Wednesday, January 11, 2012

With intent

I've had this post marinating in my head for a week or so now, and I'm still not entirely sure how it will turn out!

I don't know why now, maybe it's been reflecting on the year past, and thinking about the year to come, but it's occurred to me recently that I'm not particularly intentional or purposeful, and I've realised that that's one of the reasons I'm not very good at achieving goals I set. I'm great at making plans, defining goals, and identifying what it is I want to do, but I'm often not very good at actually doing it. I've been reading a few blogs whose authors have written about their plans for the new year, and I started seeing a common thread that really struck a chord with me - living with intent.

That's when it hit me - that's not something I really do, in the big picture, grand scheme of thing. I don't live with intent. Many of the things that have happened in my life have happened because I've either just let them, or not done anything (or much) to stop them. This is not something I'm beating myself up over or anything, it more a realisation that being intentional is a real key in achieving goals, and heading in the direction I want to go.

Case in point - I'm not the world's best 'housekeeper', I do what I have to do because I have to do it, but it's always a chore, I procrastinate over getting jobs done (wasting more time and energy), and the house is more often a mess than it's not :-) And it's because I'm generally guided by how I feel about doing something, rather than being intentional about doing it. If I simply changed my thinking and behaviour to being intentional about what I do, rather than doing things when I feel like doing them, I'm pretty sure life would run a bit more smoothly!!!

But it's not just the 'practical' things like housework cooking etc etc, it's the 'self' side of things I'm generally not intentional and purposeful about, either. Ask the people who know me, and they'll tell you I'm good with the ideas and the plans, but I'm not very good at following through, and I usually end up stopping/dropping something along the way. I call it being inherently slack, and if I get bored with something or it gets too hard, I often stop whatever it is - perfect examples are exercise, journeys/'exercises' in my spiritual life, artistic pursuits etc.

It's dawning on me more and more that if I just make the choice to live with intent, life will be different. I'm not talking about huge changes, or life suddenly becoming easier or anything like that, but my gut feeling is that if I change my beaviour in small ways, then some things in life can
change in big ways. I make excuses that my life is busy, working full time as a single mum to 3 kids, dealing with pain every day blah, blah, blah, but at the end of theday, I can make the choice to say 'no, I'm not going to flake it on the couch/spend way too much time aimlessly browsing online/ zone out in front of the tv', but choose to spend 10 minutes - 1/2 an hour tidying up/cleaning out a shelf in a cupboard/planning a menu for the week/ getting up earlier/ cleaning out the car, and then those jobs are just done, creating more time for the things I want to do - knitting that jumper, writing that story, sewing that top - and often whinge I don't have time for. I had a crystal clear example fo this the other day - whilst I've been on holidays, I have set myself of doing a 'big, I've-been-putting-it-off' job each day, and these jobs have taken up surprisingly little time. The other night I finally tackled cleaning out under the kitchen sink, which I thought would take ages, a job I have been putting off for months. It took 19 minutes to do. 19 minutes. When I finished, I sat back and thought about all the time I'd wasted sorting through the cupboard looking at stuff, all the times I'd put the job off, and it took 19 minutes to rectify that.

I know this is not new, this is not rocket science, and if anyone's reading this, some of you will be thinking 'how did she not know that?', and all this is stuff I've always known, but I've not applied ot my life. So now is the time to change, to start living with intent, being purposeful, changing my behaviour, which will honestly make me a better role model for the kids too. It's not something I thought I'd be blogging about (I mean really, who wants to read this stuff??), but I've also realised that the times in life I have been successful at achieving goals are the time I've been held accountable - losing weight through Weight Watchers, getting my degree, saving for my house. So I'll hold myself accountable to whomever wants to join me on my journey, to continue blogging it all along the way - I know I'll need a record to keep track, and it will keep me intentional :-)

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