Since 2012, I’ve chosen three words to remind me of my true intentions and help me to be more effective in reaching my goals. (The “My 3 Words” exercise was created by Chris Brogan.) This post is the first post of the Your Turn Challenge. More on this below.
Setting an intention is different from setting a goal – which is what tends to confuse many of us. An intention is a path, or way of living focused on being present. You set an intention based on what matters most to you right now such as spending quality time with your family, or leading a more active life.
On the other hand, a goal is oriented toward a future outcome and can be broad or SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). An example of a broad goal is: I want to lose weight – which is a fine way to begin leading a more active life (your intention).
An example of a SMART goal is: I will lose 12 pounds over 12 weeks by burning 3,500 calories more each week. One pound per week is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely when combined with the action you’ll take to lose one pound weekly (3,500 calories.)
Now consider three words that will help remind you of your intention and goals, stay on track, and give you permission to achieve success. Perhaps your word choice would be: Move. Breathe. Stretch.
Throughout 2014 year, my three words were ever-present. At the end of the year, I checked in with myself to reflect on how well these words helped me live a more mindful life (my intention).
Restore – To take the time to rest and relax deeply and completely so that I can better handle the stress of deadlines, parenting, relationships, and maybe improving my tennis game.
I definitely slowed down my pace and took more time to focus, adding more restorative yoga poses and a regular meditation practice. I’m not so sure it helped my tennis game, but I think I enjoyed playing tennis more this year and made some great new friends in Twilight league.
Integrate – To unite everything I know with everything I do. This may sound daunting, but it’s really not. I know myself better than I think I do and I need to trust myself to better integrate my skills, abilities, body, breathing, emotions, attitudes, and relationships with my life.
I trusted myself more this year (than in previous years) and enjoyed the results. I have a tendency to tweak everything I write, from a simple email to my book manuscript over and over again. With help from a professional book editor, I let go of this tendency – at least for my book. Bookcrafters president Elizabeth Zack, formerly Senior Book Editor at The Ballantine Publishing Group/Division of Random House Inc., gave me terrific feedback, which I took to heart and integrated into my documents. I’m happy to say that I finished my book manuscript, my book proposal, and submitted to a publisher in 2014. (And I haven’t gone back into either document to tweak.)
Teach – The best way to learn a concept is to teach others what you know – and make mistakes along the way. I believe in sharing knowledge, but I think it’s time I start teaching what I know. Stay tuned.
I felt that I shared a lot of what I know with others and gave good advice and counsel to colleagues and friends. I also helped to create a training program called WorkForce Academy for Rochester Rehabilitation, which sparked ideas for me to begin developing an online writing course and discussion series for women and moms.
This year, my three words are: Build. Discover. Meditate.
Build – To build my writing business by sharing what I know about writing and marketing so that others can succeed in achieving their business goals.
Discover – To find something or someone unexpected or extraordinary everyday and use it to improve my the way I write, share, and connect with others.
Meditate – To continue to meditate daily to increase my attention and expand my desire for happiness to include other people in my life. “By transcending the ego, we learn to desire from that place where there is no separation between me and you.” Deepak Chopra.
If you want some ideas on how to choose your three words, check out my blog post from 2014.
It’s your turn: a challenge
This post is the first post of the Your Turn Challenge. I took on the challenge to get in the habit of publishing one post everyday whether or not I feel it is “fit to publish.” While I strive to do my best everyday, sometimes I try too hard to do more than my best and spend more energy than I need to. In the end, I fear my best will not be worthy.
Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the best-selling book The Four Agreements writes: “When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal.”
This passage, which is part of the fourth agreement of “always do your best” really struck home with me. I hope the Your Turn Challenge will remind me to do my best without judging myself, to ship my work without worrying that it’s not good enough because it is my best work today.