Many people live their lives in ‘automatic pilot’: wake up, go to work, quick lunch, meetings, tight schedule, commuting, back home, social media, screen time, sleep. Some find time for friendship and family. But even the relationships can get into the old routine and patterns, without much attention or care.
The best way to step away from the repetition and thoughtless actions is to pause. Literally stop before responding, reacting, answering back or making a decision. Turn off the ‘automatic pilot’ and bring intention to your actions and words.
At first, this will require a lot of awareness and extra effort. But if you persevere, that pause will become part of the way you behave and make choices in your life.
Why intention is so important:
⁃ By doing things with intention, you become more in control of your own life.
⁃ You will not just ‘go with the flow’ anymore, but truly choosing what’s best at that moment.
⁃ Your sense of responsibility will increase. And it’ll be more clear what belongs to you or to others. Less blame, more attention.
⁃ Many possibilities will open for you. You will start noticing that there are many different ways of doing things. Things that were done automatically before.
⁃ Your actions, words and behaviours will become more meaningful to you. You’ll notice what’s truly important in your life.
⁃ You will also notice how many things were superfluous and unnecessary. And that you can live without them.
Here are some reflections to help you bring more intention to your life. First pause, then ask yourself:
⁃ What’s my purpose in doing this right now?
- Will this benefit me and/or others?
⁃ Why am I going to say this? What’s the intention in my words?
⁃ Do I really need to answer this email/text/message immediately?
⁃ Do I need to get involved in that argument/discussion/conversation etc?
⁃ What will the consequences be if I say/do this?
⁃ If I’m having difficulties, do I need a little more time to resolve them?
- I have a choice now: what am I going to choose?
Meaning and purpose
The same ideas apply to resting, eating or doing things that bring you joy. Bring intention to them too. Notice what you are eating, what you are putting inside your body.
Notice the way you look after yourself, the way you make time for resting and replenish your energy. And, when it comes to fun, make sure you choose what will bring you joy. Hopefully not only for a few minutes, but something that really means something to you.
It might take some time to get used to pausing and making real choices. Change requires time, patience and willingness. It is like learning a new skill. And it’ll be worth it.
Intention will make your actions and behaviours more meaningful. Each step, each day, will make your life richer, with much more purpose.