Today I Will…
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This slogan is simply about pausing to reflect on and set our intentions for what we will do each day. To set an intention is more than merely thinking “it would be good or nice if I…”. it is to resolve that I will actually do something. Among the things that we might do are things we want to do, things we ought to do, things that we must do, and things that we ought to refrain from doing. We know, however, that it is very possible we will do none of these things. We will give in to other people’s expectations and demands and our own impulses for immediate comfort, pleasure and distraction. This is why it is important to focus and set our intentions for the day.
The things that we do can be divided into tasks and practices. A task is something we do that accomplishes a practical end, like washing our dishes or clothes, changing a lightbulb, writing an email, cooking a meal, renewing our car insurance, paying taxes etc. A practice is something we do regularly to restore, strengthen and maintain our general well-being. In his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey uses the metaphor of “sharpening the saw”. The task of a saw is to cut wood. In order for it to do so effectively, it must be sharpened regularly. Practices are what we do to “sharpen” ourselves, so that we will be more effective in our lives. Maybe more than simply “effective”, with the right practices we could be clearer, more at ease, more confident, more powerful and aligned with our purpose. Practices can include things like meditation, yoga, exercise, journaling, studying, learning a musical instrument, affirmations and visualizations, etc. Setting our intentions for what we will do each day could include tasks, practices or both.
As I have mentioned in another blog, there are 4 main areas that we can consider when reflecting on what is important to do each day: 1. Body 2. Mind 3. Relationships 4. Environment.
What could you do/refrain from doing to take care of your body today? Diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation? Do you need to make that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off? Do you need to buy and start taking that amazing supplement your friend told you about? Is it time to finally start flossing your teeth, get your hearing checked or get a new prescription for your glasses? Do you need to get a massage, attend a yoga class, start using skin moisturizer, get a haircut, buy some new shoes or a winter coat? You get the idea.
What might you focus your mind/attention on today? Might you try to notice what you are grateful for and the things you are proud of, instead of focusing on your disappointment and regrets? Is there a problem you need to find a solution for? Like figuring out whether to fix or replace your broken refrigerator, how to invest your savings or how to pay the vet bill for your sick dog? Is there something you need/want to learn? Do you need to slow down anxious thoughts and find your quiet center? How might you do that?
Is there someone you want to connect with that you could call or email? Do you need to have a difficult conversation with your partner or your boss? Do you want to express your gratitude and some show love and affection to a special person? Is it time to send out invitations and host a party? Do you need to confess and atone for something you feel remorse about? What about buying that perfect gift you saw in the shop before it’s gone? Do you need to set a boundary and say “no” to someone who has crossed a line? Do you need to take the risk of being vulnerable and exposing your real feelings more in order to experience real connection and intimacy with someone?
Do you feel, pleased, satisfied, safe and comfortable in your home environment? Does it need any cleaning or tidying today? Does your dishwasher need repair (like mine did yesterday)? Does anything need to be replaced, like a broken chair or worn-out bathroom towels? Could your home’s beauty be enhanced, perhaps with a colorful rug or a piece of art on the wall? Do your smoke detectors work? What about your work environment? Is there any way to make it feel less toxic? And where might you spend some leisure time to feel restored and nurtured after a stressful week of work? Nature? A concert? Skiing? Boating? A cathedral? How might you take care of and enjoy your environment more and where could you go to take care of yourself more?
I hope that this gets the ball rolling in terms of considering how you might fill in the blank- Today I Will _____. Maybe some days you will be ambitious and have many things you commit to doing. Other days, maybe it is just one simple thing. For some of us there may be days when simply getting out of bed is a worthy accomplishment. That’s okay. Maybe our intention will be more about what we commit to avoiding, like an addiction or an argument or a chocolate cake. It doesn’t matter. I believe that the important thing is that every day we find a way, no matter how small, to exercise our will and take responsibility for ourselves and our lives and our impact on others. It helps tremendously if we can clarify what we want and what we want our purpose to be in our lives. That might be where we need to start, i.e., setting aside time to think about these things.
And by the way… being a therapist doesn’t mean I have mastered this myself, or that I am exempt from the need to do it. For instance, this morning I set my intension- Today I will… write a blog about ‘Today I Will’. I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel like it and I wasn’t sure I had the concentration for it. There is a movie on Netflix I thought about watching instead. Having come to the end of this blog, however, I can genuinely say that I am pleased that I didn’t and that I have fulfilled my intention. I don’t like giving guarantees, but I'll make an exception this time. If you clarify, declare and fulfill your intentions, you will feel much better than you would have otherwise. I guarantee it. Perhaps having this slogan on a mug that you drink coffee or tea from every morning will give you just the reminder you need to set your intentions and course for the day.