intention for summer.jpg

oh my, it’s summertime!

Are you ready for days of slip ‘n’ slides, lemonade stands, and lazy days at the pool with a good book?!

Guess what? That may not happen. I mean, really, is there such a thing as a lazy day at the pool with kids?

And, yes, you may set up the slip ‘n’ slide, but the hose won’t reach all the way to the slope in your yard so you’ll have to make a trip to the store for a new one. Once you get back from the store, and find a way to connect it you’ll learn that your yard has more rocks in it than you had realized and your 6 year old ends up with a bloody knee after her third trip down the slide. She is now traumatized by the event and won’t go near the slip ‘n’ slide again.

If you set up your summer expecting that X-activity will “make” your summer, you may be sitting at the end of summer feeling as if you’ve failed.

expectations vs. intentions

We usually set expectations for our summer (ie, Summer Bucket List) rather than intentions. More over, we look at these summer activities - family beach trip, lazy summer evenings on the porch with a drink in hand, smores in the backyard with giggling kids catching fireflys - and expect it to bring us the emotion we seek (joy, glee, calmness & contentment), rather than seeking the emotion irrelevant of the activity taking place. Because, really, it’s the emotion we seek.

So why are we planning activities rather than planning emotions?

The definition of an expectation is: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. Whereas the definition of an intention is: a thing intended; an aim or plan.

Stated another way, an expectation is passive, it’s what you believe you’ll receive from an event, and an intention is active, it’s the emotion/action you plan to bring to an event.

Let’s say you are heading to a summer picnic with friends.

Expectation: I am going to have so much fun at this picnic because it will be day day full of playing yard games, everyone will rave over my fruit salad, and I can relax in the pool while telling stories, laughing and catching up with old friends.

You are a passenger in this storyline and have no real control over whether or not it comes to pass. If there are no yard games (who plans a picnic without yard games?), no one raves over your fruit salad, and your friends don’t want to get in the pool because it’s full of 13 year olds splashing around… you’ll probably leave the picnic disappointed with how the day turned out.

But if you begin your day with intentions (what you plan to bring to the party) rather than expectations (what you believe you’ll get out of the party), your day could be saved.

Intention: I am headed to the picnic full of happiness and excited to enjoy the company of life long friends today. This allows for most anything to happen and you’ll still walk away from the picnic happy that you were able to spend the day with old friends.

setting intentions for the summer

Let’s take this framework and apply it to our summer.

#1 Take stock of what you have on your plate this summer.

Let’s begin by being realistic about what you already have planned for the summer. Work commitments, travel, household projects, camps or summer sports for the kids, etc. This should be a list of everything that is already on the books, not a list of what you hope to squeeze onto that summer bucket list. We can have a tendency to underestimate the things we need to do and overestimate the space we have available to do things things we want to do, so let’s keep it simple by only including those must-do commitments.

It can be very helpful to put all this down on paper, in a calendar format, so you can see which weeks are filled to the brim and which weeks are open for some lazy summer days.

#2 Visualize how you want to feel this summer.

Now that we have the logistical stuff down on paper, let’s set that aside for a moment and get into a different headspace. Shake off any feelings you may have of overwhelm or the hard corners of technical planning. Breathe deep and ask yourself… What do you want to feel this summer? This can be more than one emotion - the best stories come with highs and lows, peaks and valleys, fast and slow.

Create a list of words that evoke these feelings.

Be sure to use positive words like “calm” instead of “not stressed”, “spontaneous” instead of “not overly planned out”. The power of positivity is real. Our brains cling to the words we use, even if there is a negative before that word. So, if you use “not stressed” your brain will hold on to the word “stressed”. I’m sure you can even feel it just by reading the negative words I just used in this paragraph. So, let’s keep it positive. Calm, Joyful, Adventurous, Relaxing, Lazy, Spirited, Gleeful, Spontaneous, Intriguing, Content, etc.

