How Setting Intentions Can Help You In Your Life And Career
For a long time, I only briefly planned my weeks. I’d know I had a meeting on Wednesday and dinner with a friend on Friday but that was it. I felt like I coasted along a lot during that time. I was happy, sure, but any goals or plans I’d set out for myself stagnated.
I chose to live my life with a bit more intention on 1st January 2019, so I thought I’d share with you my initial findings in this first month. I also wanted to share how I have ‘lived with more intention’ because I appreciate it’s a pretty ambiguous term.
What Does It Mean To ‘Live With Intention’?
Living with intention means stopping sitting around like a little pudding waiting for life to happen to you. It’s about being proactive and noticing opportunities for what they are. It’s about seeing little coincidences as something more than a thing to say ‘ah, that’s weird’ about.
And, once you notice these coincidences and opportunities, it’s about acting on them. If you’ve got goals you want to achieve, there’s no point in waiting until some miraculous turn of events aligns you with where you need to be. Let me tell you (and I say this from a place experience), that ain’t gonna happen.
You might think this is a load of rubbish from the girl who once wrote an entire article about the magic of rocks, but stick with me. I have had a much higher rate of success in the first month of this year than I’ve had in the last two years put together. I don’t believe that’s about luck (mostly because I don’t believe in luck). I think it’s about hard work, putting myself in the right places, listening to my gut instincts and not believing anything is ‘just a coincidence’.
So, I’m guessing you’re going to want to know what I did?
Get A Journal
The first change I made on 1st January was to keep a journal. I’ve been keeping a diary for five years but that’s more of an ‘I did this today’ kind of thing. The journal – which I talked about in my 2019 goals post – is from Dailygreatness. I got it as a present from my parents for Christmas.
The purpose of this journal is to make you think about your day. It’s split into two sections; a part I fill in, in the morning, and a part I fill in at night. In the morning it’ll ask questions like ‘what do you want to achieve today?’ and ‘what are you grateful for?’ in the evening it’ll ask questions like ‘what were your overwhelming feelings today?’ ‘what could you have done differently?’
It has made me think about my day on a new level. It makes me more conscious of what I’m doing. If I put that I wanted to write 3,000 words and then I don’t achieve it, I’m faced with thinking about why I didn’t achieve it in the evening. I guess it has made me more aware.
Look At How I’m Spending My Time
I’ve transformed my weeks. I used to just pick up anything and everything that needed doing as a freelancer. Now I have set times set aside for each project. There has to be a certain degree of flexibility, but generally, I’ll know when I wake up what I’ll be working on each day.
I’ve stopped wasting time on things. My friends at work used to call me Fadoline, because every day I’d come in like ‘I don’t eat sugar anymore’, ‘I’m going to start going to hot yoga’ or whatever the fad of the moment was.
I’m a very imaginative person who romanticises everything. This is both a blessing and a curse. It means I can write for hours without stopping for air. It also means that I can dream for hours and come up with farfetched and completely unachievable plans in my mind.
Unless my current fad covers one of my four key goals, I don’t entertain it anymore. My four key goals are:
- Write for national magazines and newspapers on a regular basis
- Become a best-selling author
- Have fun // Spend as much time as possible with people I love
- Grow Maya Rey
I’m not into healthy eating in the sense that I’d rather eat McDonald’s than a kale salad. Some healthy food is disgusting and however much Instagram influencers tell me otherwise, there are certain foods that I’m never going to enjoy.
I have, however, figured out what I can eat. I went to get an intolerance test done and found out I’m very intolerant to dairy. After years of feeling sluggish and bloated, I cut it out and I started to feel great. Do you know what else makes me feel sluggish? Meat. So, I’ve pretty much stopped eating that, too.
I also drink 2l of water every day. I still eat chocolate and biscuits and crisps, but I just eat them in moderation. It’s no life-changing thing, but it makes me feel less hostile come 10am.
Figure our what your ‘core goals’ are and take opportunities that pertain to those goals. If I just take my goal to grow Maya Rey as an example; I’ve been going to more fairs, creating new products and getting more PR opportunities.
If an opportunity is presented to me within the Maya Rey arena, even if I can’t see a clear route of how it will grow Maya Rey at the time, I take it. Every time without fail I’ve ended up meeting somebody or learning something.
And that’s another thing; start talking to people. Don’t sit there with your head down. The Celestine Prophecy (you should all read that by the way) says that every person who comes into your life is there for a purpose. If your head is buried in your phone, then you’ll never see that purpose.
Listen To Your Thoughts
We have a lot of thoughts. Some come and go quickly, others keep popping into our brains. I want to speak about the ones that continually niggle at us. I’ll use an example.
Recently, I had an idea for a health/wellbeing article but I didn’t really know how to go about pitching it and making it happen. I sat on it for a couple of weeks but every day it kept popping back into my head. I thought – ok, I need to act on it, so I started going through the motions. Anyway, fast-forward a couple of weeks and it’s going to appear in a national newspaper next week.
Use your thoughts as a guide. There’s a reason something or somebody keeps popping into your head. If it’s a somebody, why not check in with them and see if they’re ok or if they’ve got some sort of information for you. You never know what you might find. Again, The Celestine Prophecy talks a lot about this and I think it’s a good message.
When we were children, we used to just instinctively throw ourselves into situations that felt right. Now, we spend so much time overthinking things that they never end up happening. Go with your gut.
In order to open yourself up to coincidences and opportunities, I think your mind has to be clear enough to actually sense these moments. Yoga has really helped me to do that. For me (and I know this isn’t the same for everybody) it almost clears a blockage in my brain.
Surprisingly, if something has been bothering me, it’ll revisit my brain during a yoga session. And, most of the time it’ll just seem like such a nonsensical thing to be so bothered about. 9 times out of 10 I’ll finish my yoga session and think ‘why did I even care about that?’
These are some of the things that have helped me this month. As the month is coming to an end, now seemed like the right time to share this post with you. You may well have different experiences, but I’d say this is a great place to start.
The most important thing you need to remember in all of this is that you really should be paying more attention to your life. Don’t just let things happen – happen to things. It doesn’t take any extra effort to be a bit more aware of your surroundings but it can yield some incredible (and as I’ve said — I’m not just saying this, it has happened to me) results.