Living intentionally is an idea I’ve been kicking around the old noodle for a while now, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to articulate my thoughts clearly. A good friend of mine wrote a song about how nobody consulted him about being born and it got me thinking. We enter this world by the choice of someone else. We are raised as children with most of our choices being made for us. Then we go to school, get jobs, accrue responsibilities, these things also make a lot of our choices for us. It’s no wonder so many people feel trapped, a victim of their circumstances.
The truth is the majority of our lives are spent reacting to our circumstances, and the choices don’t lead us out of the situation, but rather protect and perpetuate the current situation. Because it’s comfortable, it’s routine, it’s what we are used to. It is what is known. And maybe it’s necessary for survival, or at least it once was. But is it really? Is it still?
In the first article I wrote about B-Fit, I talked about how I was given my call to action. Which happened to be my divorce. I was able to rise to the call and make some serious changes in my life, that have been for the better. Since then there have been moments of collapse, repetition, falling into older/lesser habits, and moments where I gave myself the call to action to change. This is what I mean by living intentionally. Everyone has the ability to step back from knee-jerk reactions and make an intentional decision. These decisions have given me the capability to continue to grow.
Being able to step back is a process that takes practice. It’s not a normal thing to do because as I stated before we have been trained since before birth to react. To have the choices and often the answers handed to us. So what does it mean to step back?
Let’s say you are out to eat. You are handed a menu, likely one of the only things you are thinking is what sounds good? This is relinquishing your ability to make a choice by giving it to a physical craving or desire. In essence, your body makes a choice for you. However if one were to step back and take an intentional approach they would ask themselves other questions. What does this cost? Does this meet my dietary needs? How many calories can I afford on this meal? How much money can I spend on this meal? Is this going to affect my activities later in the day? If so which ones? Why?
Now you are not relinquishing that control to your body. You might still choose the same food. But now if it is something that’s “bad for you” you can at least know it was your choice and you can savor every bite knowing that you are treating yourself. Or maybe you will choose something else because maybe you already had a “splurge meal” recently.
This concept can be applied simply to anything. One important aspect to it though is deciding who you are. How do you want to live your life? The more that can be defined, the easier it will be to intentionally decide things. These can even be with superficial goals. “I want my house to be clean and comfortable for guests.” Next time you are bored you can ask, “Do I have the ability to do anything right now to work on my house?” Maybe it means setting an alarm for 15 minutes to clean before binging Netflix.
This same thing can be applied to school, entrepreneuring, a career path, health and fitness, replacing bad habits, raising a family, etc… By chaining intentional decisions together, it makes it very easy to motivate oneself to keep moving forward. It gives personal strength to be more disciplined and in control. In time the circumstances will lose their power over you, and you will be able to create your own circumstances. Making small intentional decisions every day. Do a little more today than yesterday. And in no time at all the results will compound exponentially, and you will reach heights you never dreamed of.
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