# 3 Link these feelings to activities/events that are already on your plate

One of my favorite quotes by Oprah, and I actually think it was from one of her guests, is “You are responsible for the emotion you bring into this room”. This is so clear when you think of attending a party. Just think of a time when you were looking forward to a party. You were getting ready with the music pumping, laughter throughout the house, and a smile on your face. Now think of a time when you did not want to go out. You begrudgingly got dressed, waited on the couch for others to be ready, and left the house with a sigh. In both these situations it doesn’t matter how bumping that party is, you’ve already determined what type of night you are going to have by the emotion you brought to it.

Let’s take that truth and make it work for us!

Take a look at your list of events for the summer (created in step one) and the list of feelings/emotions (created in step two). It’s now time to link the two.

If one of the emotions you are seeking is adventurous - what event or activity can you link this to? Could you view your travel commitment through an adventurous eye? If this is solo, work-related travel, you could take a lunch hour to walk the city and stumble across a new shop or restaurant. You could give yourself a $20 a day, cash-only budget and find creative ways to spend it. If it’s a family trip, you could let your child be in charge of directions when walking home from dinner or find a new walking trail to explore early one morning. There are so many ways you could add ‘adventure’ to your trip without adding more to your plate!

#4 Possibly add a handful of activities to your summer schedule

We all have a nostalgic idea of what summer should be filled with and I don’t want to begrudge you the joys of these summer activities. But, as you add these activities to your plan, be sure you are thinking of what emotion you want to bring to the activity and let that be the reward rather than a false expectation.

Also, take note of some of those softer emotions and outcomes you are seeking. Do you have words such as calm, relaxed, and content in your brainstorming list? These come with ease and space built into your schedule. These come with a slow Saturday morning with no where to be and nothing to do. These come up spontaneously, without planning. The moment you plan that *this Saturday* will be relaxing is the moment your kids will wake you up fighting over whether they will build a fort or bake brownies at 7am in the morning. This is why I say “possibly” add a handful of activities to your summer schedule.

Most of us could use a few months with fewer expectations and more intentions.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     It's about that time of year where we all begin to think of our new year's resolutions. On the top of my list every year is to take better care of myself, to fuel my body with nutritious meals,  move more and maybe loose a few pounds.  But this year I'm feeling motivated and am going to get a jump start on those goals by starting in December! December is a great time of year to start new healthy habits because you can set expectations for yourself that will help you to avoid indulging in too many of those holiday goodies. Plus, once January 1st rolls around you feel as if you are ahead of the curve and already going strong.  Whether you plan to join me in December, or plan to wait till the new year, I have you covered with five tips to starting your new Healthy Habits strong. And beginning Cyber Monday you can pick up our  NEW! Healthy Habits 12-week Workbook  to help keep you motivated and accountable along your journey. I'll be starting my Prep Week on November 28th and diving in to the 12-weeks on December 4th. I hope you'll join me!  So pick up your pencil and  press play now .

It's about that time of year where we all begin to think of our new year's resolutions. On the top of my list every year is to take better care of myself, to fuel my body with nutritious meals,  move more and maybe loose a few pounds.

But this year I'm feeling motivated and am going to get a jump start on those goals by starting in December! December is a great time of year to start new healthy habits because you can set expectations for yourself that will help you to avoid indulging in too many of those holiday goodies. Plus, once January 1st rolls around you feel as if you are ahead of the curve and already going strong.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     It's fairly easy to take ten minutes, sit down with a pen and paper, and create a list of life goals. A great big list of those exciting Bucket List adventures, those glitzy and glamorous possessions, and of course that sense of status you hope to acquire during your lifetime.  This is how many of us travel through life. Sitting down on a whim, brainstorming what experiences and things we want in our lives, and putting that list somewhere out there in the future to work towards. But many times. we find that our goals either become dreams or mundane tasks that we now feel obligated to pursue to say we've done it. On January 1st we set a goal of losing the weight, but by the time February 1st rolls around we've either given up or are doing the work out of obligation rather than energy. Setting goals in this way doesn't work because deep down we want more. In order to feel truly connected to your goals, they need to be born out of the  feelings  rather than the  things  you desire out of life.  None of this means you can't have a goal of losing weight, buying a boat, or traveling to far off lands. This exercise is simply a way of ensuring that those are goals you truly want, that they haven't been subconsciously added to your list by outside forces or that they are 'lingering goals' - goals that have always been on your list so you might as well add them to this year's list. Through this exercise it is my hope that you will create a list of goals that are bornn out of your actual desires in life.  So, in our creation of goals, let's switch things up and begin our list with the feelings and emotions we want to enhance in our lives. Today's worksheet will help you lay this all out.     


