How to Put Intention Setting into Practice: An Success Story


How to Put Intention Setting into Practice

In this article, I’m going to tell you how I recently put intention setting into practice — because stories are a great way to illustrate the power of intentions.

The practice of intentionality prompted a couple of questions. One, in particular, is: How have I stood in the way of my success? Which led to another question: What sort of barriers are getting in the way of what I really want to manifest in this life?

In this article, you will learn the value of intention setting with a real-life story to illustrate how to put intentions in place. Plus, a discussion of identifying obstacles that can slow down the manifesting process, particularly concerning ADHD.

If you are new to the concept of intention setting and want to learn more about it, check out this article — Everything You Need to Know about Powerful Intention Setting. 

Putting Intention Setting into Practice: A Story

This story begins with a coaching session that took place last week. 

While sitting in a local coffee shop, I logged onto Zoom for a coaching call with Ashley Looker. I’ve worked with her in the past. More recently, she’s helping me get fired up about my business again (this whole pandemic thing caused me to lose sight of my why; in the process, I almost lost my passion for what I do).

In our time together, we are following The Fire Starter Sessions book by Danielle LaPorte. On this particular day, we discussed Chapter 3: Core Desired Feelings. One of this chapter’s main topics is to act the way you want to feel. We talked about the core desired feelings I want in my life — and they are pretty damn similar to my business values.

After this, we started to talk about how I could put my core desired feelings into practice IRL (in real life). If you’re thinking someone is about to create some intentions with core desired feelings, you are right!

How Do You Want to Feel? Use that to Set Intentions

Here’s the thing. The upcoming week that we were talking about was going to be different than most weeks. Which, was actually a little bit of a blessing in disguise. It helped me to really dig into how I wanted to feel about setting my intentions.

My week was different than most because my daughter and her friend were going to attend a volleyball camp at the University of Oregon. Since the pandemic has changed things, the camp would not have an overnight component as it did in the past. This meant I would be traveling to Eugene and staying there with them. The silver lining — I would be alone in a hotel room from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

After my life was turned upside down with the pandemic over the past couple of years (as was everyone else’s), I’ve had very few opportunities to have an uninterrupted — 7 hours — alone! Let alone the ability to have seven hours to myself for three days in a row!

If you can’t tell, I was starting to get excited about this free time. So, Ashley asked me…

What are you going to do while you are in Eugene?

My response wasn’t exactly off the cuff. The question had been swirling around in my mind for several weeks.

Do I…

  • Veg out because I’ll be alone without responsibilities? Super tempting!!
  • Sit by the pool with a good book, decompress and enjoy myself? Damn, that would be fun!
  • Spend my time getting work done? If so, what should I do?

We talked through the various options while relating them back to those core desired feelings.

The core desired feeling I wanted was to feel Energized!
In order to create the energy I was craving, it meant I’d focus on work while in Eugene.

Wait, what?! You wanted to work instead of chillin’ and soaking up the sunshine by the pool?

Yep, you read that right! 

Here’s why: Last month I had alone time at home to veg out. And, while reading next to a pool hadn’t happened recently, that was more of a would-be-nice situation. In other words, it wasn’t exactly the thing I’d been craving for two years. 

After sitting with the idea of wanting to feel energized, I realized something:

Having quality, uninterrupted time was the one thing I’d been longing for the past couple of years — but hadn’t been able to get as much as I wanted.

The awareness that opened the door to this realization was pretty amazing. At the same time, this prompted me to think about the following questions:

Why was this something I’d been craving? And, why hadn’t I been doing it sooner?

Answering these questions would uncover some barriers that I had been ignoring. Let’s dig deeper into the barriers and then we’ll get back to how I put intention setting into practice.

ADHD as a Barrier

You might be wondering, why are you craving quality, uninterrupted time to write? 

