How to Ride the Storm by Living with Intention

by Nov 9, 2019Emotional Health, Self-Knowledge

How’s your life going, mate?

Are you accomplishing everything you’re setting out to do, or do you often find yourself bounced around like a boat at sea among stormy waves? If it’s the latter, you’re certainly not alone. 

Living with intention is an important step toward achieving emotional and relational wellbeing.

An intention is a goal or vision that guides your activities, thoughts, attitudes, and decisions. It provides focus on what we do and the direction we’re headed.

It also creates a sense of purpose and motivation to live the type of life we desire. Without it, well, stormy seas > boat.  

The thing is, most of us start off with good intentions – but if we don’t have the tools to make them more than just a thought, we don’t get very far. Here are the skills you need to overcome that:

Catalog your priorities.

It’s way too easy to get distracted in our daily lives and not achieve our goals at the end of the day/week/month/year. Often, we’re not even aware that we’re allowing the insignificant to take precedence over our goals. We must place our priorities above all the daily reactiveness.

Don’t hesitate to put your phone on “do not disturb” to set aside a certain time to respond to texts, phone calls, social media, emails, etc. Small steps taken every day will help you achieve your goal. Allowing daily distractions to derail you will not. Realize, not everything is of equal importance.

Cultivate mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a skill that helps you immerse yourself in the present moment. It allows you to focus on just one thing at a time and enjoy it to the fullest (or at least tolerate it, knowing it will pass). Being mindful will help you realize when your mind is not focused on the task at hand, when you are thinking sabotaging thoughts, or when you are experiencing strong emotions.

With mindfulness, we can be aware without judgment or the tendency to overreact. If we’re not overreactive, we don’t have a mess to clean up later.

Studies have shown that mindfulness can lead to greater job satisfaction, less stress, improved relationships, enhanced well-being, and it can reduce mind chatter. We can cultivate mindfulness through meditation – setting aside a few minutes a day to just sit with our eyes closed and breathe, without thinking. If the mind starts to wander, simply return to non-thinking.

We can also do this through guided meditations. There are many good apps and books to assist beginners with this.    

Be yourself. 

Stop comparing yourself to others. You never truly know what someone’s life is like aside from the parts they choose to show you.

Appreciate your uniqueness and be thankful for the things you have and the goals you’ve been able to accomplish thus far.  

Discover your purpose. 

Find your passion. Do things that fulfill you daily. Even if you’re just working small moments of it into your schedule.  

Adjust and readjust your expectations.

Have reasonable expectations and reassess them when conditions change. Focus on the positive. Expectations are a funny thing – you’ll find whatever you expect to find, so it’s best to have positive thoughts.      

Take a minute.

Take a minute (or a few seconds, if that’s all you have) to just breathe before responding to something (or someone) challenging, or before saying yes to something. Choose your response carefully, if one is needed at all.

Slay overthinking by delegating a time and a place.

Yeah, we all get burdened by thoughts about work, family, health, and other stressors. Overthinking isn’t healthy. When you find your mind thinking about work during your off-hours or family matters during your workday, just bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on that moment and the task at hand. You’ll have more clarity and less overwhelm if you can get overthinking in check.

Look, we all have good intentions. The tools here will help you achieve a life aligned with your goals. They’ll help you be the pilot of your destiny – choosing where to focus your efforts – instead of just being on autopilot.  

A word of caution:  sometimes, this can leave you a bit out of sync with others. As we catalog our priorities and apply mindfulness to the things that have the most significance in our lives, some habits and relationships will naturally be discarded.

Don’t allow other people’s opinions or displeasure over this derail you from your path. Focus your energy on your priorities and keep moving forward in the direction of your goals.

Need more help with this issue? You’re not alone. Let’s connect for a complimentary, 20-minute phone consultation.