When you see the word “intention,” what automatically comes to mind? Maybe you think of a time when you met with a friend and put your phone away in an effort to give undivided attention. In that case, you were listening with the intent of not only fully hearing the dialogue, but understanding it as well. Perhaps even with the intent of listening with empathy, therefore imagining what it would feel like to be living in their situation.
Having an intent is having a goal. Imagine starting a task with a goal in mind versus starting a task without a specific target to work towards. An example that immediately comes to my mind is cleaning. I often say, “today I’m going to do some cleaning.” And I do, but I often feel that I’ve left the task only half-done if I don’t clean absolutely everything around me. Doing so is just not realistic given my schedule! So instead of beating myself up for leaving a task “unfinished” I write goals. I write intentions. Today I’m going to clean my bathroom sink, countertops, and mirror. That way when I finish all three tasks, I can leave knowing I accomplished what I intended to, without feeling overwhelmed that I didn’t clean the entire bathroom.
Intention not only provides direction and focuses our behavior, but it also creates the opportunity to be more present in whatever we are doing. It is hard to do something aimlessly, but with full intention.
- What does “intent” mean for you?
- Think of a time when you walked into a situation or task with intent. How did it feel? What were the results? Compare a situation with intent to a situation without intent. What are the differences?
- What areas of your life have room for more intent?
- What makes it difficult to have more intent in daily tasks?
- If you woke up each day with full intent, how do you think your day would go?