I've shared a few weekly intentions posts around here, and I love the excitement that tends to come from them. Not only from myself, but from y'all. You get so fired up and I feel like that just sort of migrates its way through the internet, which in turns fires me up. It's kind of awesome when you have that, ya know? My first set of intentions went off without a hitch. I made sure that they were things I truly wanted to achieve, and then I did them. My second list? Ehhhh, not so successful. I think I accomplished 3 of them. I hate failing at anything, so it really got me thinking about the art of intentions and how to ensure success. Here are a few things I've come up with. Hopefully they'll help you make and achieve your intentions!
Intentions shouldn't be something that "make or break" you. They should simply be things that would bring joy, relaxation, and satisfaction to your life if completed. Things you intend on doing. Things that won't totally wreck your world if unattained. You can totally turn every day tasks into intentions, but I've found that in order to be unstoppable in attaining them, you must really, really want them. My first set of intentions featured things like "send more snail mail" and "read Desiderata every day." Those things bring me actual joy in life. I get happy popping a handwritten card in the post. I feel rejuvenated when I read Desiderata in the morning. Heck, I even feel more motivated if I don't see dirty dishes out of the corner of my eye. My second set of intentions ended up being things I just threw together to have a list. That was totally detrimental to my success. Sure, I love to paint signs for fun, but it wasn't something that would complete me in any way. Getting up at 6:30am every day was great in theory, but it was freezing cold and pitch black outside, and even my husband couldn't pull himself from the covers. I managed to get up around 7:30 every morning, which is a feat in itself, but it wasn't the 6:30 I set out for. You see what I mean? I've noticed the same trend in my 25 before 26 (and previous) goal lists. Throwing things on a list just to have a list is totally counterproductive! Instead of feeling motivated and inspired by reaching our goals, we're simply claiming to attempt something we have no desire to really do. Then we "fail" to complete them and we're left feeling unsuccessful and frustrated.
Here are a few tips to help you make and achieve your intentions!
- Only "intend" toward goals that will actually benefit and motivate you in some way. For some people this is washing the dishes directly following every meal (this actually motivates us a ton!). For others it may mean waking up 20 minutes early to get a quick work out in. Intentions and a to do list are two separate things.
- Don't overwhelm your list or yourself with too many goals. If some weeks you only have one or two intentions, that's fine! Put all of your energy and focus into those two things. If other weeks you feel like you can tackle ten intentions, you go girl! Get it done!
- Try to choose intentions that benefit multiple areas of your daily life. A perfect example for us is keeping our house clean each day. A clean house is seriously the biggest tool I've found in how motivated I am each day. A clean house not only looks and feels nice, but it also makes me more likely to be productive. Win/win!
- Think up small rewards for each completed intention or list. Whether you want to treat yourself for each item checked off, or wait until you've tackled the whole list, rewards are great tools for motivation. It can be as small or large as you'd like. Nurture your positive actions!
- Stagger your list with varying degrees of difficulty. Maybe two-thirds of your list is super easy and doesn't require too much effort, but the other one-third is a larger goal to tackle. Complete the easy stuff and let that motivate you to do something bigger and better!
- Break your list down into individual days if needed. I prefer to do weekly intentions, and then a daily to do list. My to do list always includes more menial tasks, but I try to make time to put one or two intentions on it each day. It helps round out my plan and keep me on track.
- Don't get frustrated if you don't complete them. The best part about intentions is that they shouldn't make or break your entire day/week/being. Use them as motivation to succeed, but don't beat yourself up over not completing every single item. Over time you'll start to see a pattern in the way you set goals and achieve them. Maybe you'll learn something new about yourself and hopefully that will help you on your path to short term goal making.
- Make more intentions and lists! Regardless of your track record for completing them, don't stop making these intentions. Make them part of your Monday morning routine if you have to! Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. We'll perfect our methods over time and start to learn what's really important to us as individuals. Even if you totally bomb the week before, don't let that stop you from getting back in the saddle.
- Once you've completed an item on your intentions list, try to continue doing it. Make that intention a habit. Make it a priority to send snail mail or be prompt with your dishes. Let that joy and satisfaction be consistent.
Intentions can be a great first step in terms of self discovery. I've already learned so much about myself just by creating intentions lists for 6 weeks. I've become so much more productive in my daily life, even with things that have nothing to do with my intentions. If you make it a weekly habit, I'd love to hear what your list entails!
Here's my list for this week... short but sweet!
- Clean the office. Let it be the streamlined, productive space it was intended to be.
- Wash the dishes after each meal rather than waiting until the end of the day.
- Make at least one new friend. Online or off - reach out to someone who intrigues me.
- Find time for a coffee date with Mike. Talk business, talk life, talk whatever. Just enjoy it.
How about you? Do you intend on doing anything special this week? Let's hear it!