“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I’m sure you’ve heard this contradictive proverb before.
How can good intentions lead to hell? I don’t believe that they lead us straight to hell, but good intentions alone won’t get us very far. There are countless sentences that I begin with; “I plan on…”, “I’m going to”, “After I finish this, I’ll start…”, “At some point I’ll…”, “I wonder how (fill in the blank) is doing”; and even “I will” and “I must”. All stated with intention. I guess you can say that I live with intention (I bet you’ve heard that catch phrase too!).
But what does living with intention mean? If intention means “a thing intended; an aim or plan” then my definition of living with intention is “breathing with a plan”.
If you Google the term ‘living with intention’ you’ll come across countless TED talks, YouTube videos, quotes, and articles. Yet, based on my definition, it means nothing! It’s just another expression that states the obvious.
Here are a few intentions that would have been good:
- I intended on calling my ailing Aunt but waited until the weekend. The weekend was too late.
- I planned on going on vacation but didn’t make reservations. I’ll just go some other time.
- I was going to wish my friend a happy birthday but didn’t make the call, now she thinks I forgot.
The intentions were good, but they meant nothing in the end. Maybe the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I love planning, dreaming, thinking, and setting goals. I set goals at the beginning of this year (it is now the end of March). I’ve read the 12 Week Year, set SMART goals, and even checked in on those goals weekly for a while. But guess what? Little progress has been made on any of the goals I’ve set because I haven’t taken consistent action steps. I’ve been literally living with intention, but there’s an important instruction missing from those directions. The phrase needs another word like “act” in it.
Living with intention is a plan on how you’d like to live your life. It’s a thought, an intent, a goal, a desire. But without acting on the intention, it matters none. It sets you up for feeling bad.
Intention – Action = Nothing
The intent to let someone know you’re thinking of them won’t let them know, you need to pick up the phone and tell them.
The “living with intention” phrase needs an update to prevent us from going straight to hell. Here are some ideas:
“Intend, Act, Repeat”
“Living with intentional action”
“Action, intend on it!”
“Live, Intend, Action”
Clearly, I need help with this one.
Tell me this: How do you ensure that action is taken on your intentions?
3 thoughts on “Breathing with a Plan”
In critical thinking mode, you look at all alternatives for the best of planned intentions and courageously pursue the action that most makes sense. Or you can just depend on your intuition about certain facts before your intention arrives. The latter is what is called inductive thinking
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I have an ongoing list on my phone of what I intend to do. The most urgent are at the top of the list, and I focus on doing those first as time allows.
That’s a reasonable solution. Thanks for sharing.
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