In my last post, I talked about how setting your intention now is the ideal way to harness the power of the rest of the year. Spring is starting to ramp up now, and with it, the busyness and competing demands for our attention.
Simply put, it’s getting a little chaotic.
And it’s amazing how many people can’t clearly articulate their intention in the midst of chaos.
I’m convinced that the flaw with New Year’s resolutions is that most of us resolve to DO a thing. With an objective of doing, when not in the context of the bigger picture, it’s easy to say you’ll exercise more when you have the time. But by March, we’re already so busy with so little free time that squeezing in even 10 minutes of exercise feels like an impossible task.
The DOING doesn’t help us. The doing becomes the thing; it doesn’t give you enough leeway to be different, be human, and exercise creative problem solving.
Too often, we focus on the doing without a clear understanding of the intention which makes the doing — not the intention — the objective.
Exercising is not my intention; health is my intention. Exercise is a chore, and when it ceases to be fun, we soon realize that willpower is an exhaustible resource. When what we’re doing relies on willpower, rather than desire, it’s going to be an uphill battle. But when desire and intention are what motivates us, we have a far greater chance of success.
If you set the intention of being more healthy, you can always keep asking the question, “What can I do today? What can I do tomorrow?”
Does it have to be 30 minutes in the gym? Could you use the stairs instead of the elevator? Park farther from the mall? Walk the dog an extra quarter of a mile?
You have the freedom to continue to ask yourself different questions because your intention stays the same. You’ll be pleased to find that you can do a new thing each day in service of your intention, and it doesn’t have to feel like drudgery.
In my work with new clients, the heaviest lift is determining that more abstract, less tangible intention.
If I were a sales coach, it would be to walk into an organization and say, “let’s increase sales by 20%.” That intention is tangible. It’s easier and measurable.
Now, if all we did was push people to sell 20% more, they’re going to be more exhausted at the end of the time period we’re evaluating for results; they might have met the goal but had to push harder to achieve it, and now their recovery is going to be deeper (and that has its own costs).
But when you consider intention, you ask why it matters to sell 20% more.
So what’s your intention? Why do you want 20% more? Is it in service of greed? If so, recognize that you’ll see a lot of burnout and turnover, and you’ll constantly be rehiring and retraining people.
But if you’re not in it because of greed, if your intention is something bigger, with more motivation, then the 20% becomes flexible and, ironically, could result in 23% or 30% or 15% — but that 15% probably comes with infinitely happier, more loyal, less burned-out people working for you.
The results may ebb and flow from quarter to quarter, but you’ll find that the long-term health of your team is far better when working in service of an intention versus simply grinding toward a constant quarter-over-quarter increase of 20%.
Remember, willpower is a diminishing resource. The thing that drives willpower — and even exceeds willpower in its effectiveness — is desire and intention.
Be gracious with yourself and others. Know what your intention is and why it’s your intention, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful, meaningful year of growth.