It would have been an average day. I would have carried out necessary chores, worked, and settled down for the evening with that same old feeling. A feeling I had done everything my usual way and achieved similar results. That day, though, something out of the ordinary happened. A new thought occurred before I climbed from beneath the bed covers.
It was such a small tweak to my day. Yet, it had a huge impact. Not just to the day in question. But to every single day since
As I lay there, I contemplated what I had to do during the next 24 hours. I went over chores, responsibilities, and tasks I wanted to achieve.
This was my normal morning routine, and it worked well enough. On this particular day, however, a new thought struck my brain as a question.
What would happen if I created an intention for everything I did?
More questions followed.
Would having crystal clear intent change my productivity?
Improve my relationships?
Lend clarity to my behaviors?
I was dozy, not long out of my slumber, and these thoughts were in danger of drifting before being properly digested. So, I focused hard, sensing they were important.
I would begin my morning with an intention about how I wanted to show up in the world.
That was easy. I wanted to personify wisdom. I wanted to be compassionate. I wanted to be creative.
Too general. It would be easy to forget these wishy-washy, yet well-meant goals. Rather, I needed to forge precise intentions for specific acts. As the idea dawned, my heart sank. The task felt monumental.
Surely, it would take an age to make up intentions for every little thing I did. And where would my spontaneity go? And did that matter anyway?
Never mind, I told myself. This is how it’s going to go. You’ll simply begin. You’ll intend for the water to invigorate and energize your body when you jump in the shower, and for your breakfast to fuel you with nutrients that generate excellent health.
“You idiot,” a little inner voice of doubt said. “You need not intend to feel things. And why dictate your experience?”
I gave that voice a swift kick in the ribs.
This is my experiment and I’ll do as I please!
By coffee-break time, I’d clocked up numerous intentions, and I buzzed with energy and positivity. What’s more, I noted something unexpected. Since my mind was full of intent there was no room for concerns.
I hadn’t worried about trifling matters such as the mess other household members left in the kitchen or the lack of hot water. I hadn’t gone over potential pitfall scenarios — a favorite way to pretend I could deter problems. And I was daydream free, apart from going over exactly why I did what I did and what I expected to happen.
I had also forged conversations with clarity. Thinking about what I wanted to say and why forced me to be a super-clear communicator. And it felt good to speak this new way.
“It’s like editing your writing,” mentioned my inner sage. “You cut the fluff and get to the point. And you know for sure what you want to happen when you open your mouth.”
Benefits of intentions
•Freedom from concerns
It was 11am and I’d accomplished more than I often did in one day. How could that be?
“Momentum” said my brain. Now, I recognized, I could communicate directly with my wise self, bypassing my worrywart self. My inner fusspot might have put down my efforts or over-analyzed them. My sage self was smarter.
“Whenever you hold an intention you move toward it,” she said. “Without an intention, you sail off in any old direction. You are distracted by currents in the environment that send you all over the place. And you’re slow.”
Far from giving myself extra work to tax my brain and steal time, I’d powered up my capacity to get things done in non-complicated ways.
One reason my productivity grew stemmed from living in the moment. When I chose to do a job, I got on with it there and then. I didn’t look at my latest bank statement and stack it in a pile, as per usual when it arrived. I actually filed it. I didn’t think I’d like to start an online course. I began it. And that’s how my day continued.
You too can benefit from doing everything intentionally. Think about what you want the outcome of your thoughts and acts to be. Then craft what you do to meet your aims.
If your inner worrywart suggests it’s hard work, send it packing. Speaking, thinking, and behaving with intention does take effort initially. But it gets easier. And you can practice for a short while until you’re proficient and prefer longer sessions that stretch into entire days.
Remember too, your intentions need not always be about work and productivity. They can be about fun, peace, or something else. You can intend to relax, for instance. To let your mind wander or enjoy a movie.
But the point is, you do everything on purpose. You don’t let your thoughts and behaviors stray. Not unless you intend to daydream! So, even if you lie in the sun, you do it attentively. You tell your brain and body to relax. Instruct them to release tension and enjoy the sun’s warmth.
Because you’re focused on your intentions, everything will feel rich, purposeful, and have meaning. Your communication skills will improve. You’ll get things done. And the freedom from mindless worrying will feel like a vacation.
© Bridget Webber 2021