A friend of mine recently posted a video on her Facebook page. It was shot at a yoga and music festival in Santa Monica, California, and it was simply a compilation of different people defining their intentions. As one might expect at a yoga festival, many of the intentions were about authenticity, mindfulness, consciousness and the like. However, as one of the bracelets I wear symbolizes intention, the piece sparked a thought about something more specific and personal.
I often suffer from IDD: Intention Deficit Disorder.
IDD is the key reason why goals go unrealized. It is the driving force behind failed New Year’s Resolutions. And it plays tricks with authenticity. Intention Deficit Disorder is a condition that is best defined by not recognizing why you do something. Intentions are a driving difference between wants and needs.
Without intention goals are easily blown off. Intentions are specific. They define you. They define your actions. They define your needs. In short, when you understand and acknowledge your intentions for some action (whatever it may be), your goals are more likely realized. Why? You’re willing to work harder toward making them happen because you understand exactly why you need to do it in the first place.
How does this manifest itself for me personally? As I’ve written here any number of times – I struggle with staying in shape. I’m in shape. I’m out. I’m in. I’m out again. I set a goal that I want to be a certain weight by a certain date. Why? Because I have an event that day. My intention is fleeting. Shallow. And, being in shape doesn’t last. What happens the day after that event? Hell, more often than not, I don’t even get in shape for the event. I need a more meaningful intention. (I should point out that for some people – the intention to look hot for the pictures is perfectly okay. Just not right for me.)
I’ve recently redefined my workout intention, however. And, now, getting back into shape is something that will last. I will stay in shape. How do I know? Because of my growing passion for the backcountry. My intent for working out now is to be ready for spontaneous hikes and long-planned strenuous backcountry adventures.
After being turned on the spiritual wonder of the Colorado wilderness – I want to be ready for any call made by my friend, Dude, can you be out here in a week for this epic hike I just discovered? I don’t want to say, Can’t swing it. I’ve let myself go again. Never again. I want to be able to have as many of those magical adventures as I possibly can. And, the only way to do that is to be ready. The fact is my intention isn’t about working out at all. It’s about the adventures. My intention is to spend as many days as possible out in that wilderness.
It’s safe to say that most of the things at which I’ve “failed” (in quotes because I’m not really sure what failing means) are the result of not having a clearly defined intention. They are the result of not truly allowing myself the “why.” It’s also important not to be afraid of the why. Yes, there have been times that I’ve needed to do something, to succeed at something, purely out of spite. I’ll show you! I’m not proud of it, but that was the intention. And, when I finished that project – I could let go of that spite. The intention was pure, even if it wasn’t executed with the purest of hearts. That’s okay. It was true. And I’m happy to say that intentions driven by spite (or the like) are now far and few between.
Why do I need to do something? This blog, for example? I started it at the beginning of the year with the goal of writing once a week. Why? What was my intention? I have a dear friend who is an accomplished coach and writer and she kept pushing me to define it. Because I want to write more. Why? Because, if I could anything in the world, I’d write. Why? Because I want to find my voice. WHY? I finally just spit it out: Because it makes me feel good and, frankly, I like feeling like I’m having impact on the people who read it. Fine. Good. It’s okay to admit that you are not only doing this for yourself. There’s some ego wrapped up in it. That feels wrong to write, but it’s true.
Intention Deficit Disorder sucks. It keeps us from being the best of ourselves. The thing is we all know when we have it too. We all know when we’re coming from a place of insecurity or self-consciousness instead of intention. You’re doing things because you should not because you need to.
The good news is that IDD is solved with a simple reality check. Why? What is my intention with this action? I realize that sometimes it’s difficult to be honest with ourselves, but it’s the core to getting over IDD. And we all need to get over it.
What’s your intention today?