One of life’s under-rated stressors is battling with your good intentions. You want to eat healthy, lose weight, save money, spend more quality time with your family, take time to meditate and exercise, help out at church, clean up the basement, the list can get quite long. . . yet all the other tasks and demands in life and work often take you away from these good intentions. Or they leave you little time and energy to pursue them. In this brief article, we’ll explore five tips to remember and follow through on what is most important to you.
That phrase “what is most important to you” is a great starting point. Sometimes our good intentions get pushed aside because we haven’t clearly defined what is most important to us or gotten clear on exactly what actions we need to take. So, let’s start there.
Tip #1: Clearly define what is important to you and what actions you need to take
I suggest you take a few moments to write down one top priority that you haven’t been following through on, along with the specific actions you need to take to do that. For example, if you want to lose weight, “I will focus on eating protein and vegetables, drinking water, limiting sugars and starches and taking a 20 walk at lunch-time every day.”
Tip #2: Start your day with conscious intention and end the day with a brief review
A great way to start your day is to take a few moments when you first wake up to set your top priorities. For many people it can be helpful to begin with a little meditation or prayer to get in the right state of being. Then, you can follow that by bringing a top priority to mind along with the actions you will take to move forward on that today.
At day’s end, before going to sleep, briefly review your top priority and the actions you took or didn’t take. See if you can do this without judging yourself as a failure, just note what you did and how it went or what you didn’t do and why. Then, you can set an intention for tomorrow that may include revising the actions you will take based on what you learned today.
Tip #3: Post reminders
We all get caught up in what we’re doing and forget our good intentions, if we don’t find ways to remind ourselves. A great technique is to post reminders where you’ll see them, like your bathroom mirror, car dashboard, day-timer or electronic schedule, or wherever you’ll see them at the right moment . Set timers to go off, write your notes in bold colors, and do what you need to do to call your attention back to your intentions.
Tip #4: Check in with yourself on the hour
No matter what your priorities in life, it’s important to periodically check in with yourself and see where you’re at. This week, I had a client who told me she is going to check in each hour, do a minute of deep breathing to relax herself, and then make sure she is on track with her priorities for the day. That’s a great idea! Set times to check-in with yourself.
Tip #5: Schedule self-care activities
One of the top priorities that often gets pushed aside is time for self-care. It’s so easy for work tasks, family responsibilities, and pretty much anything someone else needs to get in the way of your own, daily, self-care. Yet consider this: you will do everything else better, if you care for yourself first.
So make sure to schedule prayer and meditation, exercise, gardening, artwork, check-ups, meetings with friends, relaxation, rest, and whatever else is important for you to be at your best. Then keep that appointment with yourself like you would any other important meeting. You’re worth it!
I’d love to hear any of your best strategies for remembering your good intentions in the Comments below.