Most people fail to achieve their desired outcome, not because they lack the ability to do so, but rather because they are short on the fortitude to remain intentional in their given pursuit or endeavor.
Being intentional is really as simple as having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, really knowing why you have deemed it worth your time and effort, and identifying what steps you’re going to take each day that will ultimately move you closer to where you want your life to go. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. Don’t mistake simple for easy though. It will take effort. And that’s a good thing really, because as you move through the day to day tasks you’re going to be motivated along the way by everything you overcome that’s moving you closer to your intended destination. Simply put, when things are too easy — it’s very easy to become bored and end up not doing those day to day activities which are required to get us to the pinnacle of accomplishment that we are after.
Without a plan, without intentionality, we are like a ship at sea, floating aimlessly, waiting for the waves to move us whichever way they see fit to do so. That’s a pretty grim description isn’t it? Fortunately it doesn’t have to be your reality so long as you are willing to be an active participant in your own success journey.
So that I’m not just spouting off a bunch of theory here for you I’ll share some practical ideas you can put into practice in your daily routine. If you will put them to use you’ll join those that go from wishing things were better, to a person who understands that they have in them the ability to do what’s required to create positive changes in their own lives.
Here are the 6 Steps for Living Intentionally Each Day:
1. Begin each day in gratitude
This one may sound a little rah-rah to you, but it can really make a big difference with regards to how our overall day goes. Beginning each day from a place of gratitude has many benefits. Not the least of which is that we are forced to realize that there are good things happening in our lives. No matter how hectic things might appear, we do in fact have things to be grateful for. That in and of itself can make a big difference when facing the day ahead.
I like to think of it as rebalancing the things that are happening in my life. When we reconnect with the many reasons we have to be grateful, we inevitably come to realize that we have much to be thankful for. Just as we met with success in the past, so too can we expect to overcome whatever current hurdles we might be facing. It really is a great way to set the tone for your day.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson
2. Get some exercise
I’m not suggesting marathons or even anything heavy duty here (unless that’s your thing). As for me, I have found that going for a walk or jog shortly after waking up does wonders and literally pays dividends throughout my entire day. I used to put my earbuds in and listen to music or catch up on podcasts. I still do that sometimes, but recently I’ve begun splitting my exercise time, using the first part to enjoy silence and the second part to listen to some music or a podcast (i.e. learning time).
I find that starting out in silence allows all the thoughts that are running through my mind to germinate and work themselves out. I also like to use that time to strategize my day ahead, or projects I have to work on. I do keep a pad or use the note taking app on my phone to write the important thoughts that come to mind for later recall. Needless to say you want to consult with your doctor before taking on any exercise routine, but assuming you’re able this is one thing that can really be helpful.
This really is a terrific way to reconnect with what success means to you. As I said before, it’s important that you have a clear definition of what achievement looks like to you. It would amaze you just how many people run through their daily lives never fully celebrating their accomplishments along the way. One of the surest ways to avoid that is to track your day to day progress and have a mechanism for tracking your progress. Your journal allows you to do just that.
4. Write down your daily To Do/Actions List
Prioritize the things that when completed will give you the greatest results and outcome. Remember that not all things are created equal when it comes to achievement. For example, let’s say your position in the company or business you work in requires you to do both administrative related tasks, as well as generating revenue, or calling on clients to make sales.
Certainly, it would be important to accomplish everything that was required of you, but you would do well to give the income producing activities priority in just about every instance. To give another example, in my business it would be very easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks that pop up. While things like checking email, replying to requests, editing contributed articles and such are important, and need completing.
It’s much more important that I give priority to activities such as personal writing, scheduling newsletter issues to go out, making contacts with industry colleagues, and working with consulting clients. In short, I don’t neglect the less important items I identify that need doing, I just prioritize things by level of importance and am careful to delegate the things others can do. Look for opportunities to do the same in your life and you are sure to benefit as a result.
5. Make time for learning
Be intentional (there’s that pesky word again!) about learning and improving your skillsets. We are either learning and open to new things or we’re getting stagnant. I’m not saying you have to fill your mind with worthless facts about things which hold no interest to you. What I’m suggesting is that you commit to learning something new in your given profession, or an area you’re passionate about. Doing this on a consistent basis can move you into expert territory which can open up all sorts of new life opportunities. Plus, you get to grow your knowledge along the way.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
6. Review your daily progress and rewrite the next days To Do / Actions List
This really speaks for itself. It’s one thing to identify what needs to be done, and why, but unless you keep those things front and center as a reminder it will be too easy to get sidetracked. I’m big on the saying, “what gets our attention, gets done, more often than not.”
Remember that being intentional really gets down to making the decision to live your life with the realization that you have the choice to either live in reactionary mode, that is, reacting to things that life throws your way, or you can follow the steps shared above and lead an intentional life.
One that you plan out, take the necessary actions on, adjust to as needed, and ultimately feel a heck of a lot more accomplished for having made the decision to live your life in this way.
Remember, it’s your life, LIVE BIG! Thank you for reading my article!
6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed
Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)
How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost
A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.
Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.
Why Problems Overwhelm Us
As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?
Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.
How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.
Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.
Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie
How to Take Action in the Face of Problems
Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”
In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”
To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:
1. First, I acknowledged the feeling
Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”
Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.
2. Next, I prepared for the worst
We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.
In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.
The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.
“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Lastly, I examined the situation
Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.
I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.
Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.
The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.
Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.
Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.
How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!
8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing
You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.
Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.
With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.
Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.
2. Stay Physically Active
As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.
You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.
“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman
3. Get Sufficient Sleep
Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.
Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.
4. Develop a New Hobby
Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.
Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.
5. Eat Healthy
Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.
Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.
6. Laugh Your Heart Out
Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.
And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?
7. Try Relaxation Techniques
‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.
Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.
“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy
8. Count Your Blessings
We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.
You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.
There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.
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The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life. (more…)
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