What does it mean to live with intention? I suspect that the answer is different for all of us. For me, it means living my life on purpose, choosing to plan what I’m going to accomplish every single day and holding myself accountable to following my plan.
In the past, I had tried to start with a yearly goal or resolution and break that down to daily goals, but I always gave it up after a month. My brain threw up obstacles left and right and I finally would give in and quit.
This time, I started by writing down three goals that I was going to accomplish for the day. I was realistic about these three goals and made them totally doable no matter what happened in my day. I held myself accountable and did after action reviews every day to figure out what I was thinking when I either did or did not follow my plan for the day. I didn’t beat myself up, but rather looked at it from a curiosity and learning perspective. I also kept track of how many days I accomplished all three goals so that at the end of the week I could see how I did.
I did this daily process until I got really good at holding myself accountable to my three goals. It took about three months. Then I expanded to three goals I wanted to accomplish for the week and the three goals for the day that helped me achieve my weekly goals (3 x 3).
I got really good at that and then expanded to the three goals I wanted to accomplish for the month and three goals for the week that helped me meet my monthly goals and then three goals for the day that helped me meet my weekly goals (3 x 3 x 3).
I’m currently working on the yearly level (3 x 3 x 3 x 3). I have three goals for the year, that break down into three goals for the month, that break down into three goals for the week, that break down into three goals for the day.
I used the philosophy of 1% improvement in what I did. I started where I was. I made my goals totally realistic and then incrementally made them 1% more challenging. I defined my goals in terms of minimums to remove all excuses from accomplishing them. For example, I started out with a 5 minute daily exercise goal. No matter what, I did the 5 minutes. Usually I did more, but there were definitely days where I didn’t feel like doing it, but I did the 5 minutes.
I encourage you to give this process a whirl. Don’t let your brain tell you that you are not accomplishing enough if you are only planning three daily things. There’s something about the number three that our brains really like once you get going. Consistency will win the race every time. Do the math, you’ll see what I’m saying.