When Intention Is Not Enough

Copyright 2006 Lisa Ann Homic, M.Ed. D.C.

We all have moments when we want to improve something in our lives. Whether it is to lose weight, exercise more, fight less with family, or remember birthdays, the attempt fades into the distance when we are slaves to our stress induced schedules. It is not that easy to add something new to the plate when it is already full.

And we all have good intentions. We talk to ourselves constantly about the other things we should be doing. When that little voice inside says, “Easier said than done…” we resign ourselves to doing nothing.

Many self help groups profess recognizing the problem as a first step. It may be a vision of better things to come, but it is not a literal step. It is just a stance. There is no movement. There is no action. I may be mincing words, but it is just an excuse to procrastinate. There is no true commitment. There is only a commitment to continue ruminating. This is no revelation, but stalling often results in that “icky” and uncomfortable feeling. Sometimes that feeling is enough to move someone to address permanent change. Often the feeling is overridden and ignored similar to a pebble in the shoe. It can be painful for so long but the owner never realizes the opportunity to take the pebble out of the shoe.

We are living in a stressful world and our shoes are filled with pebbles. Sometimes we feel we are not in control enough to take the pebbles out. We are prisoners to our jobs because a career change is perceived as too risky and the family needs to keep the health insurance benefits thanks to an unpredictable economy. Changes are difficult to make for similar reasons. There are so many priorities. Choices that are perceived to be too selfish, are rejected.

There is a point in time when good intentions are not enough. Prisons are filled with people who had good intentions but gave in to temptation and peer pressure. We do not have to imprison ourselves by our own expectations. Expectations can be changed.

The first real step to take is to identify one activity that you wish to change or discontinue and internalize all the negative drawbacks of staying the same. Tony Robbins eloquently explains this in his book, Awaken the Giant Within. Differentiating between the drives of pain and pleasure is how he addresses this in the book. He teaches how to invest the time to practice “reliving” the negative outcomes so the temptation is decreased. Using a support network to reinforce rather than enable is crucial, as well. Sometimes this requires letting go of unfulfilling relationships. A personal coach is a great asset to help keep the goals alive when we are still in the habit of getting lost in the details of day to day activities. Coaching helps reshape the “worker bee mentality” so focusing on real change is followed by real success.