Check out my latest Mindset Column in the “Out and About Issue” of az-lifestyle.com on how to get moving again and accomplish all the things you’ve been wanting to do, just by setting your intention!
Setting Your Intentions and Getting Motivated…
Spring has sprung (or is at least close to springing) and it’s time to get going with those New Year’s resolutions that are quickly becoming stale. What is it you want to do? Are the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year still something you want to do or is it time to modify and recharge? Whatever the answer may be it’s time to set your intentions, get up from the couch and move forward with purpose in the direction you want to go. What’s stopping you?
Unfortunately, all too often when we look towards our future, we worry. Why do we do that? Interestingly, for most of us, worry is typically an attempt to control through anticipation anything bad that could happen. The problem is, not only does it not control for that, it actually points us in the direction of our worries, leading us where we don’t want to go and leaving us feeling more out of control. Even worse, our fears can stop us in our tracks and keep us from moving forward towards what we really want.
Of course, we don’t intentionally want that to happen. We worry out of habit, usually in an automatic mindless state. What happens if instead we catch ourselves worrying and purposely redirect our attention from what we don’t want to happen onto what we do want to happen? What happens if we intentionally decide to point our arrow where we want it to go, rather than where we’re fearful it will go? The answer is, of course, we’re more like to achieve our goals, get what we want, and feel more in control. That sounds good to me. How about you?
Our brain actually reflects these actions. An area of our cortex, called the anterior cingulate gyrus, helps us set our intentions and make reasoned decisions. The amygdala, the hub of our emotional motivation located in our limbic system, can help activate us to move towards our goals. When things are working right, our neurons in the anterior cingulate gyrus and in the amydala actually fire in synchrony with one another, giving us that wonderful feeling that all is well and helping us to achieve our goals…our reason and emotion working together.
You can set your intention for any situation, big or small. When you wake up in the morning, set your intention for the day. Do you want to stay nonreactive in the midst of chaos, have fun, or face a challenge with calmness? Before you enter a meeting, have an important conversation with your spouse, or go on a trip, think about setting your intention about what you would like to have happen and how you would like to behave. Be careful of setting your intention for how you’d like other people to behave or react. Setting your intention aimed at others will almost always lead to failure, as you have no control over anyone but yourself.
Consider paying attention to where you are now, what you want, and where you want to go. When the mind is wandering onto possible negative future scenarios, the head starts hurting, the stomach starts aching, the neck and back get sore, ask yourself, “how is it helping me now to focus on my worries?” Remind yourself that you are the one in control of your thoughts, and of your life, and that when you focus on what you hope will happen you will necessarily feel better. Then redirect your thoughts on how you would like things to be, and allow yourself to take steps, no matter how small, in that direction. Think how good that could feel? Now, this doesn’t mean that bad things won’t happen or that there won’t be obstacles along your path. It means that those challenges won’t deter you, if you can allow yourself to keep your eye on your goals.
How to Aim Your Arrow:
- Purposefully decide to set your intention
- Sit quietly and focus on what you want
- Focus your intention on yourself and not on someone else
- Speak it out loud
- Write it down
- See it happening in your minds eye
- Return to it purposefully, again and again
- Keep track of it…allow it to take its own shape
- Don’t let yourself be hijacked by your fears, inattention, or judgments
You can accomplish whatever you put your mind to…so pay attention to where you’re putting your mind!
Be happy and well,
- Daily Intention Challenge (livingalimitlesslife.wordpress.com)
- Intentionally Intentional (treenewt.wordpress.com)
- Action Initiation in the Human Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex (plosone.org)
- How to Maintain Motivation for a New Exercise Regime (epicahealth.com)
- Goodbye Resolutions and Goals. Hello Intentions! (dancurtis.ca)
- 2 MAR 13 – Setting Intention Helps Achieve Goals (henritan.wordpress.com)
- Start with the words . . . “I can!” when approaching your next challenge (damienschulze.com)
- A Simple Guide to Creating Momentum in Your Life (mylittleblackpen.wordpress.com)
- Talking Towards Togetherness (intuitivepsychology.wordpress.com)
Voted Editors Pick in PaperBlog in March 2013