Intention setting is often like the phases of change:
*First comes the precontemplation stage- maybe it’s when you see someone else do something that you find interesting or inspiring.
*Then comes the contemplation stage when you weigh in on if this is the right intention for you right now (for more on this, see our blog post on “How to Know if You’re Making Progress”).
*After that, we’re left with determination, which sometimes looks like New Year’s Day at the gym (…prior to Covid) when it’s more crowded with people who are committed and completing their first workout of the year.
*What follows determination is action, which is literally acting out the change we want to see, or in this case, being intentional with our time: building habits that lead us to our goals.
*Sometimes we relapse. If you’ve ever been to the gym a few weeks into January when all of your favorite equipment is available again, then you know what this looks like!
*When relapse is combated with more determination and fueled by further action, then we reach maintenance. Once we’ve gotten to this point, what we’ve been working towards becomes sustainable.
Each stage provides us the necessary path to keep moving forward. Most people typically cut their goals loose around 3 weeks in. Instead of viewing this as a “failure”, we could instead view it as a period of relapse, which means that not all is lost but merely challenged by the comfort of our old routines. When we decide to focus on intentions rather than goals or resolutions, we are able to make a conscious effort to bring ourselves to the here and now, and to shift our focus to the behaviors and actions we take that lead us to our bigger picture goals.
It’s more of a cyclical pattern rather than a linear sequence. That way, it doesn’t have to have a “dead end” of sorts when relapse occurs. You can enter and re-enter the cycle at any time. Each time we fall off, we can learn from it. We can ask ourselves what got in the way? What could I do to change it next time? Refer to our newsletter “How to Create an Ideal Morning Routine” for helpful tips!
Catherine at Revive