Preload Your Decisions with Action Triggers

Have you ever wanted to make a change of some kind, but had trouble executing or sticking to the change?  Maybe you need to use the concept of preloading decisions with action triggers.

In the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip and Dan Heath share the idea of preloading decisions as a way of shaping the path for people during change efforts.  The idea is simple.  Preloading a decision involves setting up action triggers in your life.  It is sort of like an "if this...then that" mentality.

Here's an example.  Say you have decided that in order to live a healthier life, you want to start running.  The way you preload that decision is by setting up action triggers in your daily routines that will reduce the likelihood of you not running.  One action trigger might be setting an alarm up on the other side of the bedroom so you are forced to get out of bed and begin moving to turn it off.  Another could involve you laying out your running clothes the night before as a way of guiding your behavior in the morning.

The idea of preloading decisions utilizing action triggers has all kinds of implications for the behavior changes we'd like to make in our lives.  I have been trying to get up earlier and spend time thinking, reading and working alone.  To do this I know I have to get to bed sooner, and so I have set the action trigger to not use the computer after 10pm.  Also, I fill the coffee pot and set it on delay brew so that when I am struggling to wake up I know I have fresh coffee waiting for me.

There are spiritual implications here too.  I don't know that I've met anyone who loves Jesus and also blatantly says they want to sin as much as possible.  No one wants to disobey God, but in the moment of temptation we all fall in some way.  However, by simply preloading of decision to strive for holiness with some action triggers, many people can live more joyful, obedient lives.

What do you think?  What action triggers are helpful for you in the fight against gossip, sexual immorality, the desire for popularity, anxiety, fear, pride, the love of money, the failure to show concern for others, anger, and a variety of other sins?