Much has been said and written about the power of intent, but few people really take the idea of having deliberate intent seriously.
What is deliberate intent? Well firstly, the term deliberate intent, as such, isn’t a term I have seen referred to in the sense I’m about to describe. I may be wrong here, and if I am, apologies to the originator of the term, so let me explain.
So many of us have intent… we’re always intending to do things, lose weight, exercise, save money, stay in touch with friends, invite people over, fix the leaky tap, learn to speak another language or whatever, yet very often these intentions never bear fruit. As they say ‘the path to success is paved by good intentions’ (or something like that!)
So what’s the difference between just normal intent and deliberate intent?
Normal intent is simply a thought about something that would be nice to do, to have or to be. It’s something that would be easy to achieve with little or no effort. ‘I intend going to rugby on Saturday’, for example. That may be something you enjoy doing anyway, and wouldn’t really require any behaviour pattern changes.
An intention that will require some changes in behaviour like lifestyle modifications however, in order to be realised, will require more effort. The idea has to become ‘cellular’ otherwise the results from these types of thought are often diluted, wishy washy. Typically, with this type of intention the individual does not take full ownership of the intention and as such will often blame someone else, or some other external factor for their lack of success.
A few typical examples may be, ‘The gym is always too full and I hate exercising when it’s so full’, or ‘it’s impossible to save these days, everything is so expensive’, or ‘I’m too stressed to even think about losing weight’, or ‘If I just had the right tools I’d be able to repair the…’ and the excuses go on and on.
In fact there’s a disease, which I’m sure will have an ICD10 code attached to it soon, called excuseitis!! Excuseitis is at epidemic levels. Everybody has it.
So what is deliberate intent then? Well, this is another animal entirely. This is where the individual takes total, and that means 100% ownership of the intention. It becomes a non-negotiable. Failure is not an option, regardless of the trials and tribulations, curve-balls or obstacles that present themselves along the way.
Deliberate intent means ‘staying the distance’. There are relatively few things in life that are not attainable if you just stick at it. Our world however, has become so tuned into the concept of ‘I want it, and I want to now’ that we’ve lost our ‘stickyness’. We give up as soon as the going gets a little tough and then, to appease ourselves, we blame our lack of success on something or someone else.
So what would some of the criteria be that determine if an intention is deliberate?
- The intention needs to have been thought about with a great deal more intensity than a simple passing thought. Try to ‘feel’ what it’ll be like to succeed… it should be something that’s constantly ‘front of mind’, thought about many, if not hundreds of times a day. Imagine each and every one of your trillion+ cells in your body receiving the same message, over and over and the effect such repetitive bombardment would have on achieving the desired results
- Commit the intention to paper – write it down in as much detail as possible. Don’t just say ‘I’d like to lose weight’, but include things like: current BMI, desired BMI, current weight, desired weight. Plan, in detail, your exact ‘plan of action’.
- Make yourself accountable by telling others and asking them to ‘watch you’. Ask them to comment if you are about to put the wrong thing into your mouth for example.
- Visualize the desired outcome – close your eyes, try to ‘see in your minds eye’ the actual successful result of your intention, make the ‘vision’ as ‘real’ as your imagination will allow
- Repeat as often as possible – quitting is not an option, quitting is not an option, quitting is not an option…
In order to be successful with intentions that will require you moving from your comfort zone your actions will need to be VERY deliberate. If the intention is something you love doing anyway, it’s easy to be successful. Where change is required it’s not quite as easy… but rarely impossible though.