Not Following Through on Your Intentions Impacts Your Productivity

I’m actually one of those people who enjoys getting exercise. I don’t mind hitting the health club for some interval training on the cross-trainer, treadmill or arc-trainer followed by some free-weight work. I also enjoy a bike ride at a good clip along the rail trail, or a brisk walk through my neighborhood or a day on the slopes. I’ve always enjoyed physical activities, and I know it is important to get some exercise everyday.

When you enjoy something, it just makes you feel better both mentally and physically. Yet, even with the best of intentions, I don’t always get the exercise that I desire. I’m sure that you’ve intended to do something in the past or even today and it just didn’t happen. What’s with that?

Best of Intentions? Really?

My mother had a great expression, “The first 100 years are the hardest”. Whenever I encounter a problem, I often hear her say that as if she were perched on my shoulder. So my problem? Despite my best intentions, I wasn’t always making it to the health club for my workout. Or, when I finally did make it, I was short on time and had to do a shorter workout.

On days where my schedule allows, I prefer to do my workout first thing in the morning because I’ve discovered that it gives me more energy throughout the day. With the craziness of life, that wasn’t always happening which was becoming frustrating. Well, who’s fault was it that I wasn’t making it to the health club or to the rail trail for a bike ride first thing in the morning? Mine!

Despite my best intentions to exercise and reap the benefits of that physical activity all day, the “first thing in the morning workout” didn’t always happen. What was getting in my way? Me! My early morning routine starts with unloading the dishwasher, grabbing the newspaper, turning on the laptop, having breakfast with our daughter and getting her off to school. Do you see it yet? Do you see what was getting in my way? What was getting between me and my best intentions?

Turning on the laptop did me in every single time! After our daughter hops on the bus, I would head to the office for a quick check of e-mails and my calendar, as well as deliverables of the day. Like a vortex, the laptop would suck me in. Before I knew it I needed to be heading out to meet with a client or to a meeting leaving no time for a workout. Then often times because of my schedule, finding time for some exercise became a challenge. I was getting frustrated…very frustrated!

So what did I do? I stopped turning the laptop on first thing in the morning. Our daughter heads out the door, I take a few quite reflective moments and sip my iced coffee, then it’s off to the health club. I’m back in just under an hour which generally gets me to my e-mails just as the rest of my time zone is arriving at their office. Seems to work for everyone!

What is getting in the way of your best intentions? What is stopping you from implementing a new process that you know would make work easier for you and your team members? What prevents you from sending that Get Well card to your friend? Why haven’t you been able to fix dinner for the neighbor who is juggling the needs of a chronically ill family member? It is such a good feeling when we are able to follow through on intentions. So why are you denying yourself that feeling of accomplishment?

Step back and take a look at what is standing in the way of you and your intentions. Remove that obstacle, change your path, get some support and then figure out what change needs to take place to enable you to make good on your intentions. That feeling of accomplishment sure beats feeling frustrated.