A day without intention is a day wasted. Bold words, but ones I firmly believe.
Intention: the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose -- Merriam Webster
To create an intention is to clarify what you want to achieve: in a yoga class, a day, a lifetime. This act is deceptively simple but deeply powerful.
When you stop to ask -- what is the one thing I could achieve today to make it great? -- then you instinctively scan your internal ToDo list and weed out things that (turns out!) don't matter, and focus instead on the one or two things that will truly bring some measure of happiness.
And at the end of the day, isn't that all we're really looking for in life?
A bit of happiness?
A feeling of accomplishment?
Some barometer to let us know that we've earned self-administered pat on the back?
By creating an intention, we suddenly know how to measure our day.
We connect with the goal behind the goal.
Let's be honest, I don't think any of us just want to "work." We actually want to achieve a feeling of security, or a monetary reward. Or both.
So connecting with the true goal bypasses the b-s, and focuses our power in a way that makes our days more meaningful.
If we don't pause to make our actions meaningful, then we end up doing a lot of work without a goal in mind. The result of that is exhaustion with no payoff. And spinning our wheels because we THNK we're supposed to be doing a whole lot, per this modern society that overvalues "busy-ness."
If we don't stop to ponder what we want to achieve, then our days -- our lives! -- just slip away.
But using intuition to prioritize good feelings can shift us into a state of power in an instant.
How to manifest our power.
Whether you want to create an intention around a workout, a conference call or your day overall, here are five easy steps:
- Breathe deeply, in and out three times
- While doing so, ask: what would make this day great? Or "How do I want to feel after this workout?" Or "What is the one thing I want to achieve in this meeting?", "Why am I REALLY doing this activity- what does it mean to me?" Use whatever question comes to you naturally.
- Then listen. Listen for the most simple answer. It will be a little voice in your head. Don't dismiss something that sounds too simple. Resist the urge to add on multiple answers. Keep it paired down to one to two feelings or goals.
- Check in throughout your day/workout/meeting and connect with that intention. Get yourself back on course if you've started to veer into doing something else for the sake of just doing more. Remember: more isn't better. Feeling good and accomplished is the goal.
With this practice, our days become focused on what matters. Our lives start to revolve on an axis of meaning, and no longer feel like they're spinning out of control.
It's within our ability to harness this power, but it's up to you to put into practice.
Cheers to being masters of our own universe.
Post Script: Why does this matter to me?
Because it took being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis to realize how valuable my energy is. A common symptom of multiple sclerosis is exhaustion. Rather than fighting it and trying to work harder, I got smart and chose to work effectively. That means only putting my precious energy toward things that will make a difference in my day. Anchoring myself with an intention, I mindfully elect a path that prioritizes love over overwhelm, and values happiness more than exhaustion.