FIVE LESSONS ABOUT INTENTIONS
FIVE LESSONS ABOUT ACHIEVING YOUR INTENTIONS
Over the past two weeks, since lockdown 2.0 began in the UK, I’ve been doing daily Lockdown Reset Lives in the Actually Facebook Group. The purpose of these lives is to encourage people to re-evaluate and review this period of uncertainty and change – and see it as an opportunity rather than purely an inconvenience or challenge.
During these lives, I have talking about intentions: how to set them and how to achieve them so that you can emerge from lockdown with a sense of achievement and increased resilience for whatever comes next. There’s so much more to come on this subject but in case you’ve not had a chance to watch my live, I thought I’d share five lessons in this blog that should help you to achieve anything you set your mind to.
There’s a wonderful saying that I’ve heard attributed to a number of different people including Oprah: ‘Luck is the convergence of preparation and opportunity’. If you want to experience a ‘lucky’ outcome then you must be prepared, do the hard work and see the opportunity.
Right now, even in the midst of a pandemic – and another lockdown here in the UK – we have an opportunity to achieve. But to achieve something you must first intend it: in other words, the step one of preparation is to actually set some intentions.
My recommendation to people setting intentions is similar to the advice I give people who want to set New Year’s resolutions: make sure they are realistic but stretching and don’t set more than three at a time or you will be overwhelmed.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
Intentions are about focus – about directing your energy. They are a signal to yourself, to your subconscious and to Source that you know what you want and you are ready to achieve and receive.
Here’s what they are not: they are not a stick with which to beat yourself.
You will make mistakes. You will fail from time to time. You’ll eat the cookies you’ve vowed not to eat. You won’t go for the daily walk you’ve committed to. This is the moment of danger.
Why? Because your subconscious doesn’t like change. And setting an intention is a pretty clear signal that you want to change things. So your subconscious allies with your inner critic to berate you and to persuade you to give up.
When you make a mistake; when you fail or don’t live up to your intentions I want you to imagine that you are your own best friend. What would you say to him or her in these circumstances? Would it be: “You ate that cookie…you are greedy…you may as well give up on this whole ‘eating healthily’ malarkey.” Or would you say “I get it. This change business is tough but I have complete faith in you. Keep going. You can do it. One mistake doesn’t mean you should give up!”
Say to yourself what you would say to your best friend. And tell your inner critic to pipe down!
FOCUS ON THE POSSIBILITY
When we set intentions, we usually focus on something we want to change and that we don’t think we are doing very well at the moment. For example: I’d like to change my sleep patterns because I’m not very good at going to bed at a reasonable time or getting 8 hours sleep a night.
When you think about your intentions, it’s understandable that we focus on the pain you are trying to avoid. For me it’s being tired and grumpy and foggy.
I would encourage you to spend some time exploring each of your intentions and visualising the possibilities: how will you feel through each step of achieving that intention? How will you feel when it’s done? What possibilities open up for you in your life or your work as a result.
And when you’re tempted to give up, recall these possibilities and allow them to provide you with the motivation to keep going.
Visualisation is a brilliant motivational tool. But visualisation alone isn’t going to make those intentions come to fruition. Dreams are important but they need to be aligned with action.
And by action, I mean real world action. Sharing your intentions on social media – and getting the dopamine hit of a like or follow isn’t action.
The difference between where you are and where you want to be is what you do. And nobody else can do it for you. The sooner this truth deeply saturates into every cell of your being, the sooner you will stop looking outside for answers and solutions and start taking inspired action towards your goals.
One last quick tip that’s going to help you to achieve your intentions: create a soundtrack for success.
Music is such an essential part of my life – I cannot actually imagine life without it. And I have lost count of the number of times that the right music has brought me out of a funk; motivated me to get moving and helped to shift my mood.
So my recommendation is that you create a soundtrack – a magical mix-tape if you will – of songs that inspire you, motivate you, get you moving (if exercise is your goal) or that soothe and calm you (if your goal is about sleep and calm) or that you can dance along to when you’re cooking up your healthy meals, or sing to whilst you’re making your smoothies. Let that music become your prompt, your key to accessing the energy you need to get into action on your intentions.
And because I like to over-deliver…here’s one last tip: celebrate!
Every time you do the thing you’ve intended to do – celebrate.
Every time you make progress – celebrate.
Not just because it’s a nice thing to do and who doesn’t like an excuse for a bit of bubbly* but because when you celebrate, you release dopamine into your system which your body and your mind so your subconscious mind might just start to see this change, these intentions, as a good thing!
*Other modes of celebration are available… ?
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