The shrill sound of the alarm clock drills through your brain. You fumble for the snooze button, your only goal to recreate the dreamless nothingness you were rudely ripped out of. Of course, it doesn’t work, so you finally drag yourself out of bed, facing another day of the same without set intentions.
You go through the same motions you do every morning, without thought. The same habitual thoughts flit through your mind, but you pay them no conscious attention.
You go off to a job that you thought you loved but now you are simply not enjoying it anymore. Your imagination feels colorless, and creativity is something that belongs to others. You end your day feeling uneasy, stilling the quiet voice inside that insists that you have not made a difference.
You longingly remember when waking up used to be much better, but now there is just the dreariness of nothing to look forward to.
And you think what is this thing that is supposed to be my life.
So, maybe you have never experienced this in all its explicitness, but perhaps you recognize a few things. I think it’s safe to say that if you are a developing human (and since you’re reading this, I’m assuming you are) chances are that something might ring true for you.
The habit of no set intentions
The ease with which we access digital information has created a melting pot where instant gratification is the flavor of the day. We have become so accustomed to having what we want at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger, that we will do whatever we can to avoid pain.
We silence our discomfort by going down the internet rabbit hole. We end up spending mindless hours on meaningless tasks which don’t bring us close to living to our full potential.
We are losing the art of contemplation, of deep focus and of reflecting on our life which helps us create a better reality for ourselves and for others.
But all is not lost.
Boredom and fatigue are two giant signposts that something needs altering in your life.
Think of it as a psychological lighthouse throwing some light on your life to help stop your ship from hitting the rocks.
And thanks to this internal lighthouse of ours, we can change our fate if we choose to.
How to change your life through being intentional
To create change, we must start with the opposite of what we are inadvertently doing.
The irony should not be lost on you – by avoiding pain and squelching your natural urge to grow and evolve, you are actually stagnating.
Without pain, there can be no growth. And once we accept that, it makes it somewhat easier and much more gratifying to step into the space beyond boredom to create things in our lives to be excited about.
In case you are wondering, there is no masochism here. Instead, it is the psychological pain of going outside your habitual zone of comfort that will help you grow and ultimately save your ship from hitting those rocks.
You have a domain of power
We must set the intention of not stretching ourselves too much as we embark on our journey of change.
This means that you have to set
What makes a goal realistic? A realistic goal is a goal that has a high chance of success based on the resources of time, skills, talents, willingness, ability and opportunity available.
These resources are located in what can be called your domain of power. Another way to explain it is that your domain of power is the realm of possibilities that exist for you.
So the formula is deceivingly simple: Success = Realistic Goal + Domain of Power
Sometimes we choose goals that are so far outside our domain of power that we don’t even bother trying to go for them. They exist as a pipe dream out there, but this is actually a sneaky way to give ourselves permission to not risk, and to play it safe.
Your comfort zone lies in your domain of power.
When you stay inside your comfort zone for too long you risk becoming stagnant and bored with your life.
Taking it down to a basic building block level, as living organisms we have to continuously grow, experience and evolve in order to survive. Keeping yourself in a rut or living without goals stifles your growth tendency and the ability you have to fully materialize as a fulfilled human being.
If you want to get specific about it, which by the way is a good thing when it comes to creating goals, it is to stretch yourself about 20%. A 20% stretch outside of your comfort is completely do-able with a bit of effort, but not so overwhelming that you give up half-way.
Your mindset, together with the intentions you set, is the motivation behind your actions which helps you hit your goals.
Your habitual zone of comfort grows as does your domain of power when you consistently do this. That explains why it is possible to go after bigger and stronger goals as you build your inner strength and resilience to go after the life you want.
That should also explain why you almost always feel like you will never “get there” when you compare yourself to others who have achieved what you want. Your domain of power is different from theirs. Your journey is different
Your intention setting mindset
Here is an approach you can try to start to develop the type of mindset that helps you set and go after your goals, live more intentionally and grow our personal power.
1. Stop being entitled
I recently was on a flight that was delayed for over 2 hours due to bad weather conditions. By the time the flight finally departed, everyone, including the crew were in a foul mood.
The passengers were annoyed because of the long wait, but mostly because the ground staff wasn’t communicating with us at all. The crew was annoyed because the passengers took out their frustrations on them. And in turn, they were rude to some passengers.
I don’t think there is anything strange about this, you would almost expect this result. However, it is the mindset that leads to this way of thinking that robs us of our power.
We have certain expectations: my flight should be on time, people should not be rude to me. When those expectations are not met, we become angry and look for soft targets to take our anger out on. We project the anger outwards because we feel entitled.
Instead, we could use
2. Know what is most important to you
We all have a set of inner values which guides our behavior. You can bet that even if you don’t know off-hand what your core values are, they still influence you on an unconscious level.
I wrote an article on how to identify your core values to help you make better decisions. Go read it here.
When you make a habit of remembering your core values and living according to them, you start nurturing a mindset of personal power. You will always choose what you value most. More power to you when you start being intentional about it.
3. Go for goals that give hope
Being intentional with setting goals doesn’t have to be a chore. Goals should never be boring. And, you should never set goals for yourself which you think someone else expects.
It only leads to emotional disaster and a sense of dissatisfaction when you create a life based on what you think others want of you. Yet, it is so easy to do. We want to avoid conflict. We do it so that others can love us. We do it because we are afraid.
What would your goals be if you set intentions true to your Being?
Go for goals that give you hope. Let them fill you with a sense of excitement and accomplishment.
And realize that these goals can be of any size or any type.
What will you do with an extra 20 mins each morning before you leave for work?
How will you feel to climb stairs without huffing and puffing?
What could you accomplish if you woke up feeling rested with a clear head?
What would it be like if you went to sleep at night, feeling as if you have added value with your life to yourself, and subsequently to others?
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The goals that fill us with hope don’t need to be ground
If you find boredom and fatigue has become your regular companions, you can always change it. Your inner lighthouse has something to say to you. It is shining a light to show the way and urging you to set intentions for satisfying life. All you need to do is show up, and take the first step. And even if it is not as simple and easy as that, why not give it a shot anyway?