For Habits To Stick – Planning For The Worst Could Be The Best Idea!

Ever found yourself creating plans and setting goals with the best-case scenario in mind, only to stumble when reality hits? In the world of habit change, this common pitfall is known as the planning fallacy. We tend to underestimate how long something will take, how we feel day to day and the impact of external factors, often picturing a smoother path than what lies ahead. Let’s explore a surprising key to consistency — planning for the worst.

The Planning Fallacy Uncovered!

The planning fallacy, a cognitive bias first described by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, reveals our tendency to be overly optimistic about our abilities and the time required for future tasks. This optimistic outlook often leads to unexpected challenges and delays in achieving our goals.

Now, let’s try something different — what if, instead of focusing solely on the best-case scenario, we embraced planning for the worst? Surprisingly, it might just be the secret to building consistent habits.

For Habits To Stick - Planning For The Worst Could Be The Best Idea! 1

The Worst-Day Strategy For Your Habits

Imagine the day when everything that could go wrong does — the hectic schedule, unexpected challenges, and the temptation to ditch your newly formed habits. What if you designed your plans based on navigating through some of the madness?

Embracing small changes is the key. Planning for the worst doesn’t mean setting unattainable goals or doubting yourself. Instead, it’s about making practical adjustments to your routine. For example, if you’re aiming to exercise daily, plan for a quick 10-minute workout on your worst day. If you’re trying to read more, set a goal of just one page on those hectic days. By aligning your goals with your worst-case scenario, you’re more likely to stay consistent, even when life throws its curveballs.

Actionable Tips to Plan for Consistency

Daily Worst-Case Scenario Checklist:

Create a checklist of tasks you can manage even on your most hectic days. What is your ‘Bare minimum’ strategy? It might be a quick workout, a short mindfulness session, or reading a single page. Having a personalised checklist ensures you always have achievable goals.

Flexibility in Time Blocking:

When scheduling your day, incorporate blocks of time explicitly designated for the unexpected. This way, when life throws a little something unexpected, you’ve already allotted time to deal with it without sacrificing your habits.

Set Realistic Milestones:

Break down your larger goals into smaller, more achievable milestones. Instead of aiming for an hour-long workout every day, start with 10 minutes on your worst days. Achieving these smaller milestones consistently builds the foundation for larger successes.

Reflect and Adjust:

Be flexible and adaptable with your approach. Regularly assess your plans and adjust them based on your actual experiences. If your worst-case scenarios are becoming frequent, reassess your goals and make necessary adjustments.

IF-THEN Planning:

Have a backup plan that considers the worst-case scenario as part of your initial plan. “If I can’t do this… then I will do this…” This way you have a plan B, remember something is better than nothing!

Celebrate Consistency, Not Perfection:

Remember, the goal is consistency, not perfection. Celebrate the days you stick to your plans, even if it’s just meeting the bare minimum. Consistency builds habits, and habits lead to lasting change.

By incorporating these actionable tips into your planning strategy, you’ll find that navigating through your worst days becomes not only manageable but also a source of empowerment.

Planning for success involves acknowledging the potential obstacles and challenges that may arise. By embracing the worst-case scenario and making small, practical changes to your routine, you can build consistent habits that withstand the unpredictability of life.

Remember, celebrating your consistency, no matter how small, is a crucial step toward achieving lasting change. So, go ahead, plan for the worst… it’s really for the best!

If you are starting your journey to habit change and need a little support, reach our to Jo our in-house health and habit coach to help you create the best plan for success!