   
     
      
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   Worksheet 3 
   
     
      
         

        

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            
               
               Name  *  
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                  First Name 
                 
                 
                    
                  Last Name 
                 
               
            

            

            

            

            

            

        

            

            

            

            

            
               
                 Email Address  *  
                
                 
               
            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

        

         

      

      

      
       
         
       
      

      
        Thank you! All the worksheets from the  Build the Life You Want  series will be emailed to you soon.  
        
     
   
 
      If you are following along with this series, you may be wondering why I am having you re-write your goals week after week. It's deep, scientific, and above my pay grade. But the bottom line is that writing matters - putting pen to paper matters. It creates an emotional connection to your work that simply brainstorming or even typing doesn't give you. So, print the page and write out your list!   If you completed the activity from our last post, you'll start off with the list of your Top Emotions from the bottom of your last worksheet. If you haven't completed our previous activities, take a few minutes to do that now. It will be super helpful, I promise!  Take each feeling on its own. First, you'll find ways you can infuse that feeling into your daily or weekly routine. What small actions or changes in your routine can you do to bring a small burst of that energy into your day? Then take that feeling or emotion and name a few short-term goals - goals that take a few weeks to a few months to achieve. Knowing that you are pursuing these goals because of the  emotion  and  energy it brings you  can be game changing. You'll grow that emotion into the journey of achieving that goal rather than hoping that it's sitting there waiting for you at the end. Lastly, what long-term goals do you have that match the feelings you've listed?  Some of your short-term and long-term goals may be found on your list of goals from previous worksheets. Again, we aren't trying to create an entirely new list of goals to pursue. We are simply trying to ensure that the actions we fill our lives with, the pursuits we spend our lives chasing, are fulfilling the emotional needs we have.  Looking at your new list of goals now, do you feel more connected to them? Do you feel that pursuing your goals can now change your life in a deeper way?  As new goals come up in life - as you see your house a mess and mentally add "afford a weekly housekeeper" to your list of goals - you now k now to take the time to ask yourself why? What deeper emotional need is this new "want" trying to fill? Does this goal, project, task bring me closer to growing one of these feelings in my life?

It's fairly easy to take ten minutes, sit down with a pen and paper, and create a list of life goals. A great big list of those exciting Bucket List adventures, those glitzy and glamorous possessions, and of course that sense of status you hope to acquire during your lifetime.

