Reading time: 2 minutes Sep 12th 2016

One of the most important strategies that I have come across in any form of goal achievement is the ‘IF-THEN’ strategy. This is a key strategy to help you achieve your goals. Very simply, one of the things that makes coaching successful is our ability to predict, ahead of time, the vast array of possibilities of what could go wrong and what bad things could happen which might negatively impact our ability to succeed.

I remember the IF-THEN strategy from when I used to create basic computer programmes for my Commodore 64 when I was a teenager. Before moving on let me keep things straight… I know almost nothing about computer programming whatsoever. I do remember though that you could create an IF-THEN line that would tell the computer what to do in the event the user did a particular thing.

Now one of the biggest issues that I find people have in all areas of their life, from their romantic lives to business dealings, is NOT that they do not know what to do but that they do not think of what to do. Our brains are simply not run by our logical and reasonable brains. Instead, whenever we find ourselves facing challenges such challenges bring with them stress and fear. Stress and fear have been shown to have a negative impact on our decision making and so it is easy to make mistakes when we experience them.

The beauty of an IF-THEN strategy is that you set up a bunch of potential IF’s and you think clearly and intelligently ahead of time of what you are THEN going to execute. For instance, if someone doesn’t call you back that day THEN you will wait and call them the next day. If the other person in a negotiation gets angry then you will call for a recess.

Basically, the key is to stop and think about what you want to achieve in some area of your life and ask yourself what potential challenges might arise. Each one of these challenges are IF’s. Once you have a list of them then go through each one and think as practically as possible of the best things to do (a THEN) for each scenario. Because you are creating them in a good state, you will then have a template and algorithm that will help you make the best choice when you are struggling the most.

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