Leading up to the New Year, I had planned to write a substantial blog post on intention setting.
As the time drew nearer however I became increasingly anxious about that. Not because I couldn’t write about the theory and practice of intention setting, but because I still feel there is a decent gap between I intend to be and where I am. I felt like I would be being disingenuous writing about intention setting from this state. But then I remembered that the point of this phase of the project is to use my story of transformation to help others, not from the point of view of ‘expert’!
I also realised what a difference there is between having intention and living with intention.
I already had a strong intention when I had the idea for the Slow Project. As I mentioned in this post, I was actively searching for a way I could contribute using my strengths, experience and interest. I had already done a lot of reflecting and sketching out of rough ideas. With the intent so clear it seemed completely natural when the inspiration and idea for the Slow Project occurred.
What came next was me learning about how I had to transform myself in order to deliver on this intent. After a while, when I thought I had done quite a lot of learning about the importance of routine and removing the need to decide on things that don’t matter, I was waiting for my behaviour to all fall into place. And I waited some more. And then I got frustrated at myself. This frustration was the gap between my intent and how I was living day to day.
So finally (yes I was impatient, but as I mentioned I need this Slow transition myself!), I began to implement small steps to help bridge that gap, instead of expecting it to happen all at once.
Let me share with you the top 3 things that have helped me keep my intention closer (still integrating and adjusting with these practices) to me as I move throughout my day:
1. Begin each morning consciously
This means spending a few moments centring yourself and refreshing your intent. Quite a few practices can help here, I have mostly experimented with yoga, breathing exercises and visualisation to reconnect with my long term sense of purpose and intent for the coming day.
2. Decide what are the three or four most important things to achieve each week
I have untold numbers of lists of ‘important’ things to do. By focussing on what the most important few things this week are it has helped me recognise everything else as a distraction. I use this weekly list in my morning visualisation. Next I will write it down a piece of paper and carry it around with me since I tend to do work in various locations.
3. Practice just in time information, not just in case information
This was, and continues to be, a big one for me. I love getting creative and generating option after option. So I’m drawn to doing a lot of reading and exploring about the topic. If this searching is not focussed however, your brain ends up swimming. Much more effective is to recognise when you are ready to stop intaking and start creating and limit your information intake to only that which is immediately relevant.
Aside from being more effective when utilising these practices, there have been surprising benefits: