4 ways to be intentional about your goals and set yourself up for long-term success
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
What does it mean to "be intentional" when it comes to improving our health and wellness?
"An intention is the quality of consciousness that you bring to a deed or words. It's an energy...It's your motivation that creates consequences... the consciousness or energy behind the motivation is going to determine the effect that occurs."
The Wisdom of Sundays | Oprah Winfrey
We can be intentional in many areas of our lives: reorganizing desk space to improve mental clarity or making an effort to reach out to an old friend. Being intentional about our health is a great way to reach our goals; when we are intentional and purposeful in our daily habits, we make choices that we feel good about.
So how do we go about being intentional? Whether you've got your goals lined up, or you're looking into doing something new, these 4 tips will help you be intentional about getting things done:
1. Jot it down
Studies show that writing down goals keeps us more accountable. In writing things down, we define what we want--- Start your day with a quick journal entry, listing 1 or 2 goals you want to accomplish before the end of the day. The goals could be very simple or things you've wanted to do for a while.
2. Plan it out - and be SMART about it
By now, I'm sure you've heard of SMART goals... but for good reason! Making goals "SMART" is essential in moving toward a realizable finish line.
Specific - Clearly define your goal. The who, what, why, when and how.
Measurable - How will you know (concretely) you've met your goal? Im talking percentages, numbers: an objective measure.
Attainable - Weigh the costs of attaining your goal, and decide if it is feasible and realistic.
Relevant - Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will be the impact?
Time-based - Set a timeline and stick to it. Build in checkpoints and an endpoint and assess your progress.
3. Grab a partner
Research shows accountability is a major driver in helping people achieve their desired goals. In addition to personal accountability (journaling), by being accountable to another... a friend, spouse, relative, coworker... you harness the power of social expectations. When you tell your spouse your plan to add a vegetable to your lunch every day and why doing so is important to you, you commit to that goal verbally, increasing the likelihood of sticking to it.
An even better way to keep yourself accountable is by committing to a routine with another. By joining forces with that friend or relative, you implement structure around your goal, and a system for measuring and recording progress. Each party will feel accountable to keep its promise--- fueling you both toward your desired goals.
4. Enjoy the Ride
Things change... be flexible! Adjusting with change is critical to meeting your goals without becoming discouraged. There is often no single route in getting to the finish line, and, more importantly, the details are in the detours. Paying attention throughout your journey and intentionally embracing unexpected situations with a positive mindset will help make the ride more enjoyable. You never know what you might learn along the way.
Whatever you do--
do it well and by design