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Are you ready to conquer the world in 2018? Fantastic!

I just have one question for you as you head out the door. What’s for dinner?

You might think that’s a petty question, yet it’s exactly where we get off track. The little recurring problems are really important. They show us what’s blocking our way to achieving big dreams. Solving the blocks that are hiding in plain sight is one of the meaningful intentions we can have.

“What’s for dinner?” was a surprisingly complicated question for Kara and Steve. They thought their intention was simple: Healthy eating. Somehow, they never got there.

First, they were going to follow a special diet. But the restrictive list of foods coupled with their limited cooking skills made it impossible to manage.

Then they decided they would stop eating out every weekend. Dining out meant having drinks and appetizers at a local bar before moving on to a lavish meal. Although that plan was good on paper, they also wanted to see their friends.

Steve and Kara’s story applies to the way most of us start the year. We have a big, life-changing goal in mind, like flipping over our whole diet. But then reality kicks in. We start making little compromises. A load of bargains. Then we tell ourselves that hardly anyone has the outcome they want. And that’s how we get derailed by the end of January!

Let’s take a step back from the “what” of Steve and Kara’s story and think of the “why”. Eating well was just how the problem showed itself; the true issues were much deeper.

They really wanted to stop negotiating with each other during the drive home when they were both starving and irritable. They also wanted to have fun – with each other and their friends. Trying to have the cooking skills of a “Top Chef” contestant or accommodating a complicated diet every time they ate out was anything but fun.

In a sense, they wanted ease and connection. They ultimately got there through a combination of meal prep delivery, switching from pizza to salads to go, and an occasional splurge on the weekend. Practicing that kind of mindfulness has an inevitable ripple effect.

Before you produce a long list of intentions that will leave you shaking your head in a month, put the list in a drawer and sleep on it. The next day, think of the emotional satisfaction you’ll receive. That feeling is your true intention, the focus of the January series, My Soul Says Yes. Then take that feeling and plan what you’re going to do to put it into action.

For example, have you bought a shiny new planner because you’re trying to manage your time better? That’s a good start, but a meticulous schedule only works as a “what” if it supports more time available for the “why” – the people and activities you love.

This week, challenge yourself to go beyond a superficial goal and dig deep. Is the most important intention you’ll make this year hiding in plain sight?