If-Then Planning and Self-Calming

Managing life well – Tenerife Top Training


Do not copy this document or share it with anyone without the prior written consent of Dr. Bruce Lawrie.

When faced with challenges, you may decide to be determined and succeed, then set goals to help you cope – which is great!

BUT: Determination to succeed, combined with a goal (although important) only accounts for about 20% to 30% of success – you need something else! So despite you being motivated and having a good plan/goal, you (like us all) would benefit from extra support to deal with challenges.

I am going to outline a simple, but very powerful technique, that will help you self-regulate (be in charge of) your emotions, thoughts, and behaviour.

This very effective method is called If-Then Planning: a two-part plan that helps you expect (predict) and manage situations that you may find challenging (not only but also surviving in Corona times).

Remember: The best psychological techniques are doable, not tied up in technical terms that are difficult to either understand or do. Don’t be fooled by If-Then Planning’s concrete approach, it is a very powerful psychology tool, and if you use it regularly it helps!

Here we go:
The If-part: I think about situations you may find challenging.
The Then-part: I work out how you will manage them.

Some examples:

  • If: I feel bored.                                                        Then: I will listen to music.
  • If: I feel sad.                                                            Then: I will speak to my parents or friends.
  • If: I get fed up being indoors.                              Then: I will remind myself that being indoors keeps me and others safe and healthy.
  • If: I worry about not training.                             Then: I will do my home-based training exercises.
  • If: I worry about losing my fitness.                    Then: I will remind myself that my fitness will return when I start training again.

Sounds simple? Managing life well is POWERFUL – but only If You Do It!


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managing life well examples


Managing life well: These techniques will help you calm – whenever you start to feel stressed.

Now I emphasise – this is about you doing something when you start feeling that you are
becoming stressed or anxious. Don’t wait till you are very stressed…as soon as you get the
feeling that you’re becoming stressed – do something – this is about you avoiding being overstressed – you taking control!

To Self-Calm – take charge by doing the following:

1. Engage in Constructive self-talk. Tell yourself, “My thoughts control my emotions and
behaviour, and I’m deciding to stay calm and look at the good things in my life.

2. Do some relaxation exercises – get guidelines from Dr Lawrie – if you’re going do it – do it

3. Use Imagery – not just Visualisation – Imagery is far more powerful and can be used to relax,
like taking a holiday in your mind, for instance.

4. Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself –listen to music – read a book – watch TV –
have a cuppa.

5. Other people matter too – be kind to others. What goes around comes around – your kindness will be returned!

6. Chat to a friend – parent – coach!

7. Exercise – it helps both your body and mind.

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