Someone said the best way to guess the future is to plan for it and I agree. Being intentional about our lives down to the very basic things is the only way to predict a good one. I assume you want a good life.
How do you get intentional with your life? What is this quality of being intentional? To be intentional is to be deliberate about certain things, to be conscious of the decisions we take.
For me, I choose to be intentional with my life because it helps me develop the required capability to help people which in turn gives me joy. It could be something different for you. There is no single reason. The unchanging truth is, life for every one of us is different as we are dealt different cards but what we make of those cards is entirely up to us.
In the journey to being deliberate, there are a few concepts that have helped me that I’d like to share:
Dream it: Know the kind of life you want to have. You may not know how to get there yet and that’s okay. I think that to a great extent, the thing that weighs people down is not how far they have come or what they know but what they don’t know.
We get overwhelmed because we’re trying to see the entire picture or puzzle at once. It’s okay to keep it simple and bare. “I want a kind of life where I could travel different countries and teach them agriculture farming”. How you will do it, you don’t know yet. And that’s okay! Dream. That usually is the first step. I’ll tell you the next step to this in my follow-up article.
Surround yourself with the right people: Your close friends need to be thinking the way you’re thinking. I don’t know if you have heard this quote — “surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious”. It is so true. Ever wondered why the last thing you do before you go to bed is the first thing you remember when you wake up? It’s a thing. Association or friendships are powerful.
If your friends mock you when you say the things you feel the most passionate about or don’t share your enthusiasm, chances are high that they’re not the kind of people you should be around a lot. I’d rather you surround yourself with people who are of like mind, people who share your values and ideals, people with whom you can run an accountability program. Who knows, you could even have friends that you run passion projects with. I’ll also share with you in my follow-up article how to identify the right values for your life and stay true to them.
Set Goals and Measure Progress: You must be able to set your life goals and measure your progress. I’m sure you must have heard this a million times. I struggle with setting long-term goals but what I do is, every new year, I set quarterly goals. Those are much easier for me to track. I can see three months from start to end. For example, Q2 2021 is April, May, and June. I’ll tell myself:
- Write some articles, publish some
- Save a particular amount of money
- Take a certification examination
- Read three books on certain topics
- Record a particular number of podcast episodes
- Learn something new e.g. swimming
I’ll not tell you here that I do everything each time but I’ll tell you that what this has done for me is create a focus board. I look at it constantly and each time, I am reminded to act on it. I tell myself, this is how to achieve the life I want. From my quarterly goals, I begin tracking, week on week. And because I have friends who keep me accountable and I do the same for them, I’m more energized to achieve my goals. We have this practice of meeting every Sunday to give a progress report.
I want to challenge you to do the same, open up your mind. Think. What do you want? What are you passionate about? What do you learn fast and well? Set baby goals, if you want to set your goals on a half-year basis or monthly basis, go for it. There is no best or preferred approach. It should simply be what works for you. Check on yourself frequently, ask yourself hard questions, measure your progress. “How am I doing?”, “How can I improve?”
It’s that simple. That’s how to be intentional and that’s what it does for you. I’m hoping that I made you start thinking about being intentional with your life already and if you already are, I hope that you feel encouraged by this. I’d like to have your feedback. We’re here for each other.