Posted by Seminal Wellness Team on 4/2/2023 to News
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep. Those are the three ingredients for a healthy life, right? It might be, but is that enough? Your life also needs to be fulfilling and purposeful. What is the foundation for growth and gratification? Intentionality. Intentionality is the aim to accomplish, achieve, and overcome grounded by a pivotal value, mission, or standard. Intentionality could be founded upon living a greener lifestyle, helping the kids in your community, or unflinchingly grasping the present. No intention is better than the other. All that matters is that you live each moment pursuing this intention and you're in an environment that enables you to actualize it. We must inhabit the Intentional Dimension.
Only after stepping back can you truly see what lies ahead.
Wait, the Intentional Dimension? Seriously, with work, family, and everything else, who has time? You do. The following six steps will guide you through how to make intentionality a seamless part of your routine.
Plan to Nurture Yourself
Note Your Priorities
Know, and never violate, that which is most important to you, regardless of pressures. Whether it is being there for your family, working for a company that gives back, supporting the environment, never compromise. And, remove yourself from environments, and separate yourself from people, who don't respect your values or even try to impede you from honoring them. And, you need to remind yourself of these "inviolables" and earnestly honor your sanctities. Write down your top three to five priorities at the beginning of each week, and write two ways that you'll fulfill each of them within the next seven days. At the middle of each week, check if you're making sufficient progress or make plans for satisfying your pledges before the end of the week. This is the first step of intentionality.
Plan to Nurture Yourself
Yes, making plans when speaking of intentions seems obvious; but, sedulously taking care of yourself, in the pursuit of your goal, may not be. No matter how ambitious your goal or how noble your objective, you cannot compromise on nurturing yourself—observing a healthy diet (please see our February blog post), making time to move, getting enough sleep, and getting downtime. The better you are to yourself, the better you can be to everyone else. Plus, you are actually more productive—more efficient, focused, and diligent—when you're rested and happy (Comsky, 2023). Even amid a hectic day or a tight deadline, take some moments to completely disengage—take a few deep breaths, play a quick game, text your bestie, etc.—then resume your work. You're not idling; your mind is still (unconsciously) working on a solution. You'll be surprised how quickly you come to newfound insights and devise creative solutions when you return. This is the second step of intentionality.
Surround Yourself with Support
Just as you should remove yourself from people or environments that don't help you fulfilling your priorities, you should only surround yourself with those who support you in meeting your standards. This by no means translates into surrounding yourself exclusively with like minds (or "yes people" if you are in a position of substantial organizational power), this only entails surrounding yourself with people who respect your values, and give you opportunities to defend them, prove them, and confirm their worth. At times, the best way to prove your value and standard is worthy is to interact with someone who has a diametrically opposite view. You will learn from the interaction, see different perspectives, and may gain confirmation about why your values and mission are so important. But, you need to be around people who will allow this, or those who regard you. If someone doesn't respect your values, they don't respect you. Move on accordingly. In surrounding yourself with support, you will also gain the resources to be even more effective, and may be inspired by even better ideas for pursuing your goals. Those who are motivated by mission, that which is beyond themselves, are the most productive and fulfilled (Kaufman, 2018). And, the motivation is contagious; you'll all be constantly driven to be better. This is the third step of intentionality.
Collaborate and Expand Your Skills
Now that you have noted your priorities, have planned for your goals and for your self-care, and have surrounded yourself with the right people, you have to collaborate with those who can help bring your goals to fruition. However, actualizing your aspirations often requires going outside your comfort zone, and even acquiring new skills, which may be daunting at first. This may involve going to unfamiliar locations and functions, becoming more technical, expanding your network and circle, or even conducting rigorous research. Don't be scared by any of this. Isn't your goal worth it? And, you will always have help along the way. You just need to ask the right people; and, with a noble intention, the Universe will always guide you to them. Collaborating and expanding your skills is the fourth step of intentionality.
Use Challenges as Motivation
Even with dutifully following the previous four steps, and assiduously pursuing your intentions, there will still be challenges. Sometimes these arise for you to adjust your plan or, honestly, for you to abandon them. Even if it is the latter (which is only under the most desperate circumstances), know you're abandoning your plans to implement superior strategies. Oftentimes, it's only after stepping back (Stein, 2019) that you can truly see what lies ahead. No matter the situation, always take challenges as opportunities, and see them as valuable chances to be better—learn more, do more, and be more. This is an opening to be better and more effective, with the appropriate changes. And, think about the strength you'll have after overcoming this challenge, and how you can be even more valuable to your loved ones and community. Challenges are often ways for the Universe to test you, and for you to prove, to yourself, just how important the goal is. The road will be arduous and there will be stumbling blocks; but, let every hurdle make you soar even higher. You owe it to the world, and, just as importantly, you owe it to yourself. Using challenges as motivators is the fifth, and among the most important, steps of intentionality.
Reflect on and Celebrate Your Progress
You gave an excellent presentation at work; you helped your daughter learn to code; you started on the first chapter of your novel...These would all be steps toward ambitious goals that should be acknowledged. The small victories prove that you can make this happen, and demonstrate that your aspiration is worth pursuing. And, even amid the harder moments, as discussed in #5, where you didn't quite meet your objective or when your goal even seems out of reach, always remember from where your strength comes. Even if "the world" says you can't accomplish this, remember that the Source is the only arbiter. The Universe has, is, and will always guide you. Rejoice in the wins, no matter how small, to keep yourself going, and to give thanks for the guidance you're getting.
This is not only the sixth step of intentionality; it is the fundamental step of intentionality. Even if nobody else acknowledges it, recognize when you're making progress (but, in surrounding yourself with support, #3, you'll always have those applauding how far you've come). When you celebrate your progress, you're motivated to go further and will have the energy to adjust your plans, if needed, to achieve an even more ambitious goal.
Perhaps, the Intentional Dimension is a state of staunch mindfulness, dedication, support, and camaraderie. You're opening the door. Welcome in.
Consky, M. (2023). Lack of breaks disrupts productivity, new study finds. https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/taking-breaks-at-work-new-study-shows-they-boost-your-productivity-1.6329580
Kaufman, S.B. (2018). Self-actualizing people in the 21st century: Integrations with contemporary theory and research on personality and well-being. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 63(1), 51-83. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167818809187
Stein, N. (2019). Challenge yourself to stay motivated. https://www.lark.com/resources/challenge-yourself-to-stay-motivated