This is how many of us travel through life. Sitting down on a whim, brainstorming what experiences and things we want in our lives, and putting that list somewhere out there in the future to work towards. But many times. we find that our goals either become dreams or mundane tasks that we now feel obligated to pursue to say we've done it.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Our list of goals in life, whether carefully crafted and written out in detail or simply floating around in our heads, tell us something about what we really want out of life. When you take a good look at that list, achieving a goal, attaining a possession or status, is less about acquiring that thing and more about the feeling - the emotion - we are are yearning for.  You may read this and have an initial reaction of "Hey, wait a second. This trickster is going to try and talk me out of wanting that boat because it's materialistic and not what life is  really  all about." Don't worry - you can keep the boat on your list and hopefully have weekends filled with sunshine, lake breezes and cool cocktails! This isn't about taking materialistic goals off of your list at all, it's just about taking a good look at your list and figuring out what each goal, each achievement you are seeking, is really all about.  Let's say you have a big house on a corner lot on your goal list. You may even know which house it is. You may drive by it every Sunday afternoon. Just seeing it gives you peace and an inner motivation to take on the work week ahead of you! What you may not realize is that you don't really want that house on the corner lot. That house may signify security when you are feeling unstable. It may signify status when you are feeling less than. It may signify pride of achievement when you are feeling weary from lack of progress. There are deeper emotions at play here and in order to really connect with our goals, we must find out what we are truly searching for and better understand what we actually want out of life.  If we can attach an emotion to our goal and focus on how to bring that emotion into our lives, a funny thing can happen - our list of goals may grow or even shift. We learn that there are a number of different ways to bring that emotion into our lives, and it can happen fast than we had planned for.  I read a quote a few years back that said, "You are responsible for the energy you bring into this room". It is so true! We cannot wait for outside forces to make us happy, to feel successful, to feel optimistic or energetic. We need to bring that energy into the room with us. So, if you have a goal of buying a boat so that you can have more adventure and freedom in your life - you can keep that boat on your list. I mean, who wouldn't want a boat, right? But don't wait for the boat. Find ways to add adventure and freedom into your life right now. Wake up on Saturday, put on your sneakers, pack a lunch and a bottle of water, and go for a hike. You can infuse the emotion you are seeking into your life TODAY.  We will never achieve happiness if we put it on the other side of achievement.  In today's worksheet, you'll rewrite your too big and too small goals and attach the emotion you are seeking by reaching that goal. If you haven't read  last week's post  on this, start with that post. For each goal, you may find that more than one emotion comes up, and that's okay. You also may find that a single emotion is feeding many goals. Once your list is complete, pull out your top 2-4 emotions you are seeking to heighten in your life. These will be used in next week's homework!     


   
     
      
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   New Form 
   
     
      
         

        

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            
               
               Name  *  
               Name 
              
                 
                    
                  First Name 
                 
                 
                    
                  Last Name 
                 
               
            

            

            

            

            

            

        

            

            

            

            

            
               
                 Email Address  *  
                
                 
               
            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

        

         

      

      

      
       
         
       
      

      
        Thank you! All the worksheets from the  Build the Life You Want  series will be emailed to you soon.

Our list of goals in life, whether carefully crafted and written out in detail or simply floating around in our heads, tell us something about what we really want out of life. When you take a good look at that list, achieving a goal, attaining a possession or status, is less about acquiring that thing and more about the feeling - the emotion - we are are yearning for.

You may read this and have an initial reaction of "Hey, wait a second. This trickster is going to try and talk me out of wanting that boat because it's materialistic and not what life is really all about." Don't worry - you can keep the boat on your list…

