Plan ahead to determine how you will react in critical situations.

This technique is used by thousands of Starbucks’ employees. An annoying or angry customer can easily change the emotional state of a worker. So they are taught how to react. They have to plan their reaction by answering questions such as: “When a customer is unhappy, my plan is to…”

There are a few psychological principles behind this exercise including:

  • When you create a plan beforehand, you create the basics of a habit. In the moment, your brain simply follows your plan.
  • Your reaction is determined by you. You have the autonomy. More autonomy means that you save your willpower for other tasks.


  1. Every week, analyze difficult situations that have happened or may happen.
    It might be an argument with your coworker or an unpleasant customer or the feeling of procrastination—pretty much anything that consumes your willpower.

  2. Write down how you will react in each situation.
    Write it by hand and from your own perspective. For example: “When I procrastinate, I will take 10 deep breaths and then do 10 push-ups in order to improve blood circulation to my head.”

  3. Read your plan daily.
    Do this to memorize it.


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