I’m big on intentionality. To put it plainly, I’m referring to the act of doing things by choice over chance, or happenstance.
That said, I’m not under the illusion that there aren’t times where things have to be done which, given the choice we would rather not do them. That said, I also don’t believe that we have to live every single moment of our lives in reactionary mode. Reacting to whatever “life” seems to throw our way. Sadly, far too many people do just that.
Why you ask?
Because they don’t commit to being intentional — and accept that while doing the things they would like to do may require adjustments in their schedules, changes, or other inconveniences — the fact remains that they do have the option of making those changes and seeing the results they would if they would only do so. That doesn’t mean it is going to be easy. Nor does it mean it won’t take a certain degree of sacrifice. Positive life change, and growth isn’t about taking the easy road. If it were it wouldn’t require change now would it?
Below I’m going to share three things I do every day which introduces intentionality into my life. These things have a profound impact on my life. When I do them my day flows — and when I neglect to do them — as I confess I do at times — I can usually tell a difference in the ebbs and flow of my day.
Before I go further I want to be clear that the last thing I’m trying to do in sharing the ideas below is to attempt to convince you that if you’ll simply adopt these ideas any and all problems or challenges you might be experiencing will magically fade away and your life will be all roses and daisies. That’s simply not the way life works. Instead, what I hope to do is share something I do, which you may or may not decide to implement. Try it all, bits and pieces of it, or none at all. Quite frankly the choice is yours. After All, we’re talking about being intentional — and as such it’s your choice to make… or not. Whatever you do decide — make an intentional choice and give it a chance to see how it works for you. Life’s a test — you never know it might be a life changer 🙂
I also want to point out that my life is fluid. And yours is too. Which means that the ideas below aren’t necessarily things I’ve done all my life. Who knows, some of them I may change up overtime. So please understand that at the time of this writing what follows is how I start my day off for optimal results…
1. Upon waking up I pray and give thanks for all that’s going right in life. Here I’m talking gratitude and appreciation. Plain and simple. I’ve been blessed with an incredible life filled with some truly amazing life experiences. I have had some absolutely fabulous people in my life. That’s not to say there aren’t ups and downs. Things which for whatever reason don’t work out. So called “sure things” that simply don’t come to fruition.
Of course we all experience such times, at varying degrees. And I’m definitely no exception to that. And heck, I even wrote a book called, It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG. So see, if a guy who wrote a book on Living BIG can admit to having times where he doesn’t feel as though he’s living so “Big” it’s OK that we all have those ups and down times. What isn’t acceptable, nor true for that matter is that we buy into the lie which is trying to tell us that things “never go our way”, that “only the rich get richer”, “a limited group of people is trying to keep us down” — you name it, insert whatever it is you’re telling yourself that’s allowing you to stay stuck in that broken victim mentality.
Look, it’s true, sometimes things do happen out of our control. Still, it is always within our control as to how we are going to react to that. And that little thing — the choice in how we react makes all the difference. Because in that difference we can find the thing which allows us to grow through it, and yes, emerge better for having gone through it. And friend, make no mistake, there’s always a lesson to be gleaned from each and every experience we go through — positive or negative in nature.
The thing we have to keep in mind is that unless we hold true to that idea that there is a lesson to learn — we can’t ever hope to find it. Because we will move straight into a place of resentment, or victimhood. Bypassing the lesson entirely as a result.
With all that said…
When I start in prayer and giving thanks for all the good things, life lessons, etc. I reconnect with what has happened in my life that is “good and right.” I get to be intentional about what I’m focusing in on. Sure, there are things I could pull up from my life, bad decisions I’ve made, misguided decisions, right decisions that for whatever reason did not lead to the results I was sure they would. I could give those things power very easily. And if I weren’t intentional about focusing just on the things I’ve got to be thankful for, and praying to GOD for what I hope for, and equally as importantly in my opinion praying for the needs of others, I would probably get sucked into thinking about all the things that didn’t go right. Which would inevitably lead me towards a feeling that nothing ever goes right, which as you can imagine would only take me further down the rabbit hole until something interrupted that line of thinking, that pattern. In short, I choose to start my day in a place that is far more likely to serve me in a positive way. Give it a try, it’s the number one thing I do upon waking up, and before even getting out of bed for a reason. I have found that life is so much more rich when I begin this way.
2. Mindfulness meditation. Guided meditation & breathing. A minimum of 5 minutes or more.
For me, this is a pretty simple practice. I visit a website where they let you listen to some free mindfulness meditations. They all vary in lengths. I won’t even begin to explain all the degrees of positive impact this practice has on me — and how it works. I’ll just say that I’m much more relaxed when I take the time to do it. I should also say that you can find lots of mindfulness videos on youtube and that’s a resource I use to listen to one quickly during my day. Sometimes I’ll also integrate my own point of focus during the meditation time, and in my case I’ll just choose to focus on GOD, and give HIM thanks. I won’t get all detailed, nor let my mind wander to things of the past or future. After all, that’s kind of the point of mindfulness, to be in the present with a clear mind 🙂 Again, I’m not advocating this per se’ I’m just sharing something I do, which I have seen make a real impact on my life. If you decide to give it a try, you certainly don’t have to make the tweak I sometimes do. Again, there are no “right or wrongs” in terms of what I’m sharing. Others, far more studied in this area than I am may say so, but that’s not my intention in sharing here.
3. Exercise / walk. I spend the first part of my walk just processing all the content I take in throughout my day. If I’m up for it that particular day I will listen to a podcast or music. Whichever I decide on I always spend the first part of the walk just being quiet and processing what is running around in my mind.
When I am talking about “content” I am not necessarily referring to everything we take in during the day. Not the commercials or ads, meaningless tv shows, etc. I’m referring to those things we can gain some knowledge from if we can manage to process them, and internalize the lessons in them.
For example, in my daily routine I take in a LOT of content in the form of podcasts, articles, contributed guest posts, consulting & coaching calls. It’s true that I am processing those things in “real-time” as they are happening — that said, I find that often, when I am on my walks they further flesh themselves out. I do keep my phone handy (which gives me easy access to a note taking app) so I can record whatever thoughts comes to me that I would benefit from saving for later recall. When I come back from my walk I immediately eat breakfast. Sometimes, on the rare occasion I’ll eat a light breakfast before I walk, but for the most part it’s afterwards. That’s just my personal preference. I don’t claim to have any “master reason” for doing so. It just works for me on most days.
Perhaps the ideas above have resonated with you, or not, in either case you won’t hurt my feelings. As I have said my point in sharing is to give you ideas which you may find helpful along your personal journey towards living a BIG LIFE.
Finally, I want to point out that after I have finished the three items mentioned above I’ll go right into whatever the rest of my day is comprised of. Perhaps I’ll give you a glimpse into how I plan out, and maneuver through the later part of my day at some future date.
I’m curious, how do you begin your day & what things do you do that help to ensure you’re operating at your peak?
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