Living with Intention
Well, you’ve done it again! You’ve made it through another month of hard work and hopefully you are feeling stronger than ever. We’ve actively discussed goal setting, how to get S.M.A.R.T., stretching beyond our limits and the impact we have within the world. That’s quite a bit of ground to cover in a short amount of time and guess what? You’ve done it. I would first like to personally thank you for hanging in there with me over the past nine weeks and secondly I would like you to acknowledge yourself for all that you have accomplished. The challenges I have set forth during this time have not been easy, and I know that. You may not have mastered every aspect in the way you would like, just yet, but what matters most is that you are putting in the effort. Change does not occur if one does not try. So keep up the great work. You can only grow to be better so long as you keep trying.
In keeping with moving forward, I would like to continue our discussion around the idea of setting intentions. Believe it or not you have most likely been subconsciously, in one way or another, setting intentions for quite some time now.
One might even be around following this blog. Thank you.
When we break it down an intention is a thing intended; an aim or plan. Simply stated it is something you set out to do. How does this differ from a goal you may ask? Well, goals are typically more involved, robust, and complex. They are the big picture and end result of what you would like to accomplish. I like to think of intentions as smaller daily habits or actions that get you there. Sometimes we set intentions within our goals and sometimes they stand alone as separate entities. It really depends on what the intention is. Therefore, whether it’s reading this blog every week, reading the Times every morning, hitting the gym before work every day, writing out your to do list every night before you go to bed or trying at least one new restaurant per month, we all have plans that we aim to accomplish in almost every aspect of life.
So if we already subconsciously set out to do things why dedicate specific time and thought toward the concept of purposefully setting intentions?
The answer is simple, when you declare to do something you create a sense of accountability that leads to an increased probability of successful completion. Similar to what we discussed in goal setting a few weeks ago.
The other day while having a conversation with a few friends we were talking about the act of doing. In the midst of the conversation I revealed that over time I have learned that no matter how grandiose an idea I have and how excited I get about it, it doesn’t become real for me until I have said it out loud. For some reason I find that verbalizing things to myself, and more importantly to others, gives them life. It’s almost as if I am breathing energy into the idea. Whether it is entering into each day with a positive mindset or arriving 10 minutes early to every appointment, I make sure to verbalize it so that I become accountable for my actions moving forward.
So what if everyone applied this type of conscious effort to all they decide to do. How much further do you think you could go in life?
When you consciously set an intention you give your actions meaning, power, and life. Furthermore, it actively becomes easier to stick with them and follow through.
Can you reflect on the past and think of times when things became real for you? What specifically gets you moving on a task?
I will admit that I am a procrastinator by nature. I always have been and although it is something I actively work on through goal setting and the use of milestones, etc…, it is something that I think will always be a work in progress. The bottom line is, I work best when under pressure. And not just any kind of pressure. Severe pressure. The kind that weighs down so heavy you don’t know if you will survive. So when I say things out loud and formally declare them as an intention it is one step toward the management process for me.
I brought to the table in my last post the idea of aligning what we say we are going to do with what we actually get done. I am curious to know how closely the two pair up for you. And if you are surprised by the percentage gap?
My next question then becomes, what are you willing to do about it?
What small steps can you take in the next few days to toy around with this idea of setting intentions and following through with them? Most behavioral patterns you currently recognize within yourself are habits that have been cultivated over a period of repetition and time. And to be honest, although many of them may be effective I'm sure they can probably use some sort of adjustment or reconfiguring. As with all things, change is inevitable for growth. If you stay stagnant with your current patterns you will keep reaping the same results that might not necessarily be driving you forward. Take the time to review this.
I challenge you to set three intentions for this next week and to create a system around them that is effective for you. If something proves to be seemingly difficult then take the time to tweak it. Remember the work I ask you to do should not make your life harder, so play around with it until you find yourself within that effortless groove that works for you.
There is a lot of ground to cover here and I am excited to see what you are able to do.