The Best Laid Plans

Planning Skill Determines the Effectiveness of Action Plans and Implementation Intentions

Julia L Allan, Falko F Sniehotta, Marie Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Theories of action control emphasise the importance of planning, but plans are not universally beneficial. PURPOSE: The present study investigates whether the effectiveness of plans depends upon the skill of the planner. METHODS: Study 1 prospectively predicted changes in unhealthy snacking behaviour over 1 week from intentions, action planning and performance on a standardised cognitive test of planning skill (n¿=¿72). Study 2 experimentally randomised skilled and poor planners to receive (or not) a planning intervention before completing an online food diary (n¿=¿144) RESULTS: Spontaneously generated action plans about snacking explained significantly more variance in subsequent snacking if produced by a skilled rather than a poor planner. The planning intervention (implementation intention) significantly improved goal attainment but only in poor planners. CONCLUSIONS: Plans are only as good as the people who make them. Poor planners' plans do not help achieve goals. Planning interventions can compensate for a lack of planning skill.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-120
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume46
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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Keywords

  • planning
  • plans
  • implementation intentions
  • action plans

Cite this

The Best Laid Plans : Planning Skill Determines the Effectiveness of Action Plans and Implementation Intentions. / Allan, Julia L; Sniehotta, Falko F; Johnston, Marie.

In: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 46, No. 1, 08.2013, p. 114-120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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