Why Intention Matters, and 5 Ways to Practice It

Whoa, we’re almost halfway through the year.  Birds are chirping, you can finally rock an open toed shoe again, and the air is filled with that springtime freshness.

(Side note- I really cannot stand being cold so I tend to get slightly excited about this time of year).

So, clearly we are long past talking about new year’s resolutions. But I’d say it’s time for a check-in on how we’re doing so far in 2019.

It’s kind of funny how we spend so much time dwelling on them at a certain point in the year. And then for many of us they are quickly forgotten or dismissed.

For 2019 I’ve been focusing on INTENTIONS rather than resolutions or a series of lofty goals.

My word of the year is actually Intention (past years have included – Gratitude and Focus – and that’s the end of the list because I only started getting down with this concept in 2017).

This didn’t come about because I’m naturally great at this.

Rather I realized I was spending a lot of time feeling unfocused.

I was constantly doing a hundred things at once. All the while feeling like I was doing everything subpar, and nothing exactly like I wanted.

I’d pick up my iPhone to add an appointment to my calendar , somehow click over to Instagram , and get lost in the scroll.

Or I’d be cooking dinner while making baby food while on a conference call and running between floors to change laundry. And it would all get done, but I’d be scrambling for a pen to write down an important note and possibly overcook my food. Not so effective.

It didn’t feel good, and instead of relying on busy as a badge I wanted to lessen that scattered feeling.

Anyone else?

The struggle is real these days with so many distractions.

That scattered, rushed feeling stinks. You know you’re working and things eventually get checked off the to-do list, but it’s not as satisfying – or effective as practicing intention while going about your day.

People – especially women – pride themselves on multitasking. I was one of them. During the day I’d look at my to do list for work, and instead of focusing on one thing I’d start 3 projects and not finish any of them. An email would come in and I’d stop working on a client plan, and answer a question that really could have waited.

Intention happens when we start to really hone in on what we’re doing and it’s purpose.

I like the word better than goal or resolution because it somehow feels more simplistic, and lofty.

So here are 5 ways you can practice more intention:

1. Identify your non-negotiables. Consider if you could only identify 1-3 TOP priorities for the day what would they be? (It’s super tempting but try not to go over three).

Take it further – what ONE  thing would make you happiest to accomplish today?

This applies to work, home, fitness- you name it.

2. Make space in your day for rituals. I’m talking simple things here, guys! My rituals in the morning are making my bed, drinking water immediately, and coffee with collagen. See, simple?

In the evening during the week if I don’t have an event or something going on I make lemon tea – sometimes I add in fresh ginger if I’m feeling it , and I read before bed every single night. Even if I’m exhausted I need 10-30 minutes of reading even night. My husband thinks this is crazy when he knows I’m super tired from the day, but its my way of winding down and decompressing.

3. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. We all know social media lends itself to this feeling. I’m no exception. I used to feel like if I saw that someone had already completed a morning run , showered and made a gorgeous breakfast whereas I was still trying to brew coffee I’d feel behind. Now I never look at social media first thing when I wake up, and even if I check in at some point I’m secure that my day is filled with intentions that make sense for me. Stay in your own lane, my friends.

4. Reevaluate often. I like to set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly or annual intentions. This sounds like a lot, but I swear it’s not once you start!  What you do daily and weekly should reflect your bigger intentions (goals or resolutions, if you prefer). This applies to work and personal life. For example, if your intention for the next three months is to land three new accounts at work map out the steps you should be taking weekly . One of my intentions for the year is to improve my time management by being less reactive and more focused (ahem, see above). I’m taking steps towards this by putting my phone away when I’m working on a project, and working on the most important things on my list first.

And believe me I still have days where I get down on myself because I was distracted , but its all about progress.

5. Write your intentions down. Just like writing goals down gives them power, intentions work the same way. Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself by writing down everything you’ve ever wanted to do. It can be as simple as “get up 30 minutes earlier so I’m not so rushed in the mornings” or “add 15 minutes of stretching to my weekly workout routine.”

Remember this is all about progress, and living with more mindfulness. A word that gets thrown around a lot – but it matters.  Sometimes the best changes in our life aren’t things others can see but things we can feel daily.

I’ll share my intentions I set for 2019, and how I’m doing with them in an upcoming post.

Spoiler alert – not perfectly.

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