How many texts, emails, calls, and social media notifications do you respond to every day? We've become a very reactive society.
We spend an average of 90 minutes a day engaging with our phone, which equals 23 days a year. We're constantly responding to every trigger.
What if we were to pause for just a moment, and take a breath? What if we were to shift gears back to a time when we weren't completely on edge, attached to our devices, constantly waiting for a notification from someone that may be trying to reach us?
We would gift ourselves the opportunity to live from a place of Intention. Living from a place of intention empowers us to take responsibility for our outcomes, without being at the mercy of stimulus coming towards us. A Mindset of Intention puts us back into the driver's seat.
We can not make changes in any aspect of our life until we reflect and realize that we have been in a reactionary mindset, or on auto-pilot... allowing life to happen to us rather than creating the life we want.
Many of us believe we are shackled to certain behaviors or outcomes, but in reality, we have more freedom to move in a different direction than we realize.
I've identified 4 aspects of your life where you can gradually shift into a Mindset of Intention.
Fitness. There have never been more options for taking responsibility for your physical fitness. From long-proven fitness programs in a traditional gym like Spinning and Pilates, to newer, stand-alone programs like Barre and Cross Fit, there is something for everyone. Your physical well-being is the single most important element of your overall wellness and happiness.
Your intentional call to action: Wherever you are in your level of fitness activity, commit to moving up one more level. There is no physical growth and transformation in your comfort zone.
Try something new. Add one more workout to your week. Extend your current workout duration. Partner up with a friend for accountability. Do one thing to achieve greater control over your physical well-being.
Food. We live in such a rushed, reactive state that we don't place much intention behind our dietary habits. Our consumption of take-out food is at an all-time high. Americans spend half of their food budgets at restaurants.
Yet mindless eating results in major health issues including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain. There are many strategies to regain control of eating habits, including using smaller plates, cutting our portions, and not multi-tasking when we are eating.
Your intentional call to action: Keep a food diary for one week to track your eating habits. Where can you make one positive change? For example, do you eat because of stress or boredom? Do you eat after 8:00 PM? Do you drink or eat a lot of sugar? Modifying just one of these habits can significantly impact your weight and overall health.
Removing soda from your diet is one of the most impactful dietary changes you can make. In addition to weight gain, soda contributes to metabolic syndrome, kidney problems, tooth decay, and osteoporosis. It's one of the single worst things we can put in our bodies. Can you commit to eliminating or reducing your soda intake?
Your Communities of Support. How much effort do you make to shape your communities of influence? What are your standards for both personal and professional support? If we don't intentionally set our standards for our communities of support, we default to standards set by others. These standards may not serve us.
Your intentional call to action: When did you last evaluate your inner circle? Do you have the right people close to you to help you move beyond specific challenges, or to help you achieve a goal? How aligned are your closest supporters and your most important goals?
Content: What You Read, Watch, and Hear. We are bombarded with content every moment of the day unless we choose to block it out. We must be intentional about our silence, and also about the external messaging coming at us through every medium. We can't even get in an elevator without being pitched a product or service, or being updated about a global crisis. Constant exposure to negative news impacts us psychologically, emotionally, and mentally. It influences our beliefs about our own lives and measurably increases our anxiety.
Your intentional call to action: How intentional are you regarding the stimulus coming towards you throughout the day? What do you listen to in the car? If you work in a public place, how are you controlling the stimulus? (I carry headphones with me everywhere, and tune into the Focus Genre of Spotify when I'm working in a public space.)
What stimulus do you allow into your home? On a typical workday, commit to giving some thought about the impact external stimuli is having on your energy.
You can apply a mindset of intention to all aspects of your life. These 4 aspects are great starting points to regain control when we have so many external forces pulling us in so many directions. You have greater control over your outcomes - and therefore your happiness - than you realize.