2016 New year’s resolution post-it at Victoria’s Station in London 

Individuals often fail to take an action that is in their long-run best interest, may it be undertaking vaccinations, saving for retirement plans, or just going to the gym.

Most models of individual decision-making list as reasons for this failure an overweighting of the immediate costs of the action or a lack of relevant information or information-processing ability.

A  study suggests that the lack of a concrete plan for implementing a desired action can also contribute to gaps between an individual’s intentions and actions. Simply writing down when one was planning to be vaccinated increased vaccination rates by 4.5%.

Various pro-environmental behaviors, such as reducing energy use or recycling, display trade-offs between short-term costs and long-term benefits, but are not one-off behaviors. It would be interesting to understand if implementation intentions could be equally effective also in these settings.