The Need For Intention
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 20, 2016
Some weeks ago my wife came home to spend a weekend with me, as she travels for her work. We were looking at some numbers on her Fitbit app when I noticed she had something I didn’t show.
For those of you who don’t know, Fitbits are portable step trackers you can wear on your sleeves or like a regular pedometer. You use an app on your phone to sync with it to capture all the information you’re looking to track, and it gives you other information at the same time.
My wife had something that showed a pair of feet and a number of hours. Its purpose was to track how many hours, based on your own settings, you walked at least 250 steps. It’s purpose is to remind us that we need to get out of our chairs and onto our feet to move at least a few minutes every hour.
I added this feature to my phone, but instead of 9 hours I decided to go for 14. Since I’ve started following it I’ve made my goal to be to see if I can hit 14 of 14 rather than the number of total steps in a day. This gives me a mental break during those times when I’d normally be sleeping and a time period where I should be taking a mental break; whether I do or not is up to me.
The funny thing about this is that, though I’m only required to walk 3,500 steps a day based on this plan, I’ve been averaging 17K steps instead, often topping 20K steps. I’m hitting the 14 hours I’m scheduled for about 3 times a week, because we can’t always keep total control of our schedules.
I tell this story to help me get into the reason why I’m talking about the need for intention. Throughout my life I’ve found that when I go into things with intention I tend to not only achieve my goals but often surpass them. When I don’t… well…
When I don’t it takes a long time to get things completed.
When I put out my 2nd book on leadership last year titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, it actually was the culmination of a project I started 2 1/2 years earlier. I was pretty much floundering, allowing everything else to get in the way of my completing it. When I finally decided it was time to sit down and get it completed, it took me only a couple of weeks to get it done; intention!
For months I wondered about my falling traffic on this blog and others and figured it would take care of itself. Eventually I realized that wasn’t going to happen and so I spend about 3 weeks working on my mobile speed issues for all of my websites and now all of them are humming along; intention!
I find these days that I often need to schedule my intentions, first by logging them and then setting alarms to remind me to start working on them. The funny thing is that it’s not only for work purposes that I need to do such a thing.
I have alarms scheduled to go off twice a day to remind me to eat and take my medication. I sometimes have to set alarms to remind me to take breaks and get away from the computer, and not just to walk a few steps.
I even have to schedule alarms for phone calls I need to make, because otherwise I’ll stay engaged in other things and keep forgetting to do what I know needs to be addressed, but also know is going to take me away from what I happen to be doing at the time… sometimes knowing it’s just “busy work”.
I find that intention keeps my steady in other areas as well. For instance, something as small as picking up a piece of paper that’s on the rug in my living room takes intention because, like many men, I’d tend to pass it by and tell myself “I’ll get it later”. I’ve gotten into the habit of stopping and picking up change on the sidewalk or in the road (when it’s safe) because intention reminds me that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”
Most of us go through our days pretty much following routines we’ve gotten used to, whether it’s in our personal or work lives. Intention allows us to deviate from the norm. Intention encourages us to interact with others. Intention helps us become better leaders. Intention helps us focus on our short and long term goals.
Intention also helped me to write this article. What do you think about the process of intention and what do you do to reinforce it?