The past couple of weeks have made me realize how busy I really am. I got in touch with a friend I hadn’t spoken with for a while and when he asked what I had been up to my list was endless. So much so that he said: “I don’t think there are enough hours in the day to do all the things you do. How do you do it?” I didn’t know how to reply to that.
The truth is that at times you just let life happen and you don’t stop to think about the details. So you just keep pushing and wonder why are you so tired? Can you relate? So, I decided to stop and think about what I’m doing, and especially why I’m doing it. So I set goals for a better balanced life and to recover from my burnout.
The thing with goals is that they might seem a little hard to reach. Since they aren’t short-term plans it’s easy to get distracted. So my strategy was to set weekly intentions that address the barriers to reach my goal. For starters, this week I want to learn to slow down. And that’s from all angles. I even have to learn to walk slower!
What makes an intention different from a goal? Goals are set in the future, whereas intentions are set in the present. Answer this question: What can you do now to take a step towards your goal? Goals might be the larger vision, and intentions are small, achievable things that are within your reach. Intentions can also be set whenever you want. You can have a weekly intention, even a daily intention (hourly? Why not?). It depends on what works best for you. For me, weekly intentions work best, since I get to plan for the week and be aware of my everyday plans since the beginning of the week.
So, how do you do it?
- For starters, what is your goal? That way you can start working backwards, to know what you have to achieve in order to get there.
- Prioritize those steps so you know your path.
- Now, think of one small thing that you can and want to do now that is within your present reach.
- Don’t limit it to an idea. Turn it into a sentence. Either say it out loud or write it down.
- Make sure it’s clear, actionable and achievable.
- Think about how that makes you feel. Steer away from ideas that cause you anxiety or worry. Intentions should make you feel accomplishment and excitement.
- Stay in a positive tone. Be real, but make sure it’s not stated in a negative way.
- It’s not a to-do list. It’s actionable, but also emotional. For example, your intention can be to “prioritize being more present”. That way when you’re in a meeting or with your family you can remember that your intention is to be present and then you’ll put the phone down, or actively participate in the meeting.
- You can also be more specific. For example, if your goal is towards a healthier life, you can define what that means for you. And then set your intentions around it. You could say that your intention for this week is to start exercising. And then complete your intention with a specific plan, like take a walk three times this week.
- Remember your intention. If it’s a weekly intention, every morning set aside a few seconds to remember your intention for the week and that’ll help you be accountable for your actions throughout the day.
- Nothing is fixed. Intentions can change as life, needs and interests change. They are fluid, so don’t worry if an intention didn’t work out 😉 you can always change it.
- Believe in yourself. You have the power to build the path you want to walk in. Just take the first step.