Friday, February 24, 2012

Being intentional


You may have noticed that this blog is somewhat of a wandering journey of my random thoughts.  I jump from topic to topic and really just share from the heart the things I'm thinking about or going through in my life right now.  It's more like a journal that a blog (edited though of course!  I can't tell all my secrets).  The thing is though if you look closely there is a theme emerging this year.  It's something I haven't thought concretely about, but as I've been on a journey of working through things in my life, prioritizing, optimizing, de-cluttering, there is one thing that I'm learning that is consistent.  The need to be intentional.

You can read a hundred books or blogs on how to simplify your life, or how to achieve you goals, but at the heart of all of these well intentioned discourses is the core idea that you need to be intentional to succeed.  What does that mean?  Let me give you an example.  If you're trying to loose weight you have a choice every time you eat to either eat something healthy or not.  You can choose to eat too little, too much, or just the right amount that will help you achieve your goal.  You can also choose to exercise, or not.  The fact is if you want to succeed in weight loss you need to be intentional every day to make choices that will bring you closer to that goal, and to avoid pitfalls that will place that goal further away from you.  Here's another example.  If you want to improve a skill in your life - painting, budgeting, photography, *insert your hobby/work skills here* - you have too be intentional about how you will do it.    You have to decide if it's training, practice, mentoring or something else that will help you become better at that skill.  And then you have to choose to do it.  You have to follow through.  The desire to improve alone is not enough to help you succeed at it.  Obvious right?  Sounds simple.

The thing is, many people fail at their goals.  They fail to keep resolutions.  They fail to make changes in their life because they aren't intentional about it.  The size of the goal is not the obstacle to success.  Rather it's the lack of intentional behavior which prevents us from moving closer to that goal.  So who's to blame if I fail?  Me.  Who's to blame if I succeed?  Me.  It's something I control.  Sure there are circumstances that impact our progress, but our response to those circumstances is also something under our control.  We might have to shift our timelines or alter our plans to match the circumstances, but we can still choose to move forward in the journey to achieving our dreams.

PS: The photo is from a trip to Vietnam a few years ago.  It's a boat ride... representing a journey... the journey we are all on.. (get it? get it?)