Day 10 – Acting With Intention
Diving into a new routine is always difficult. Consider this, the conventional wisdom is that it takes 21-days to create a new habit. To this I would suggest that it takes exponentially longer if that habit is really not something you WANT to do, and considerably shorter if it is. Consider this: committing to a new exercise program is significantly different than committing to eating a Twinkee every day. The pay off of that sugar rush, that creamy goodness, really doesn’t take long for the brain to say, YAS!
We spend so much of our lives running on autopilot. Don’t believe me? At some random point during your commute pay attention to where you have your hands on your car’s steering wheel or the wear pattern on your brake pedal or how you’re holding your phone as you listen to music. You haven’t even thought about it, but there it is. Your foot is in the same spot where the wear pattern shows it will be. “Just a minute” becomes 15 or 20 because you find yourself engrossed in Candy Crush or some other mindless time killer phone app. What can possibly be more demotivating than heading to bed at the end of the day and realizing that you have accomplished nothing of value? That’s why we look forward to New Years so much – a new year, a new opportunity to make a difference; yet by December 30th we’ve not done what we’ve set out to do because we’ve failed to act with intention.
What can you do to help yourself do this? Remove sources of temptation. If Twinkees are the nemesis to your goal, avoid having them in the house; if it’s alcohol, avoid situations where you’ll have temptations.
Define your “WHY.” Why is this thing worth accomplishing. For me, I have a fitness goal to achieve. Why? Because my kids look to me as a role model. I can either be a positive, a negative, or neutral role model in their lives. I want, more than anything, to be a positive role model. I see myself as someone who does not quit, therefore I will not quit this fitness program.
It helps to set micro goals or benchmarks along the way. We make the mistake every January of saying “I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year,” and then come December 1 when we haven’t lost any weight, we have the guilt of another lost year and another failed goal. How about “I’m going to lose a pound a week for 20 weeks” or even better “I’m going to eat 500 less calories a week.”
Our modern lives are so complex, and we’re urged to take the simplest course to a decision. Stop and consider those choices. Act with intention, consider why you’re making these choices. Take control of your life just through the simple act of considering what you’re doing.