the opportunity and response together. 

There has been a lot of evidence supporting that having a plan increases your likelihood of following through.

Having an effective plan prompts you to consider when, where, and how you can act on your intentions and increase your follow-through for several reasons: 

  • It helps you to consider logistic obstacles and develop specific tactics to navigate around them.
  • The process helps you to reduce the likelihood that you will underestimate the time required by a task.
  • Plan creation will help you to remember to act.
  • Lastly, having an action plan will become your commitment to act.

If you want to change your behaviour I would encourage to work through the steps above and I would love to know if you found this information beneficial.

One key to achieving goals is creating habits and routines that make success inevitable. If you are taking the right steps, the results will follow. 

Today is the day to start changing it. Today is the day to start making it happen.

If you are serious about creating habits and routines that make achieving your goals a success, lets chat about your next steps. Book a free 15-min mini-coaching session with me and I’ll show you how to transform your life.

It’s free. And it might change your life.

Irena Geller

Emotional Eating Coach 

BSc (Biomed), Cert IV (PT), Wellness Coach (Level 3))

I coach 35+ women to put down their fork and pick up their life.  If you want to end your struggles with excess weight, stress and self-belief, using your strengths and capabilities,book a free 15-minute mini-coaching session with me and I’ll show you how to transform your life.


  1. Gollwitzer, P. M. (1999). Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans. American Psychologist, 54, 493-503.
  2. Implementation_intention 
  3. ^Locke, E. A., Latham, G. P., (1990). A theory of goal setting & task performance. In: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US: Prentice-Hall, Inc. (1990). xviii, 413 pp.






about irena

Irena Geller

Irena Geller is a Sydney-based health & wellness coach specialising in the 🍓food and 😃 mood connection. She loves helping professional women to find the motivation and energy to eat healthily and exercise regularly and be consistent with these habits.

Have you tried every diet you can think of and lost confidence in yourself that you can be successful?

If you’re ready to finally lose weight and feel more confident. Book a good-fit coaching session with me to see if we can work together.

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