"The recognition that pre-suasive associations are manufacturable can lead us to much personal profit, even if we are not savvy advertising copywriters or renowned Russian scientists [Pavlov]. From time to time we all set objectives for ourselves, targets to hit, standards to meet and exceed. But too often, our hopes go unrealized as we fail to reach the goals. There’s a well-studied reason for the difficulty: although generating an intention is important, that process alone isn’t enough to get us to take all the steps necessary to achieve a goal. Within health, for instance, we translate our good intentions into any type of active step only about half the time. The disappointing success rates have been traced to a pair of failings. First, besides sometimes forgetting about an intention—let’s say, to exercise more—we frequently don’t recognize opportune moments or circumstances for healthy behaviors, such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator. Second, we are often derailed from goal strivings by factors —such as especially busy days—that distract us from our purpose. Fortunately, there is a category of strategic self-statements that can overcome these problems pre-suasively. The statements have various names in scholarly usage, but I’m going to call them if/when-then plans. They are designed to help us achieve a goal by readying us (1) to register certain cues in settings where we can further our goal, and (2) to take an appropriate action spurred by the cues and consistent with the goal. Let’s say that we aim to lose weight. An if/when-then plan might be “If/when, after my business lunches, the server asks if I’d like to have dessert, then I will order mint tea.”
Additionally impressive is the extent to which if/when-then plans are superior to simple intention statements or action plans such as “I intend to lose five pounds this month” or “I plan to lose weight by cutting down on sweets.” Merely stating an intention to reach a goal or even forming an ordinary action plan is considerably less likely to succeed. There are good reasons for the superiority of if/when-then plans: the specific sequencing of elements within the plans can help us defeat the traditional enemies of goal achievement. The “if/when-then” wording is designed to put us on high alert for a particular time or circumstance when a productive action could be performed. We become prepared, first, to notice the favorable time or circumstance and, second, to associate it automatically and directly with desired conduct. Noteworthy is the self-tailored nature of this pre-suasive process. We get to install in ourselves heightened vigilance for certain cues that we have targeted previously, and we get to employ a strong association that we have constructed previously between those cues and a beneficial step toward our goal."
Trechos retirados de "Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade"