Do you remember what you did last week? How about last month? Do you know if you’re one step closer to your goals? Do you even have defined goals?
It’s questions like this that might make you anxious. I know they made me anxious when I first grappled with them. Weeks would go by, months would pass, and all of a sudden, the year would be over and I couldn’t quite say definitively if I was closer to my goals or if my goals had changed due to new life experiences. It’s not always comforting to live your life with intention. That’s because this forces you to be accountable to yourself. And disappointing yourself can come at a cost that you may not want to pay. So, why should you live your life with intention and how do you start?
First, WHAT is intention? According to wikipedia – I know we have all come to trust this source right? – intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. That means you first need to be mentally prepared and committed to taking action you choose. I remember when I first said that I wanted to race and complete the Malibu Triathlon I could already see myself crossing the finish line. There would be many hours of training before I could realize this goal, but I was already committed to seeing it through, from start to finish.
Next, WHY should you live your life with intention? Well, this may seem intuitive for some of you, but I’ll be completely honest, for me, WHY was a harder nut to crack. I obviously wanted control over my life, but answering to myself on a daily basis, justifying my decisions, and holding myself accountable, wasn’t always easy. For example, when I chose to complete the Malibu Triathlon, I realized very quickly that my reasoning could not only come from the satisfaction of a physical accomplishment. I actually wasn’t motivated to train for the race based on increasing my level of physical fitness. Factors such as muscle definition, lean muscle mass, calories burned, VO2Max, were not motivating and so I had to dig deeper. So, I asked myself the following question: I want to race and complete the Malibu Triathlon IN ORDER TO….? By stating your WHAT and following it with “IN ORDER TO…?” you are able to narrow it down and ultimately come to an answer that gets the heart of your intention. By going deeper you find out whether or not you can truly follow through and commit to taking action. My “in order to…?” in case you were wondering, was to push myself beyond physical exhaustion, into a state of mental toughness so that when I finished and succeeded I would learn that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.
Lastly, let’s discuss how you start, the WHEN. If you didn’t realize it already, this blog post has been an exercise in how to start. First, you chose your WHAT. What is your intention? Next, you dig deeper, into the WHY, by stating your intention followed with “IN ORDER TO…?” So, what comes next, or rather WHEN? The WHEN is bracketing your intention with a date of achievement. When do you want to achieve your intention by? When I chose to race in the Malibu Triathlon this part was easy, the date of the race was September 14th. There was no way around it, my achievement date was locked in. So, I knew that from the time I signed up till September 14th, I had a finite time to train both my body and mind in preparation to complete this goal. Timing is important and holding yourself to a defined date of achievement will hold you accountable along the journey. However, the journey won’t always look linear and it’s important not to get frustrated along the way if you aren’t inching closer with every decision. This is when you need to look back at this written exercise, where you’ve clearly stated your WHAT, WHY, and WHEN, to remind yourself of your intention.
We hope this helps you with your next goal and we’d love to hear from you along your journey. Tell us your goal by sharing it with us on our Instagram Page or through email. We are here to cheer you on!