#5: Intentions, accomplishing your goals 1 day at a time
Have you ever set a goal or a New Year's resolution and had a hard time following through? It's like you wake up and say, I am going to exercise today or I am going to be more patient with my coworkers or I am going to only have 1 beer after work... But you find yourself going to bed that evening un-exercised, irritated, and a little tipsy. Maybe you are beating yourself up for not having followed through on what you wanted to do that morning or you resolve to actually do all of those things tomorrow, but the pattern may (I mean most likely) repeat itself. Well, I've been there, done that. And by no means do I have it perfect yet, but I have found something that seems to allow me to avoid this mysterious, unavoidable fate >85% of the time. Something that I started doing approximately 161 days ago is setting daily intentions.
What is an intention?
An intention is something that you set out to do purposefully, like a goal or a plan. Key word here is PURPOSEFULLY. As in, you take those thoughts in your head and turn them into actions.
We intend to do things all day long and manage to be very successful, like drive to work, or eat lunch, or brush our teeth. Besides these daily tasks, we also have a lot of goals that are not necessarily what we view as part of our essential daily needs that get pushed to the wayside. These are things that we generally view as more longterm, so they can be overwhelming. Some of these goals could be to drop a few pounds, approach situations with more confidence, or just to be a kinder individual.
While these goals are long term, because they generally cannot happen over the course of a day, they deserve DAILY attention.
What an intention is not...
A daily intention is not a to-do list.
This is not the time that you write down your daily tasks for the day... That is a worthwhile practice and should be done separately. This is a time for you to think about improving yourself and what little steps you can take that day towards making it happen.
A daily intention practice is not ruined if you miss a few days.
Shit happens. Don't let a brief hiatus take the wheels off of your wagon. Perhaps if you notice that you are someone who starts to have a hard time following through with something, you set a daily intention to honor your commitments (to yourself, which is just as important as your commitments to others).
What can daily intentions do for you?
Daily intentions create a whole new outlook for your day. Rather than your day looking like it usually does, filled with day-to-day happenings and tasks, it is now the platform for your to challenge yourself and call something out that may usually get ZERO attention and give it the spot light for a change. It is pretty cool to give these guys a chance a shine... Your mind will thank you for setting this time aside to focus on a something that we normally ignore or plow through without a second thought.
Daily intentions will also, most importantly, help you achieve your long-term goals one day at a time... Which is a way more manageable time chunk than 1 week, month or year! Can I imagine telling myself that I will never have ice cream again!? The answer is NO! But I can certainly stomach not eating ice cream for a day or a week. :)
Another example, I grew up having bad posture. So one of my daily intentions that I consider a go-to is to stand up straight! Not only is it good for my back, but it is good for my overall mood and self-confidence! It is nice to have that daily reminder to stand up straight rather than looking at my all too certain future as the next hunchback of Notre Dame.
Give this a try...
Like I said earlier, I started setting daily intentions, or things that seem to be on my mind in the morning that I would like to keep on mind throughout the day. Here are some examples of daily intentions that I set often (because you can "recycle" daily intentions!)
- Stand up straight!
- Eat mindfully (put the phone down, focus on the task at hand)
- Take time throughout your day to let your mind be free (de-stress)
- Think, feel, and act from your center (be balanced, recognize what your body and emotions need)
So those are some examples of things that I will write down in the morning and carry with me throughout my day. At the bottom I have some examples of how these intentions can translate to long-term goals.
So if the idea of accomplishing your goals tickles your fancy, I be you're wondering how to even begin a practice like this!
Here's what you will need to do...
1: Get a pad and a pen.
Preferably one that you are excited to write in throughout the day. I am a huge moleskin fan, but right now my Brooks journal is what I am using. #runningstorefreebies
2: Set your alarm for 5 minutes earlier in the morning.
This is probably more time than you will need, but it will give you time to wake up, get started on your morning routine so that you will have adequate time to think about what you want to focus on that day.
Maybe you need a good hour or two to fully wake up in the morning. That's totally cool. Set a reminder or an alarm for yourself to set a daily intention at some point in the morning that you know you have a second to jot it down.
3: Set periodic reminders on your phone so that you can bring your intention back to the forefront of your mind.
When that reminder comes up, stop, think about what you wrote and think about where your day is headed or what has already happened. Have you been acting in alignment with your intention? Perfect time to carry on or recalibrate.
Here are some examples of daily intentions as they relate to long-term goals
Hope y'all enjoyed this post. Anyone else have a daily practice that you feel keeps you headed towards accomplishing your goals?