Well, the expectations of daily life can be hard to ignore. I’m sure you understand what I mean. In my world, this has recently shown up as short work days to pick up my youngest from school (school gets dismissed at 2:10 pm — WTF?!). And, since I would be in town to pick her up from school, this meant I’d also need to run errands (we live ~20 minutes outside of city limits). By the time we’d get back home, it was usually time to start getting dinner ready (yes, we eat early!). This meant the rest of the day was basically lost, as now I needed to do all the mom-life things.

Why such short days? Well, my days are basically split between working on my business and being a stay-at-home mom. Here’s the thing, I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom (no disrespect to those who do. It’s just not for me — and my ADHD; I’m terrible at sticking to routines). However, I’ve had to make concessions as a new-ish business that has faced obstacles due to the pandemic. That means I’ve had to take on more homemaker-related duties.

Let the Record Reflect

Being a stay-at-home mom is not a Peggy Bundy ‘Married with Children’ situation. In other words, you’re not just sitting at home eating bonbons and spending your husband’s money all day. Fuck that.

Being a stay-at-home mom requires serious engineering. Planning and executing meal time on a tight timeline and no margin of error to ensure arriving to practice on time. Otherwise, the rest of your scheduled events, chores, and errands will be impacted. It takes some serious attention to detail!

At the start of the pandemic, I sucked it up and took on more household and family-related things than before. Two years later, I desperately want my family to step up and do more so I can return to my business. I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t been able to simply work on my business from 8 am to 4 pm like I used to.

Recently, I’ve been trying to understand why I have such a hard time balancing all the home/family stuff and my work. And, it’s become apparent my struggle with splitting my time between work and being a stay-at-home mom are deeply rooted in ADHD.

Diving deeper into ADHD as a barrier, there are a couple of mental hurdles I struggle to overcome daily.

  • Mental hurdle #1 – Focusing on a task can be hard to do.
    • ADHD means it takes me more time than others to focus on a task. Moreover, re-focusing after being interrupted by a task can take at least 20 minutes. Talk about a productivity crusher, especially when on a tight timeline. Also, not a great thing when you’ve got kids at home asking questions.
      • Side note: If you’ve never struggled to focus on a task that needed to happen, consider yourself incredibly lucky. There are times the inability to focus on a task can feel debilitating.
  • Mental hurdle #2 – Having the time and space to get focused. Like, really focused.
    • Warning, this feels like it might contradict the previous point, but it’s the nature of the ADHD beast!
    • When I am focused on something, that is all I want to do. While it can be challenging to get focused on something, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to stop once I get started.
      • That intense ability to focus can result in working on a project for 8, 10, 12, or 15+ hours on a task or project. We are talking productivity hyperdrive! But, also difficult to achieve when dinner needs to be made, or a kid needs to be shuttled to practice.

Hyper-focused & I can’t stop!

ADHD stands for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A common misconception about ADHD is that those who have the condition cannot focus on something for a long time. While that is true in some situations, there are some circumstances where it’s not the case. Here’s what I mean —

When I’m engrossed in a project, such as writing a blog post, it often falls under the hyperactivity segment of ADHD. In other words, I am hyper-focused on the task. This hyper-focused or hyper-fixated state is like being in your own world or dimension. You are not bound by the same laws of time and space. You get sucked into this black hole that involves only that task. There are no other thoughts. There are no other people. And, your body doesn’t need food, sleep, or bathroom breaks.

Being in this hyper-fixated state is like being in a time warp doing the one and only thing you want to do at that moment. It’s addicting which leads to frustration when you have to break that concentration.

Real-world examples of hyper-focused in ADHD

If you’ve ever told a kid with ADHD to stop doing something they are hyper-focused on, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of the meltdown.

That kid is so engrossed in the YouTube video, art project, video game, or another form of entertainment that they enjoy themselves and don’t want to do anything else.

Pulling them away from the one thing they are engrossed in results in a near (or full-fledged) meltdown.

Uh, yea. I might as well be that little kid — I want to throw a tantrum when I have to stop a task I’m fixated on!!

