February 1, 2021

Intention and Attention

Intention and Attention

One month into the Year of the Body. I plan to have these monthly "accountability" posts if for no other reason than documenting this journey has intrinsic value.

This post is also a way to describe how I've implemented my initial decisions (the three Ms) and how I've made adjustments along the way.

One thing that became clear to me is the importance of Intention and Attention in changing some of my habits. I was instinctively knowing this concept but an article I read helped crystalize it.

Once your reflect and relate module goes online, you can access your values and can take the time to discern and evaluate how a particular habit is either beneficial or harmful. Does your next action really align with the person you want to be? Pausing to reflect lets you consciously create new, more positive habits.

Basically, you must work towards an intention and then you pay attention to how your choices further or hinder your progress.

But intentions can be tricky. They can't just be some woo woo form of The Secret or "manifesting the universe". That's just some narcissistic, entitled, consumerism bullshit. And they can't be focused on just the appealing end-state.  Everyone wants to be rich and famous, but who really wants to do all the things necessary for that to happen? Mark Manson has a few articles on this:

The Surprising Science of Goal Setting (And Why You’re Probably Doing It Wrong)
Setting goals points us in the right direction and helps us clarify our values. But hanging on to goals when they no longer serve us is a recipe for misery.
The Most Important Question of Your Life
If you’re not sure what you want out of life, there is one important question you must ask yourself. And the answer may surprise you.
How to Change Your Life
Change can be a difficult and slow process, but if you can see things just a little differently, you can start to see big progress. Here are 7 ideas that can help you figure out how to change your life.

So, I was very clear that my "goal" wasn't to lose a certain amount of weight or reach a certain body percentage of fat. If those are the happy byproducts, great.

My goal, as it were, revolves around Scotland. Teresa wanted to do a walking tour of the Scottish Highlands for her birthday this year. Obviously that had to be postponed, but in a way I'm glad. In the shape I'm in, I would be tired and cranky every day on the road. And cranky me makes life difficult for everyone around me. Who wants to spend all that time, money, and energy on a once in a lifetime trip only to have to deal with my bitchy ass mood. So, I want to be fit enough that walking 10-20 miles a day for a week would be enjoyable. Not necessarily easy, but worth the effort.

To do this, am I willing to endure the effort it takes to achieve it? Am I willing to eat healthier, drop some weight, build some cardio, strength, and endurance? Yes! These are all things I am willing to do to achieve that goal of having a kick ass adventure.

With that goal firmly in mind (along with all the associated health related benefits) it then is just a matter of paying attention to those efforts and ensuring that my actions align with the goal. Measurement definitely falls into the attention bucket. While I am not so focused on any given day's numbers, I do pay attention to trends and averages derived from those daily numbers. And when the scale goes in the wrong direction on any given morning, I can look to the measurement of food intake and exercise to reassure myself that I am making the right choices and that daily numbers are not the trend.

How am I doing? Without any specific numbers, I set an initial first push goal and estimated how long it would take to hit based on a fairly achievable pace. This set the target date for April 12th. If I progress at my current trending pace, I'll hit it March 10th, a month early. And that is something I am really happy with.