I’d like to share with you some wisdom that was given to me:
“Everything begins and ends with intention… so be intentional.”
And while, in retrospect, I see and feel the magnitude of truth in these words now…. at the time, most of this statement was lost on me.
First of all, let’s start with addressing what an intention is. Plain and simple, an intention is an aim or a plan. Think of it like a to-do list, but for… say… accomplishments and goals. When you intend to do something, it means you’re planning on getting it done. When you’re intentional about your goals, things are more likely to go your way. You make a plan. You hold yourself accountable to that plan. You make shit happen.
If you only hope to do something, well, you can only hope for an outcome. When you’re unclear about what you want, you’ll get muddy water at best. You’ll probably find an excuse not to do the thing… because, let’s be honest, there’s always a good excuse. As a result, you’ll allow anything to happen, instead of taking any intended action.
Intention is what bridges the gap between a thought or an idea and a carefully executed action. It’s pre-meditated. There is energy and force driving an action that has already been planned. It’s powerful stuff, folks.
So to be intentional, you must bring more thought into your actions and words. Notice what behaviors come from habit and comfort rather than purpose and intention. Of course, it takes a great deal of patience and perseverance to become totally objective and aware of yourself and your cycles of behavior, so make the time to practice and train the mind. Meditate, meditate, meditate. Join me July 1, 2017 for a Month of Mindfulness, if you wish!
To begin new projects or to rid yourself of old ideas and outdated beliefs all begins with the intention to start wherever you are, with whatever resources you have. Do not intend beyond your current capacity. Work with what you have and build on it. Don’t allow yourself to create any more excuses or reasons for not accomplishing the things you want. Again, this is a matter of recognizing the mind. Once you know yourself and your patterns, you’ll be able to move past them with greater ease.
Author, television and radio host, life coach, and motivator, Mel Robbins (be sure to check out her Ted Talk or even her new book, as I will reference her often) offers wonderful advice. In one of her interviews, she suggests that motivation is just not enough to make goals happen. It requires discipline and hard work. Even if you may not feel like you’re ready, if you want something bad enough, you simply have to do it. It’s not enough to want something; it’s about forcing yourself to stop hitting the ‘internal snooze button’ and just do it. You may never feel like doing it. You may never feel ready. No one will ever make you do it. Only you can do it for yourself.
This is where intentions play a huge role. Intentions will help to make that activation energy possible when it comes to trying new things and starting new projects. Intention will help bring your ideas to life! Mel also discusses, in her Ted Talk, the importance of marrying an idea with an action. When you have an idea, write it down or save it on your phone. Make sure you seal that idea before it has an opportunity to pass by. If you don’t take time to acknowledge and plant the seed of your idea, then you essentially risk killing it and forgetting about it.
The practice of being intentional takes on many forms. For example, you could write out a list of daily intentions. This method is great for me, personally, because I love keeping lists and writing. I make a regular habit of setting several intentions for the day, focusing on goals I have set for myself and things I have to do that day (i.e. be focused at work, meditate, go for a walk, lead a relaxing yoga class, etc). This is entirely individual and may look different for you, but this is very similar to the whole marrying ideas to action process. If you want it, write it down.
To be intentional in your relationships looks a lot like respect and trust. Be aware of your body language, your tone, and your words when you are interacting with others, especially loved ones. Be mindful of what the other person is saying to you, offering them attentive listening, eye contact, and your fullest attention. Don’t interrupt or interject; wait until they have finished talking before you begin speaking. Simply listen to what they have to say and give yourself time to respond appropriately. Intention is what builds and strengthens connection between people.
Bring intention into your workplace or studies. Focus on the task at hand. When studying, set a timer for yourself and during that time, don’t let anything deter you from your notes. Embrace it. When talking to your coworkers or boss, make sure to practice open, respectful body language and be mindful with your words. Get engaged. Participate! Contribute and share! Don’t let your monkey mind take control and make a mess of your intentions and energy. You run the show. Your mind is your greatest tool. Learn to train your mind, be patient with yourself, and trust in the process.
There are so many more ways to bring intention to your life. From the food choices you make, to your Friday night plans, every moment is an opportunity to be intentional and be totally present. Even in the most unexpected of situations, there is still space within you to be present and totally aware of yourself.
You are responsible for your actions within this space; you are conscientious of your choices, behaviors, and words. This place of stillness is always available to you, and becomes easier to access with (you probably guessed it) consistent meditation and mindfulness training.
I may sound like a broken record, but it’s true!
Honestly, meditation really is the best recommendation I can offer to anyone who is serious about pursuing a journey of self-awareness and mastery of the mind. Though I have explored a few other methods of self-exploration, I’ll be saving those experiences to discuss at a later date.
For now, lay your foundation with daily meditation and use your attention to set your intentions.