Quality, uninterrupted time (AHA hyper-focused time)

The whole reason for telling you this — it plays into why I want to have quality, uninterrupted time. I want to be so engrossed in a task that time and space come to a stop. For me, this is where the magic happens! But, it’s hard to replicate when juggling the many expectations of mom life (especially during a pandemic).

This shines a light on the dualities of my daily struggles:

  • On the one hand, I can’t get focused (primarily because of ADHD and I’m thinking about other life obligations).
  • On the other hand, I don’t regularly have the time/space to allow myself to become so thoroughly engrossed in a task to enter my own time warp (because I have to engage in those daily life obligations).

It’s a vicious cycle that feeds itself — and my frustration.

All I want to do is work on things that will level up my business, I find myself pulled into so many directions I have difficulty focusing on what needs to be done. This brings in another conundrum…

Warning: Productivity crushed ahead

Have you ever experienced the inability to complete tasks because you are too worried about an appointment or event later in the day?

As in, you are so worried about it, you can’t do anything else beforehand? Even if it is like 6 or 7 hours away?! Yea, that’s me.

Knowing I must finish a task by a particular time often results in a productivity nightmare. Until recently, I thought this was something that was unique to me. As in, I was the only weirdo that felt utterly paralyzed because of something on my calendar that doesn’t happen until — several hours — later in the day. Well, thanks to Reddit, I know I am not alone in this struggle!

A real-life example

When I came across this Reddit post, it stopped me in my tracks. I knew it needed to be saved because it’d come in handy later. It is also super helpful in describing this inability to focus…

Screenshot of Reddit image that reads: Cooking mama Blockchaing @tanklesbain writes - Can someone please explain to me why my dipshit brain chooses to interpret ‘I have an appointment in seven and a half hours’ as ‘I have no time to do anything else. I have to just sit here.”
Same, @tanklesbian. Same!

This is exactly what I’ve been trying to describe. Not being able to focus on what needs to happen — right now — because of some appointment 7 and a half hours later. Uh, so frustrating!

Thankfully, an intelligent Redditor replied with the answer, and it was a simple one: “Reachback.”

That paralyzed state when you can’t do anything, all because of a lingering appointment later in the day, results from a phenomenon called reachback.

I had no idea there was a word to describe my feelings. Before this, I thought I had some sort of fundamental (or executive functioning) flaw that caused me to have this issue. While parts of that are probably true (especially the executive functioning piece)…

I’m not the only weirdo that struggles with this problem!! — Please raise your hand and let me know if the phenomenon of reachback has ever caused you to get absolutely nothing done. Drop a comment below!

Timeout: I don’t want to leave you hanging by identifying these barriers without solutions. So, I want to take a quick moment to remind you of this — Setting intentions can be a great way to help you focus on what needs to happen. For myself, this means setting intentions at the beginning of the week or daily intentions. If you’re experiencing issues with reachback, if possible, try limiting appointments to one or two days a week. I’ll be back with more ideas to help in the future!

Back to where we started…

Setting Intentions for My Trip to Eugene

Knowing I wanted quality, uninterrupted time, and it was about to happen in my immediate future, I wanted to ensure that I maximized it!

This was an excellent opportunity to put intention setting into practice. It was time to dig into my intentions for the Eugene trip. My plan was to get work done. Now, what exactly would I work on?

The answer actually came to me pretty quickly. After writing an article in April, Everything You Need to Know About Powerful Intention Setting, Plus Examples, I’ve been itching to write more about intentions. (Exercising some grace for myself, I have written other blog posts on intentions, such as this Daily Intentions blog post. I really just want to write more!).

At the same time, a million ideas were swirling around in my head (thank you, ADHD!!). A part of me was worried I would work on too many different things, and then feel as though I didn’t get anything done. It was clear I needed to write out my intentions for the trip.

