Inspiration vs. Intentionality. When the Going Gets Tough, Which Will Prevail?

Unless this is the first time you have read one of my blog posts or consumed any of my content, chances are you know I am a positive, glass half–full kind of guy. If that has somehow eluded you, let me say that my mission is to inspire you to develop your God-given abilities to become the best version of yourself that you can be.

Last week, I had an interesting conversation with one of the people I am privileged to coach. I am not quoting him verbatim, but essentially what he said was, “We can’t be motivated all the time, so when we don’t feel motivated, we have to have a plan.” When he first said it, I almost dismissed it because it seemed so simple. However, the more I think around it, the more I recognize great wisdom in his message.

After my immediate, initial rebuff of his idea, I let his words settle into my conscious for a bit. Initially, I wanted to shout, “Of course you can be motivated all of the time!” But we all know that is not true. Perfection eludes us. Then as I began to marinade on his idea, I had one of those moments where you don’t really have or need to have words in response. You just not your head and let the thought sink in as you murmur an “mmm” or an “ahh.” That’s when you know you’re on to something good!

So let’s unpack this idea a bit. Of course, we all love the “mountain top” experiences of life. Whether it’s accomplishing a goal, attending a seminar that elevates our mindset, or developing a new relationship with someone we feel closely connected to. Of course, the mountain top’s corollary is that we have to come down from the mountain and confront the challenges that are waiting for us in the valley. 

While we hope that the experiences from the mountain will carry us through the valley, we often fall short and feel defeated by life until we get to climb back up the mountain to escape our troubles. In fact, I just booked a getaway trip for myself and my wife a week or so ago. Although the trip is still a few weeks off, I can’t stop thinking about it. Especially since this is the first time we have been able to travel anywhere in about seven months.

So while I am greatly looking forward to my trip, I still have some essential things to do before I get there. Important things that need my attention and devotion to accomplish them. So this leads me to the question that my friend posed. When we get worn down by the things we have to do, how do we set up a system whereby we do them no matter what to fully enjoy the things we want to do? Enter intentionality.

We have all been there. We attend a motivational seminar or church service, learn a new skill or buy a new piece of exercise equipment, or start a new goal to increase our income or lose weight. We start with the best of intentions and convince ourselves that “this time” will be different. Our intentions are pure, and the benefits of doing whatever the thing is are sizeable. Yet, we get distracted, tired, busy, or complacent. Then the negative self-talk kicks in. 

I interact with and work with so many people who fight this battle every day, heck, every year. They know what they need to do, and they know how to do it, but time after time, they don’t. Or they start and stopover, and over, and over again. Sound familiar? Ok, so we’ve framed the problem, so let’s move onto a solution. Like everything else in personal development, or development in any area of your life, it’s simple, but it’s not easy. 

What if you set up a fail-safe system that rendered failure almost impossible? I know you. I know you lead a busy life and there are not enough hours in the day. You can’t do everything, which is why it is so important to do the main thing. And you can’t have more than three, maybe four main things that you’re working on at any one time. 

But what if you did nothing or delayed rewarding yourself until you got your main thing(s) done? The example my friend gave me is he will not go home after work until he stops at the gym first. He knows if he does, his chances of getting back out of the house to go to the gym are greatly reduced. That means he has to plan ahead on the days he goes to the gym. He is packing his workout clothes and doing the things that lead his subconscious mind to tell him he’s going to the gym.

I have another friend who just finished writing a book. He shared with me that he had a deal with himself that he would not eat every morning until he had written 1,000 words a day. Obviously, you can take these two examples and personalize them to fit your situation. The question is, what will you not do (things that you want to or enjoy doing) until you do the things you have to do that will lead you to be the person you see in your dreams? 

The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are great. I would love for you to share with me what you are going to start doing today that you will be grateful for tomorrow. This, my friend, is the perfect day to start becoming authentically all that you were created to be.

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I also invite you to review my coaching page on my website here. I have only a couple of spots left in my Personal Development Coaching Practice. Each week I offer two free strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis to people interested in exploring how to become a person who pursues their goals and dreams. These special hour-long sessions prove again and again to be invaluable to those who participate. You can book these directly on my coaching page – I look forward to serving you.

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