What do you want? Reset your intentions, fast

Here’s an easy and powerful exercise in self-discovery that reveals what you want and helps you get it at the same time. It’s easy because it’s got only three steps. It’s powerful because it starts with gratitude.

Step 1

First make a list of 10 things in your life that you really like. Don’t overthink, and don’t categorize. Mix it up. Maybe you like your dog, your spouse’s corny jokes, and the sound of the mourning dove outside your window as dawn breaks. Just let ’em come. I think you’ll be pleased to see how cool your life is, just as it is.

Step 2

Then make a list of 10 things you have in your life that you don’t like. Mmm. They flow pretty easily too. Maybe you don’t like how you and your spouse relate around money, how you don’t always stand up for yourself, and how you never seem to find time for yoga. Now, one by one, review these. Then ask, What do I want instead?

Step 3

Make a third list. One by one cross out what you don’t like and replace it with what you want instead. “I want to talk about money with my spouse openly, honestly, and easily.” “I want to speak my mind in a voice that is confident, strong, respectful, and clear.” “I want to resume Tuesday night yoga classes and replace watching the Today show with practice.”

This exercise is a simple and effective way to reset cognitive patterns. While I’ve introduced it here as a general life practice, it works equally well when applied to a single area, such as the way your work team communicates or how your senior management group thinks about planning.

Just do it.

I learned this technique from Robert Fritz in the course he developed and taught in the 80s called DMA.

(Image courtesy of coleypauline via Creative Commons)



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