Law of Diminishing Intent


Learning about the law of diminishing intent has revolutionized my life. I first heard of it from Jim Rohn. So what is the law of diminishing intent?

It basically states that intentions are strongest at their conception and if not acted upon quickly they gradually decrease until they no longer exist.

John C. Maxwell puts it like this, ” The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”

Chances are you have been a victim of the law. You may have planned to exercise more, read a book a week, cook more healthy food at the start of the year for example, but you did not get started and gradually your enthusiasm passion and intentions faded.

Here are some tips to make sure that you overcome the law of diminishing intent:

Be clear about your goals:

When you set goals make sure they are completely clear to you. Ensure that they are at least SMART- specific, measureable , achievable,relevant/realistic, time bound.

Make sure they are your goals

Very often we choose goals because they are popular or because we are pressured by others to make them a goal. If the goal is not truly what you want for yourself, you are less likely to follow through difficult processes to achieve it. Make sure the stated goal is actually what you want.

Document how you feel when you set the goal

Try to document how you feel when you set the goal. Capture the enthusiasm, passion and zeal at the starting point. It will become a reference point for you when you face challenges along the way.

Use emotion to boost action.

As humans we are more inclined to do things when we feel excited, energized, and happy about them. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact I suggest that you use that emotion/energy and enthusiasm and get started right away. The emotion can be a powerful force to get you started.

Revisit the emotion

When the going gets difficult it often helps to revisit the initial emotion, enthusiasm, outlook that you had at the beginning. It may help to rekindle the fire you need to press on.

Rehearse your why

Consistently remind your self of why you are doing the particular activity. What are the benefits? Why is that goal important to you? If your why is big enough and you rehearse it you are more likely to achieve success.

Plan your path of action

As soon as you set the goal or have the intention plan how you will achieve it. If you plan to start an exercise programme in the gym; decide which gym, how you will get there, when, and what you will need to fulfill the intention. If you do not plan how to get to your goal there is a higher probability that you will never reach it.

Do it immediately.

Start immediately. This is one of the quickest ways to overcome the law of diminishing intent.

Assign yourself a 24 -hour action period.

For every goal or intention, set a mandatory 24-hour implementation period. You must initiate the required action within 24 hours.

Develop accountability

Accountability can be crucial to overcoming the law of diminishing intent. Find someone who is reliable and supportive and share your goal with him/her. Ask them to check in on your progress and monitor your journey to achievement. This will increase your likelihood of achieving success.


25 Tiny Habit Changes That Will Make You A Different Person In A Year From Now

1. Read at least one book per month.

2. Write down your goals at the start of each week and each month.

3. And measure and track those goals throughout the year – actually look each goal in the face and be honest with yourself about what you did do and what you could have done better.

4. Dedicate just one day a week to eating no meat.

5. Turn your phone on silent before you share a meal with someone you care about.

6. Talk to someone you trust when you’re in pain, even if it’s what you consider a ‘small pain.’

7. Walk whenever you can and wherever you can.

8. Do everything in your power to be considerate of and aware of other people.

9. Say ‘yes’ to something that scares you, if you know that it will truly be good for you.

10. Write every day in a notebook, with the understanding that there are no rules, no one will ever see it, and that it’s simply a tool for you to get your thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper.

11. Become cognizant of your emotions in a way you never have before – by simply trying to address them and name them, instead of treating them like a silent companion that you ignore because you practically don’t even notice them.

12. Listen more than you talk. And then forgive yourself when you fail at this. And then try again.

13. Look at anything other than a screen in the minutes before you fall asleep. A book, the window, your partner, a pet, the ceiling. Anything that is not going to instantaneously bring you back into a world you are trying to take a break from for eight hours.

14. Treat sleep as an absolute necessity and an incredibly important priority, instead of being proud of how little of it you are getting.

15. Pay attention to the factors you need in which to do good work. Do you need music? Do you need silence? Do you need a window? Do you need white noise? Do you need to turn your phone face-down? Do you need scheduled breaks every 45 minutes to read a few pages in a book? Do you need to take a walk first or right in the middle of it all? Pay attention to the moments in which you’ve done your best work, notice the factors that were present in that experience, and then do everything in your power to replicate it every single time.

16. Talk to strangers sometimes. Talk to your Uber driver when they seem to be in a chatty mood. Talk to your server about anything other than today’s happy hour specials. Talk to the person ringing up your dry cleaning and see how their day is going. Sometimes the interaction will be nice but forgettable. But sometimes you will still remember it several years from now. People have the most interesting things to say, when you’re listening.

17. When you come up with a new goal and you feel that familiar thrill every time you think about it, tell someone about it. The effect of how much more real and tangible it becomes when you do this is incredible.

18. Listen to when you need to study or focus or create, or when you just need your brain to quiet down for a bit.

19. Pay attention to how many pointless things you do, and how many minutes you waste, in the moments or hours before you go to bed. When you find yourself doing these things, like clicking through ridiculous slideshows or doing a deep dive into someone’s Facebook, stop. Brush your teeth. And go to sleep. The more you try to catch yourself doing these things, the less you will do them.

20. When you choose to relax, make sure you mentally and emotionally commit to it. Don’t half-ass it. Don’t sit on the couch and ‘rest’ while also checking emails and doing ‘something small’ for work and planning an upcoming trip. Just fully commit to relaxing. Immerse yourself in that movie or show or book or walk or yoga class or whatever. Let it be the only thing that you’re doing.

21. Wear whatever is the best combination of making you feel comfortable, confident, and like yourself. These outfits exist, you just have to work a little harder to find them.

22. Open your mail right away. Answer what needs to be answered, and throw out anything that is unnecessary. Do this immediately. When you do it for a while and have success and then four months later you’re back to your old ways, waste no time scolding yourself. It happens to all of us. Just start again.

23. Tell people you are proud of them, thankful for them, inspired by them, grateful to them, here for them, honored to know them, and comforted by them.

24. Make every decision, ever little choice, based on your desire to be a person of integrity.

25. Think about where you were a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago. Think about all the things you are doing now that you wouldn’t have ever believed you could do back then. Then keep waking up every day striving to make the future you once again astounded and proud.

(2018 Original Post from Thought Catalog / Kim Quindlen)