The beginning of this article talks about how the game of poker can be applied to life -- and as a magician, I found the metaphor intriguing.
"Playing poker is like planning for the future in one sense: You’re making decisions with limited information, and a lot depends on chance. You can control what you do with only the cards and chips you have; you can’t control what cards you or your opponents are dealt, or what the other players do. You make your choices amid uncertainty about how it will all pan out."
But then I realized the article was a lot more valuable when they started talking about the If/Then ritual.
"If/then rituals ask you to envision yourself taking a desired action in the future, not just to anticipate future scenarios.”
It's a fascinating psychological tactic that can help you achieve your goals in life. It helps train your brain in a way so when a specific situation presents itself, you know what to do. The cool thing about it? The harder the long-term goal, the more effective this strategy is.
It says that "most people were not lacking motivation to set such goals; the trouble came when they tried to keep on course when confronted with detrimental short-term urges"
The research states though that you should focus on positive actions compared to negative actions. For instance it says "The more concrete your actions, the better the if/then ritual works. Focusing on positive actions — stating what you will do vs. what you won’t do — is particularly powerful."
Here's another example:
"In hundreds of studies in all kinds of contexts — from eating better to completing homework assignments to saving money to avoiding the impulse to react to people on the basis of their skin color — Gollwitzer and colleagues have demonstrated the power of taking the time to anticipate in advance their obstacles when meeting future aspirations. For example, people who want to eat healthier would jot down all the possible temptations they’ll face in a week to eat junk food, and set up a plan to respond to each urge."