(• Reading Time: 3 minutes •)

Intention-action gap

How many times have you planned to do something for a change? But end up falling right back to where you started.

No more junk food. Doritios.

I’ll save more money. iPhone.

Definitely read every night. Netflix.

In Behavioral Economics, this is called intention-action gap. You intend to be better but end up acting in an opposite way.


Ok good to know. And then what?

You see, we’re often aware of the big gaps in our lives: not going to the gym, eating poorly, procrastinating, whatever. Let’s leave the big guilt for another time.

The interesting part to call out are the small, sneaky, intention-action gaps that slip by you daily and keep piling up more and more.

This has nothing to do with your talent. Or your hard work. It’s all simple, sneaky, good-ole self sabotage.


“You” vs. “Also You”

To draw your attention to these, I’ll use a “You” vs “Also You” comparison. “You” refers to your intention mode while “also you” refers to your action.

As with intention-action, there’s a gap between both modes.

My hope is that highlighting these will increase your self awareness and help you catch yourself — catch when any of these moments or something similar come up.

Let’s jump right into it.

As you read, pause and ask if this is currently happening to you as it may help you unblock yourself.


Repeating the same actions

You: Why is it that I’ve tried everything but nothing is working?

Also You: I don’t feel like trying anything that’s different.


Consuming toxic contents

You: Why do I randomly feel annoyed during the day?

Also You: I want to stay up to date with every news.


Sending conflicting social signals

You: Why is it impossible to connect deeply with others?

Also You: I refuse to talk about anything else unless it’s work.


Eager to be liked

You: I don’t like it when people don’t respect me.

Also You: I’ll do anything to avoid people not liking me.


Seeking only the bare minimum

You: Why can’t I become an expert at something?

Also You: I don’t want to do anything that takes too much time.


Avoiding intellectual disagreement

You: I want to work with people who are smart.

Also You: I can’t stand it when others disagree with me.


Feedback is enemy

You: I want to improve my product and make it better.

Also You: These users don’t understand what I made — haters gon’ hate.

And on and on. These are small yet when stacked together, or repeated over and over, you’ll find yourself taking one step forward and three steps back.


Thanks for reading

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Heads Up - I love research so I tend to back my advice and approach with concepts from Behavioral Psychology and Neuroscience.