Make 2023 the year of intention. Dealing with the pandemic (and the world at large) since 2020 has caused an increase in apathy over previous years. I’ve even noticed it in myself and those closest to me. It may sound simple, but the one thing that every successful person has, whether they’re an athlete, author or entrepreneur, is intention. Without it, you may as well be on a boat with no oars or engine; your apathy allowing the waves to plot your course in no particular direction.

Study after study shows that living with a purpose is linked to a longer life and better health. While it is honorable to find a greater cause to dedicate the next 50 years to, it is not necessary in order to live with intention. You can focus on a more personal intention like spending time with family or growing a career. Start with something small within your locus of control and move forward from there.

Intention in the Long Term

Making a long term intention is not about making SMART goals, which are great in their own right. It is really about having a guiding light based on your values that you can follow when the world drives you off course. It can be something you dedicate your whole life to, like fighting climate change or a long term project, like a business idea.

My long term intention is to build a secure and loving life with and for my family. This means taking on many smaller projects that act like building blocks to meet that intent. These projects include updating our home to fit our growing family, building our levels of financial security and increasing streams of income to become less reliant on my 9-5 position.

Whatever your long term intention is, it must be a strong enough value to keep you motivated.

Intention in the Short Term

Practicing intention every day is what makes the intentions you set for your long term dreams real. My late grandmother gave me a bracelet when I graduated high school that said “Dreams are made, one choice at a time.” I’ve always loved that thought and keeping to your intentions will help you do just that.

In order to follow my long term intentions, I need to take on each day with that intention to help focus my daily tasks. I have found that meditation helps with this more than I ever thought it would. It is one way to take some time for myself and clear my mind of all the random thoughts before starting the day. It just isn’t helpful for me to work towards the life I want to build if I’m thinking about the e-mails waiting for me when I start my day.

Outside Forces

Photo by Johannes Plenio:
Photo by Johannes Plenio

There will always be systemic issues and outside forces that drive you off the course you’re setting for yourself. If you allow those forces to just take you where they will, who knows where you will end up?

Keeping your intentions based on your values allows for the flexibility to adapt how to meet than intention, no matter what comes your way. My values of having security and centering my family could mean that I retire early and spend all of my time with my loves ones. It also could mean talking with management to take a month off every year to travel together or maybe something entirely different altogether.

There are less limits on what you can do while still meeting your intention that allows you to adapt as outside forces influence your life and those around you.

Wrap It Up!

The best step you can take for yourself in the new year is to make your life intentional. Life each day with intention and you will end up on the path of your choosing. Some days that intention may be just to get through it and take care of yourself, while others may be focused on changing the world.

Plans are nothing; planning is everything

Dwight D Eisenhower