Honestly, the timing of this trip and the coaching call the day before I left felt like a nudge from the Universe. It seemed like a Divine intervention to focus my efforts on writing more about intentions.

My intentions for the week…

  • Utilize my time to focus on creating content about intention setting.
    • Brainstorm, research, and write an outline for at least one new blog post.
    • Create a free download to help readers implement intention setting into their lives.
    • Write content about intentionality, but allow space for flexibility to adjust the specificity of the information. (Just in case I’m feelin’ a specific sub-topic)

Feeling into the Intentions — Are They Going to Help?

Since the whole conversation started with talking to Ashley about my core desired feelings, we talk about how these intentions would fit into my desire to feel energized. Here are some of the questions she asked about the intentions to make sure they were what I really needed: 

  • Did these intentions fit into my core desired feeling of energize?
  • Did these intentions feel as though I could do them?
  • Did I have reservations about anything?
  • Were they too specific or not specific enough?
  • Was I confident I’d be able to make progress on them?

Initially, I was a little worried. Did I really want to work while in Eugene? Would it be better to chill out by the pool? But, as I was reminded of my core desired feelings, it was clear that I wanted to do these things. Here were my thoughts/answers to these questions:

  • Did these intentions fit into my core desired feeling of energize?
    • Absolutely. Since I’ve had this burning desire to have quality, uninterrupted time to write, I would be doing exactly that in Eugene. And, I was certain that would help my energy level to increase.
  • Did these intentions feel as though I could do them?
    • Yes. I had already done some leg work for brainstorming and researching at least one intentions-related blog post. So, it wasn’t the type of thing where I had to start from scratch.
  • Did I have reservations about anything?
    • At first, I was a little worried that I would want to spend my time at the pool. But, I also reminded myself just how badly I’ve wanted the time/space to write. It was clear I wanted to write more than anything else.
  • Were they too specific or not specific enough?
    • To me, these intentions are bang on — exactly what I need! Not too restrictive. And, not too broad. Allowing flexibility by picking the specific intentions-related topic while in Eugene was key; I could capture my excitement for that particular keyword in the moment and move forward with it. At the same time, I was clear that my focus would be on intentions. If another great keyword appeared in my research, it would have to wait.
  • Was I confident I’d be able to make progress on them?
    • Yes! Having already done a little bit of leg work in the realm of researching intention-related keywords, I had a good starting point. And, by not having overly restrictive expectations, such as planning a blog post that needed to meet 5,000 words, I allowed the process to unfold naturally.

And, guess what… it worked!

Setting Intentions for the Trip WORKED!

With these intentions written out before leaving, I left for my trip feeling confident — and motivated!! The crazy part, the first day of my trip started at 4:45 am (after only five hours of sleep) to drive to Eugene.

Despite the early start, I was ready to hit the ground running when I sat down in front of my computer. Without hesitation, I chipped away at brainstorming, researching, and writing a new blog post on intention setting.

By Friday afternoon, I had accomplished everything I set out to do!

All in all, I successfully accomplished what I had set out to do for the three-day trip. Being intentional helped me to manifest that success. The best part, it felt incredible to put into practice the things I’ve been learning, teaching, and writing about lately.

Wait, one more success — I generated the core desired feeling I wanted for the trip: Energized! Despite the last day being a long one with a three-hour drive home, I had an extra bounce in my step. My soul felt great. I had created exactly what I wanted. It was all because I was intentional and followed through with that intentionality.

Bringing it to a Close

Moral of the Story: Intention setting is so helpful! (Especially for those of us with ADHD).

I hope this blog post helps you to see things a little differently. And, to better understand how to effectively use them in your life. Of course, we won’t always get the opportunity to have 21 hours of quality, uninterrupted time for three days. But, we can do what we set out to accomplish if we harness the power of intention setting!

How about you? Have you tried intention setting? Were you successful in your practice? Drop a comment below. I’d love to hear how you’ve used intention setting in your life.

XOXO Kristi

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