If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, try again.
William Edward Hickson was a British educational writer. Wikipedia credits him with writing the proverb (to be read with full British accent…)
‘Tis a lesson you should heed;
Try, try, try again,
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.
Apparently, he practiced what he preached for he wrote an “improved” version of the British national anthem.
Twisted differently W. C. Fields promotes a common perspective…
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit.
There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.
Last week, in Clothes on Fire Planning I pointed to the power of if-then planning. Such a simple plan is illustrated by this classic:
If you are on fire then stop, drop, and roll.
Supported by pre-planning you’re more likely to stop, drop and roll.
If-then preplanning helps us achieve our goals.
That’s a habit!
Peter Gollwitzer describes if-then planning as creating “instant habits.” Is it possible to short circuit the widespread rumor about habits and 21 days? Sign me up.
Heidi Havlorson outlines three benefits of embracing if-then planning in her book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals. What do you desired to support change in behavior and personal success?
- Automatic Routine – if-then planning is the deliberate creation of a routine, an “instant habit” which helps us get out of our way
- Self-control – one of our most precious motivational resources is self-control strength; if-then planning taps our unconscious mind and therefore, requires less willpower to act
- Unwanted Behavior – not only does if-then planning helps us seize the moment, it helps resist temptation (Page 179)
What if your next step. in support of your goal, could be as clear as this?
If your clothes are on fire, then stop, drop, and roll.
- If it is 8:00 a.m. then I will stop what I’m doing and leave for my 8:30 a.m. meeting
- If I’m in a conversation then I will listen and release my need to respond until they finish
- If I feel intimidated then I will take a deep breathe and repeat, “I can do this”
- If someone is talking to me then I be quiet and not finish his or her sentence
- If there is misunderstanding then I will call or go see the person; I will not use email
- If I am fearful then I will ask myself, “Why am I afraid in this situation?”
Clothes on Fire Planning taps into the simple structure of an if-then sentence.
With journal in hand, identify a goal you want to achieve.
Ask: What behavior hinders me from achieving my goal? What temptation do I want to overcome?
If that happens, then what will you do?
Write it down. Review until victoious.
You might “try” this one:
If you read something this simple and helpful then you will stop and do it; yes, try, try, try again.