Being Intentional (and how making your bed every day can help)

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I’m sure there’s been a time in your life when you wanted to make a change. Maybe it was a huge change like losing some weight and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Or, maybe it’ s less personal and more professional like getting more visibility in your company or being able to handle more responsibility so that you get more respect at your job.

Let’s go much simpler — maybe you just want to be able to talk to people easier and not feel so nervous all of the time.

No matter what your hopes and desires may be for your life I think that we can all agree on a couple of things:

  1. There is always something that we would like to improve/change in our lives
  2. We usually suck at actually making any of these things that we want actually happen (although we’re great at talking about them all the time)

Although I can’t say that I’m even close to having all of the right answers when it comes to making change, I have found one simple (but hard) thing that has definitely pushed me in the right direction: Being Intentional.

What Does Being Intentional Mean?

If you’re being intentional you’re moving around in your life with purpose, forethought and focus. You are making certain decisions on purpose, you’re not only taking what it coming to you on a daily basis and you’re actively thinking about where you’re at, what you’re doing and why. This sounds like it’s a lot of work and a little over the top, but honestly it’s not that hard once you figure out (and it’s actually kind of fun once you get used to it).

I know that examples are a lot better than definitions, so let me tell you a story about how I have become more intentional in my life. This is a very simple example, but you’d be surprised how this small act of being intentional has spilled over into other parts of my life that I would have never thought possible.

Making The Bed

Do you make your bed? I’m guessing that you don’t, but if you do then you deserve a high-five for taking care of business. Back in the day I never used to make my bed. EVER. I mean, what was the point? I never had the time to deal with it and even if I did I was just going to get back into that bed the very same night and mess it all up again. Then why, I ask you, would I take the time to make it look all pretty every single day? Seemed kind of stupid to me.

Fast forward to just a few months ago and I have a whole new perspective. A made bed looks nice, it’s a great first step to getting other things done and it makes me feel good to know that I can consistently keep up at least one (simple) process on a daily basis. One of the main challenges in making a change in your life is the feeling of not knowing where to start. I took this feeling head on by choosing to do something that I knew I could make time for every day as long as I stuck with it. Making my bed every day isn’t a complex task and it’s not something that I have to physically prepare for, which is why it’s a great goal to start with. It’s all about making time for it and making it a priority, which makes it easy to take on but still requires requires effort and attention to complete.

Also, after looking around the web for some more info on making the bed I found this great post from Gretchen Rubin (who is best-selling of  The Happiness Project) about how making your bed every day can lead to being a happier person. Here’s what she says:

…sticking to any resolution – no matter what it is – brings satisfaction. You’ve decided to make some change, and you’ve stuck to it. Because making my bed is one of the first things I do in the morning, I start the day feeling efficient, productive, and disciplined.

I would have to say that I agree.

What Else Does Being Intentional Mean?

Being intentional goes way beyond making a bed. It’s being present in what you are doing, knowing what you want an outcome to be (or at least making a decision either way) and then taking the steps and making the effort to see it through. Being intentional means not just shrugging something off because it’s going to take time and focus to get something done. Being intentional is making the time for the things you really want to have in your life. Being intentional is not just floating around throughout your day hoping that things are going to happen the way that you want them to. Being intentional is a constant reminder of who you are, what situation you’re in and how you would like the situation to play out. Being intentional is hard work and just like with anything else that’s meaningful and worthwhile, it takes time.

What Now?

If you’re someone who feels like you want to achieve something you’ve always wanted, but never did or if you have something you’ve always wanted to change, but have never been able to do it then being a little more intentional with your day to day life can help you get there. To be honest, it’s something that I’m just now learning to do and I am far from an expert, but I do know one thing — being more intentional doesn’t just happen It’s a long-term process that needs to start off somewhere small and work it’s way into your life. I started with making my bed and that got me started in the right direction. What’s going to get you headed to where you need to go?