I believe the key to success in setting intentions in any area, at any point in our lives, is consistency. Certainly, adjustments in our process may be necessary. Other than small rudder steers from time to time, we need to practice consistency in any endeavor to achieve success. The best way I have heard this put is, what we practice grows stronger.
If you really think back on times you have embarked on an endeavor and did not accomplish what you had set out to do, you will now see that you simply did not stick with the effort long enough. This makes sense as our minds are naturally geared toward instant gratification. We desire to see results sooner rather than later. We also often get distracted or pulled into life’s daily issues.
Set Intentions & Pay Attention
This, like most other things in life, is better experienced than just taking my word for it. I encourage you to set an intention for yourself toward something you feel would be useful for you to accomplish. Once you identify what that might be and set your intention, sit down and identify what is going to be useful for you to achieve it. Make sure the journey you are about to embark on is sustainable so you can maintain the consistency long enough to see the measured effects you are looking for. Be willing to make subtle course corrections along the way. Pay attention to thoughts and feelings that are not useful to you accomplishing your intention.
Cultivate an Attitude
Lastly and most importantly, cultivate an attitude of kindness and compassion in your mind to ensure you aren’t working against yourself. Your inner voice is what has the most communication with you. If it is negative or judgmental you will feel that negativity. This is truly a choice as it is your inner voice, you are the thinker and thoughts are not facts. You can change how and what your inner voice says to you over time by telling it what is not useful for you. Simply replace that negativity with a positive thought to show your mind what is useful.
Emotions can be used as a barometer to know when it is necessary to check in with our thoughts. When you feel negative emotions, it is a good bet that you are having negative thoughts. It is also likely that these negative thoughts are not useful and also not facts. This is where your real power comes from. As you begin to intentionally tell your mind that these negative thoughts are not useful.
Replace them with thoughts that are useful.
It truly is that simple to change your automatic thoughts from negative to primarily positive. How you feel most of the time will follow. It just takes setting an intention, then paying attention to thoughts that aren’t useful to accomplishing that intention, and working with any thoughts that don’t bring an attitude of kindness and compassion.
About Bruce Craig: Bruce is a Resident in Counseling providing counseling services at our Fredericksburg location. He is a recent graduate from Eastern Mennonite University with a MA in Counseling, following a B.S. in Social Psychology from Park University.
Bruce completed a rigorous internship working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Bruce also finds Mindfulness to be useful in helping clients be in the present moment. For receptive clients, he teaches them ways of controlling their thoughts instead of becoming anxious about things that might happen or focusing on aspects they cannot change.
He is currently in a course to become certified in the use of Mindfulness in therapy. Bruce provides a warm, empathetic, and non-judgmental space for all people to bring whatever issues they need to work through. To learn more about Bruce, visit here.