Good Intentions: If I Could Just Do One Thing…
Good intentions. We all have them.
- I’m going to start exercising more regularly. If I could only start going to the gym regularly, then I would have so much more energy.
- I’m going to lose some weight. If I could only drop ____ pounds, I would feel so much better.
- I need to read more. If I made time to read more, I could learn something new and keep my brain active.
- I need to get back in church. My life seems to go so much better when I am closer to God.
- I need to turn off the TV. If I would just turn off the stupid thing, I could accomplish so much more.
Reflection: A Lost Discipline and Enemy to Good Intentions
- New Year’s?
- Other holidays?
If you never stop to account for where you are and how you arrived, how can you purposefully plan where you want to go from there? Without regularly engaging in reflection, one day turns into another turns into another turn into another in what my friend Jacob calls “rollover days.”
So what to do about days turning into weeks turning into months turning into years that don’t seem to matter? I’ve been there, too. Recently.
Divert, Withdraw, Abandon
Pastor Rick Warren offers three habits to avoid burnout. I have found, by the way, that burnout is often just a synonym for meaninglessness. When you are driven by a passion for something, don’t you have more energy and “more time” than when you are clicking off rollover days? Warren’s suggestions with my comments:
- Divert daily.
I am doing this now through daily devotional time in the Psalms. Mornings work best for me and give me a perspective much better than my own to start the day.
- Withdraw weekly.
During my Busy Writer’s Challenge, I have scheduled writing time every day of the week in varying times. Except one. I make it a point to take one day every week completely off from the creative process. Much like the Sabbath principle, rest leads to greater productivity. Counterintuitive, yes, but effective, nonetheless.
- Abandon annually.
This is where I struggle most. You may be able to unplug and take the family on a week-long getaway to the beach or to the mountains, but I’m not able to do that financially at this point. The need for an abandoning doesn’t disappear, however. My annual abandons have happened on mission trips to Haiti the last few years. One of those weeks began a course-changing time in my life. I got off the merry-go-round I was on and–once the dizziness wore off–I began to enjoy a freedom I could only imagine.
Okay, you say, those are great sentiments, but I’ll be doing good just to get through today, you say. Well, I recently heard a challenge from a podcast that I listen to regularly that provided feet for good intentions.
Good Intentions to Good Actions
The challenge was simple:
I’ll give you an example. About a year-and-a-half ago, my friend Scooter put his arm around me at church one Sunday and asked, “Al, how are you doing…physically?” No one had ever asked me that question before, but it was right on time.
I was absolutely worn down and was living every day at the brink of exhaustion. I had good intentions to get back in the kind of shape I had been in not too long before that before a nagging injury shut down my regular running for a while. Scooter got me started at his gym and still checks on me from time to time.
As I began to work out regularly, I noticed that I had more energy. Not wanting to go backward, I began to eat better, too. Which led to more energy. Which led to my not being a bear to be around at home. It also led to a greater capacity to engage in my creative projects.
One fulfilled good intention, regular exercise, led to many collateral good intentions fulfilled.
Of many good intentions that you may have, pick ONE to move toward today that has the potential to leave a trail of collateral improvement in your life. Which one did you choose?
Thanks for reading.For the next generation, Al Ainsworth www.alainsworth.com
“My Resolutions for 2014 & How I Plan to Keep Them” (I pre-supposed in this post that going public would help me accomplish my goals (good intentions) this year. Wow, that really worked! I’m behind on one goal, but the rest are either accomplished are on track. Much more so than I would have guessed.)
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