Feed Your Intention

“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.”
(John Burroughs)

Good intentions aren’t enough.

It’s not enough to intend to be a good friend or to intend to be physically, mentally or financially fit. It’s not enough to intend to live a life of significance.

You have to actually do something with your intentions.            

You have to feed your intentions, if you want them to become reality.

This realization has been crucial to my growth in all areas of my life. In everything, from my health to my relationships, I have become more purposeful about grounding into my intentions and consciously feeding them so that I may achieve what it is I want to achieve.

Of course, before you can feed an intention, you must first identify what your intention is, what you’re acting upon. If you aren’t clear on your intention, it’s challenging to know how to act in a way that supports that intention’s growth and expression into the world. (I have no doubt that you can easily identify at least some of your intentions, such as: being a good dad, eating healthy foods, or achieving success at work. However, if you aren’t sure how to identify other intentions and want to learn more, check out this great article by Anne Naylor.)

Once you have one or more clear intentions in mind, below are a few suggestions for feeding your intentions to help you achieve the outcomes you desire in all areas of your life.

Of course, my suggestions are focused on health, since that’s my area of expertise, and yet, I promise that you can adapt these concepts to any area of your life! If you’d like to learn more about that or need help , email me and I’ll help you or will help you find a resource that can.

My Top 4 Ways to Feed Your Intentions for Bodily Health

  1. Get Advice from Trustworthy People: Seek out sources of information that will inspire you and give you relevant, applicable guidance. 

There is an abundance of useful self-help information in the world, both on and offline. Want to change how your gut functions? Check out my blog posts about gut health. Investigating ways to improve your autoimmunity? Read Dr. Amy Myers’s book The Autoimmune Solution or Dr. Susan Blum’s The Immune System Recovery Plan. Interested in aging vibrantly and avoiding the potential crush of menopause? Look at Dr. Sara Gottfried’s blog and books.

The point is: if you’re looking for reputable advice on a health issue, you can find lots of guidance on websites or in books or magazines, albeit slightly impersonal as they are written for the public at large. Not sure where to start? When I’m researching a new health issue, I always start with Google, typing in the health issue plus “treatment” and “functional medicine.” For example, “acid reflux treatment functional medicine.”

If you want more personalized guidance than self-help material allows, find an integrative healthcare practitioner you trust to help you figure out what’s going on in your body and how you can achieve your desired outcomes. You can find a list of qualified practitioners here, here, here, or here.

If you’re looking for an experience somewhere between self-help and hiring a healthcare professional, you can also seek a mentor who has effectively done what you wish to do and who can offer insight based on their journey. Or consider asking a wise friend to act as a sounding board as you brainstorm ideas. Regardless of what source you choose, it’s important to acquire applicable knowledge that will show you how to feed your intention, while also giving you hope that your goals are achievable.

  1. Set Manageable Goals: Identify actions that will move you toward your end goal and DO them.

The amazing thing about working toward a dream is that there are many different paths that lead to the same end. On each path, you can take tiny steps or big steps, depending on how confident, energized and resourced you are feeling in any given moment. But you can only do this if you have made a list of smaller, more manageable goals you can accomplish one at a time and in the shorter term. This ultimately supports you getting to your end goal with momentum and at a pace that works for you.

The resources you identify (like I mentioned in #1) will help you identify a set of specific steps you can take to become healthier, but don’t feel your set of actions must be limited to specifically nutrition-related things. Consider adding any of the following to your possible list of actions when you’re trying to reach any health goal:

  • Meditate and visualize to help you solidify your vision in your mind.
  • Use affirmations to program your mind to believe the outcome you want is possible. Remember to say them in a positive way and in present tense. For example, “My body is a fertile and healthy place for my future child to grow.”
  • Attend therapy appointments to help you work through the challenges you’ll encounter on your journey.
  • Employ different types of practitioners to be on your health team: acupuncturist, massage therapist, naturopathic doctor, and herbalist, just to name a few.
  • Implement relaxation techniques–like deep breathing, forest bathing, and yoga–to keep you centered.
  • Start sleep tracking to ensure you are giving your body the time it needs to rejuvenate.

Bottom line: you can and should have actions on your list that both directly and indirectly feed your intention as we are complex beings who require a multi-faceted approach to achieving health and well-being.

  1. Commit to a Practice: Continue moving toward what you want to achieve, even when it doesn’t feel quite “right.”

I’m not talking about “fake it ‘til you make it” here. I’m talking about committing to a practice that you believe will support you in reaching your goals.

This might look like repeating an action as many times as it takes to get better at it and turn it into a habit you know is contributing to your end goal. Meditation is a great example. Or learning to cook healthier foods at home. As in, the first two, five or even ten times you cook fish at home, it might turn out dry and tasteless. But that doesn’t mean you should give up because fish is such an excellent source of protein and healthy fats and is easy to prepare once you get the hang of it!

Rather than throwing in the towel, use each experience as a chance to learn and to figure out what didn’t work last time so that you can improve your skills the next time around. I promise if you stay at it, eventually, you will be able to whip up a succulent, tasty piece of fish for dinner like it’s second nature. (That is literally feeding your intention to be healthy!)

  1. Adjust as You Go: Evaluate your progress and be willing to make adjustments when you realize your actions aren’t feeding your intention.

I’m sure you’ve seen this drawing about the path to success (I’d love to credit its creator, but I can’t find them!):

When you’re on the path to success, no matter which path you’ve chosen, you’ll undoubtedly have to make adjustments to your plan as you progress. Why? Because, as Allen Saunders wrote, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” While some of those life events may be less than desirable, others may be fantastic!

For example, maybe you’ll have to adjust because your body has changed and the choices you made to support yourself, like walking 20 minutes daily, aren’t what you need now. Maybe you found that you love your daily walks so much that you want to get out for 30 minutes or maybe you realized you find walking boring and want to try a new hip-hop class.

Perhaps your circumstances have changed and you simply can’t continue with the same plan for logistical reasons; or maybe you’ll realize that your original plan was too easy or too hard and you need to amend it if you want to be successful.

This is all totally okay.

In fact, it’s a necessary part of the process!

The trick to preventing changes in your current reality from derailing you from your intentions is to evaluate your progress, assess the current situation, confirm your intention hasn’t changed, and then make the necessary adjustments so you can keep feeding your intention, .

It is absolutely possible for you to achieve what you intend to achieve in your life, whether it’s having a healthy body, creating a successful business, or living in a loving relationship. However, it’s not enough to intend for those things to happen; the key is to feed your intention so that it can become reality.

You can do it. You will do it, when you follow these steps and purposefully feed your intention.

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