Most of the time in my life, I have a tendency to coast along, unintentional. Maybe you can relate. You go through the motions at work, church, and in your relationships. Things aren’t going poorly per se, but you aren’t exactly at your best.
Easy to Lose Focus
Part of the problem is we have so many things going on in our lives, so it’s tough to focus our energy toward the task at hand. I’m not just talking about work, but other areas of our lives as well. I might be having dinner with my wife, for example, but also thinking about something that happened at work, the fact that I’ve been feeling sick, or something else.
What is My Intention Here?
One quick exercise that has helped me do life in a more purposeful way is to ask myself a simple question throughout the course of my day. It only takes a few seconds to ask and answer the question, but I have found it to be incredibly powerful.
Here’s the question: What is my intention here?
Intention has to do with our aim, plan, or purpose. Even in the little things, what do you want to have happen here? How do you want to show up in your life right now?
Acting with Intention
Here’s an example of how this worked for me the other day. I was heading to lunch with a good friend of mine. This is a friend I have known for quite a while, and it’s a very comfortable relationship. For me, it can be easy to just relax and shoot the breeze. Not that there’s anything wrong with relaxing and talking about whatever, but I don’t get to see him very often, and sometimes our time can pass without the conversation getting very deep. Sometimes I walk away from our interactions and wish I had cared for him better, or had shown more of an interest in how he was doing or what was really going on in his life.
As I walked over to meet my friend for lunch, I asked myself the question: What is my intention here? My intention during this lunch was to connect with my friend, and really love and care for him well. I wanted to show an interest in what was going on in his life, and support him right where he was at. That was my intention.
Asking myself the question about my intention helped to center me. I was more focused during the lunch on connecting with my friend and asking good questions. Because of this, I finished the lunch feeling good about our time together. I stayed true to my intention.
The Intention Habit
I’ve been starting to get in the habit of asking myself this question at various points in my day. Going to the gym: What is my intention here? Working on a writing project: What is my intention here? Spending time with my wife: What is my intention here? If you want something to improve or be different in your life, you have to hone in on what you want in the moment. Asking yourself this question of intention can help.
Discussion: As an experiment, try to ask yourself this question today: What is my intention here? Whenever you move on to a new activity during your day, ask yourself the question again. See if the question can help you center yourself and live your life in a more purposeful way.