Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Get Dirty and Dig Deep- Setting Your Intention for the Month

Intention setting can be messy. It takes some real digging and it takes some real honesty. If you’re not ready to be honest with yourself, then you are not ready to grow. Of course we can set some generic intention for the day like, "I will be nice today." But that's bogus and we all know it. It's so surface level it's almost useless. 

Real life changing intention setting takes real life changing effort. It's a multi stepped process that requires our full attention and devotion to ourselves. The following are the steps that I follow for my short term intention setting process.

                So get out your notebook and get ready.


The first step of intention setting, reflection, can sometimes feel like ripping off a bandaid.
But, constructive reflection is one of THE most powerful tools for growth.

For the purpose of short term intention setting, I like to reflect on habits. I think about the habits and patterns I have fallen into for the past month and whether or not they helped me grow.

Let’s “pretend” I wasn’t getting to work out as much as I wanted to. (I totally wasn’t.)

I would think about that issue and be honest with myself on why I did not make it to the gym. Was it my schedule? Was it logistics? Was it pure unarguable laziness?

For the sake of being honest, I can say it was all of the above.

The gym is my most frivolous example, but when I reflect it private I often have some deeper habit I need to dig into. Why did I get into so many fights last month? Why was I late to every event? Were my relationships working well or did something screw up? 

Reflect, reflect, reflect, reflect.

Find a place to take some responsibility and reflect some more.

Now listen, I know the saying is don’t look behind you-the past is the past...yada yada... And I used to agree with that. But now I don’t. In fact, I think that’s a stupid concept. People who don’t want you to look to the past are ashamed of their own past and they’re not being honest with themselves.

Because the truth is our past can be embarrassing. When I think to the past about my relationships, how I let others treat me and talk to me, how I treated and talked to others- I still cringe with shame. But I can either acknowledge it and get better, or continue to be an asshole and get nowhere fast.

That’s why I like the term “constructive reflection.” The key word here is constructive. Something that is constructive has purpose and potential. If we reflect constructively, we are not looking at our past with negative judgement or shame.

Reflection is NOT a tool used to belittle yourself. Rather, it is a tool used to LEARN.

Future Planning

Once we’re done crying in the corner, I mean reflecting, it’s time to dust ourselves off and begin the future planning!

To plan ahead, I look at four categories.

1. Events 

I start off by listing all of the events I know are coming up this month. One of the most important things we can do to prepare ourselves for the month ahead is to know what events we are going to need to be present for. It doesn’t matter if these are huge events like a vacation or a wedding or if they are small events like a birthday or dinner with friends, write them all down. By planning for what's ahead you are actually allowing yourself to be more present in the moment. And we all know, presence is a present in itself!

For the month of August, I have a ton of events. I’m moving, I have multiple birthday’s, a bachlorette weekend, I'm starting grad school, and I have family visiting. That’s ALOT! By thinking ahead about the events, I’m preparing myself for all that’s coming my way and minimizing the "Oh shit I forgot!" moments. 

I don't know about you, but I hate "Oh shit I forgot!" moments. 

2. Worries

Hate to run the risk of getting on that negative train, but it’s time to think about the “worries.” We all have worries all the time. Let’s alleviate some of the worry for our future self by getting it out now. 

Like the old saying goes…
"Worry ahead, plan ahead, stress free later."

Ok, I made that up but it totally sounds like something Ben Franklin would say.

Personally, my major worry is about my routines.

I love routine.

I really love routine and with all that’s going on, I’m worried that I won’t be able to set a routine and IF I’m able to set the routine I worry I won’t be able to follow it.

It sounds silly but that’s a big deal. Routine has helped me so much in my ever extending transition into adulthood. Routine helps me be on time, be prepared, be present, be alert, be active and more. I’m greatful because routine has granted me the feeling of control and success in life. When I am not able to follow a routine, especially for an extended period of time, I stress out...hard. 

And we all know stress is a very very bad thing. 

When intention setting for the next month, it’s important that we think about everything that is coming up and be honest about our concerns. What are you worried about? Is it money? Time? Stress? 

Write all your worries down. And remember, no one has to see this so it’s in your best interest to be completely honest with yourself.

3. What are you looking forward to?

Now is our opportunity to get positive and find a center of gratitude. It's time to think about what we are most looking forward to.

For Me-I’m freakin stoked about this bachlorette weekend in Nashville. There’s going to be 22 ladies celebrating my friend’s future wedding by going wild in the country capitol of the world.

I’m also really excited about going to grad school. The thought of buying a new backpack and pencils makes my heart flutter with the joy of a thousand butterflies. Seriously, I’m that excited about school that I make ridiculous metaphors.

You know what's coming up, you got all of your worries out of the way, now get excited! And if you have nothing you see as exciting coming up in the next month, change it! Plan something exciting for yourself! Even if it's just a relaxing bubble bath on the 12th of August. Plan it and enjoy it. 

Having something to look forward to keeps us pushing and gives us an ever present air of excitement. I try to always have something exciting planned every month. 

4. What do you need?

Before we move on, take a glance down at your writing. Read over your reflection, your events, worries, and what you are looking forward to. Now its time to ask yourself, what do you need to make this next month great?

Now this is an important time to distinguish the difference between object and non-object needs.

For example, I’ve had my eye on a certain purse from a certain store for a while now, but this is not the time or place to determine that I NEED that purse. I want it and I want it bad-which is totally fine. But I often have to remind myself that it is in fact a want and not a need, no matter how much I can try to justify its extreme usefulness in carrying my new notebooks and pencils.

We're talking non object needs for intention setting. What are the non object things we need to be successful this next month?

For a lot of people, it’s time. And unfortunately, time cannot be negotiated in terms of hours of the day. But the hours spent? That’s something many of us CAN negotiate and choose not to. I worked many 9-12 hour days in the classroom and my biggest gift to myself was negotiating my time.

I also know that I very clearly need routine. With that, I also very clearly need to work on my flexibility when the routine is thrown off.

What are your needs? Do you need to negotiate your time? Do you need to pick up more or less hours at work? Do you need to make it to more Friday events with friends? Do you need more solo time for even deeper reflection? 

It’s determining these non-object needs that are going to determine our success for the next month.

Writing Your "I Will...." Statements

Now that you have done the dirty work, its time to set your intentions for the new month. 

I like to set my intentions with “I will..” statements.

In the classroom, we use something called “I can” statements which allow the students to know what they “can” do by the end of the lesson. In this case, we already know what we “can” do. 

The difference is stating and claiming what we “will” do.

Once I completed my reflection and planning for the month, my “I will” statements just seemed to roll off the pen. 

To be very honest, I had no intention on sharing my intentions with the world. Then I thought about it more and I realized, I didn’t want to share them because I was afraid of accountability. Well that and everyone knowing my business but, whatever.

So here they are. My intentions for August.

I will set routines for myself.
I will be flexible if the routine needs to change.
I will work hard, but I will not stress about money.
I will seek social events and say “yes” to more.
I will appreciate alone time and not feel guilty.
I will maintain confidence in my skills and abilities as they will attract opportunity.

Not for nothing but this blog sure holds me accountable simply with its presence.

Now it's your turn!

Tell me, how did your intention setting go? Share your "I will" statements with me! Tag @ninabiina on Instagram and hashtag #AugustIntentions. I'll also be sharing my progress there too so give me a follow and help hold me accountable! 

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Let's chase some sunshine together.



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