How to Harness Intentionality to Change Your Life
January 5, 2023
I’m not a fan of the word “resolution” when it comes to making changes for the New Year because resolutions are finite. You make a resolution and then it ends. You either achieve it or you don’t. To me, this is why many people fail at their yearly “resolutions” – because they’re setting themselves up to fail.
Instead of resolutions, I believe we need to insert intentionality and habit forming into our goals to make change. But I’m not talking about short-term change; I’m talking about long term, sustainable change.
What I mean by this is that behind every choice is an intention. You choose to go for a run. Or not. Behind each of those choices is an intent. Your intention to run may be to get healthier. Your intention to not run may be because you’re feeling lazy. Or you’re too tired and you’ve prioritized resting over running. Either way, you chose not to run.
When you make a resolution, you’re not choosing to perform all of the necessary habits needed to sustain change. You’re choosing a single thing.
For many people, that single thing is to “get in shape”, but what usually happens is people are gung-ho about their new gym or new exercise for ten or twenty days and then they stop because they haven’t created any new habits to support their new activity.
They also typically choose a generic goal (get in shape), rather than a specific goal that they would enjoy (golf two times per week).
Using golfing as an example, if someone says they’re going to start golfing in the New Year, and they go four days in a row, they’ll likely get injured, be burnt out or they won’t have the stamina to continue the streak. It becomes an all or nothing proposition. Then that person goes four days without golfing, then five, then two weeks, and the cycle of a failed resolution continues.
But what if this person came at their goal to golf more with the intention of forming a sustainable habit instead? In that case, perhaps they’d sign up for yoga twice a week to gain and maintain flexibility and relieve pain in their swing.
And perhaps they’d revamp their diet to lose weight to take the pressure off aching knees and hips.
And even though there’s a golf cart, perhaps this person chooses to walk two miles every other morning to build up their strength and stamina.
And further, they choose to go to bed much earlier on nights before they golf to get adequate rest and sleep.
Then they begin to take supplements and make other choices to improve their energy and health.
At the end of all that, they commit to golfing just two days a week.
Now, which plan sounds more sustainable?
The one where a person goes from never golfing to golfing January 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th?
Or the plan where you’ve holistically made changes to increase your enjoyment of golfing: increased mobility and flexibility, regular walks to stay in shape, new diet to keep weight off, pain management, better sleep and a reasonable golf schedule.
The former is the “resolution” path that nearly always fails. That latter is the path of intentionality with a much higher chance of success.
In addition, the latter starts with your endgame in mind: a version of you that is happier and healthier and ready to play golf regularly, instead of the old you that isn’t prepared.
Whether you’re looking to take up golf, tennis, or even run a 10k, choose your plan with intention to create the sustainable change you need to not only achieve your goal, but to maintain the habits necessary to continue to improve.
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