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Welcome to  Building the Life You Want , our weekly series for this month. Each week we'll be covering a new step to help you uncover what it is you really want to focus on, what type of life you want to build for yourself. If you are wanting to follow along with the series, I'd suggest giving yourself 30 minutes a week to read through the post and complete the worksheet. A new post will be available every Tuesday.  I'm excited to see where we can go when we set intentional, mindful goals for our life!     Day One: Have you ever really defined what you want out of life?   Many of us are toggling between at least two type of days.  Option One: The day goes by filled with task after task until the day is done and we chalk it up to  just another one of those days .  Option Two: We get a wave of inspiration, become energized by the possibility of what the future could hold - if only we did THIS THING! But, we let that energy fade because we are either too scared to make that dream a reality or we let that list of tasks take over once again.  Unfortunately, neither of these options help us move forward and build the life we want.  I did this for years. Yes....years. I talked a big game - oh yeah, I had DREAMS! And usually I could tell you items 1-100 that I needed to do to make those dreams a reality. But, suiting up and getting myself out onto that playing field - that was another story.  I was scared.  I was scared that I'd get in over my head. Sure, I know how to do items 1-5, but that number 6 ... whew, people will surely realize that I'm not meant to be there by that point.  I was scared that because I had so many dreams that I wouldn't choose the  right  one. What if I get into it and it's not what I really want?  I was scared that the dream was better than the reality. As long as I kept it out there - out at some future date - it couldn't hurt me. I could make my dream as BIG as I could make it and I couldn't fail at something I was  planning  on doing.  I had friends and family cheering me on. People loved that I LOVED to dream and they just  knew  that I'd make it happen, one day.  And that was a happy place to be in - until it wasn't.  I don't think I'm alone in this. I believe many of us grew up with big dreams. We'd sit around our dorm rooms in college talking about what we'd become -  someday . And we believed it. Oh yes, our someday would come - after we achieve  this  and get  this thing  done. Then we'd have time to focus on ourselves and make our dreams a reality.  Then our lives become focused on those little things, on getting ourselves settled in life. Or, those wonderful little beings called children entered our lives and the idea that it was NOW time to focus on ourselves and OUR dreams - was laughable.  We have important, grown-up things to take care of now.  All of this puts us in a place where we might not know what we  really  want out of life. Those dreams that we made unattainable, for the fun of it or to keep us safe from ever having to actually pursue them - they aren't really want we want out of life. Few of us can stand firmly in proclaiming that what we really want out of life is a beach house for the summer, a housekeeper, nanny and chef, a lake house for those cozy fall weekends, a mountain cabin for adventurous winters, to travel to far reaching parts of the globe, and of course to support various charities.  We've created a dream life for ourselves that is just that - a dream.  So what is it that we tell ourselves we want? We create a realistic, achievable vision for what we want out of life that's so small or responsible that it's boring.  We aren't motivated by saying we want to save for our kids college, pay off our mortgage and have enough tucked away to splurge ever once in awhile. Few people wake up with vigor and energy ready to pay off that student loan.  And nowhere in either of these definitions of what we want out of life can you find anything about what your life actually  feels  like.  We are stuck between dreaming too big or too small.  You dream too big and you risk it remaining a dream, never to be pursued. You dream too small and yes, you may check off those boxes, but are you living a fulfilled life?  Luckily these too big & too small dreams can give us hints as to what we are really looking for out of life!  Today's worksheet will help you brainstorm around both visions you have for your life. Both the dream life that is so big it may just remain a dream and that responsible grown-up vision for your life where you achieve everything you are  supposed  to achieve.  When you complete these sections, complete them with the achievements or things you've always dreamed of rather than anything you think you  should be  dreaming about. What I mean here is that our society has a tendency to tell us what success should look like - you know those images of the rich and famous sipping champagne on a yacht off the coast of France. If that is a media-created dream and not a dream you have in your heart, don't include it. I want YOUR big dreams.  At the bottom of the worksheet you'll find a section to write what you want your life to feel like. This is an extremely important part of goal setting that we often overlook. Imagine yourself waking up and going through your Ideal Day and all the feelings you want associated with the different pieces of your day. Use emotional words like peaceful, energized, intrigued, fulfilled, proud, inquisitive, adventurous, challenged, soul-filled, connected. Make sure you can define these words for yourself. If you include "fulfilled", in what way? What does that mean to you?  We'll continue our Build the Life You Want series next week with  Why do we want what we want?      


   
     
      
        Pick up your worksheet here!
      
     
   


 
   Pick Up Your Worksheet 
   
     
      
         

        

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            
               
               Name  *  
               Name 
              
                 
                    
                  First Name 
                 
                 
                    
                  Last Name 
                 
               
            

            

            

            

            

            

        

            

            

            

            

            
               
                 Email Address  *  
                
                 
               
            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

            

        

         

      

      

      
       
         
       
      

      
        Thank you!  Your worksheet is on it's way to your email!

Welcome to Building the Life You Want, our weekly series for this month. Each week we'll be covering a new step to help you uncover what it is you really want to focus on, what type of life you want to build for yourself. If you are wanting to follow along with the series, I'd suggest giving yourself 30 minutes a week to read through the post and complete the worksheet.