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Put Attention on Your Intentions


I think I know why some of you don’t succeed, including in overcoming your eating problems: your intentions and where you put your attention are not a matched set. Not even close. That is, your stated intentions are heading you in one direction while what you focus on is pulling you in another direction completely.

For example, I have a client who wants to eat better, be healthy, and lose weight. Although he makes sporadic attempts to do all the above, where he puts his energy is in getting ahead at work. I suggest he do a weekend workshop on mindful eating, and he says he can’t take time away from some big work project. Then he tells me the following session that he spent most of the weekend eating in front of the TV and barely got his work project done late Sunday night.

See what I mean? His intentions are the best but where he puts his attention is another story. What’s the point of having intentions if we’re not going to do what’s necessary to follow through to turn them into achievements? One thing is for sure: if they don’t matchup, we will always be disappointed because we don’t meet our goals.

If you set an intention to get a job, that’s where the bulk of your energy must go in order to snag one. If you set an intention to learn to eat intuitively, you must engage in activities that will teach you this skill set. If you want a romantic partner, you must be involved in activities that are going to bring you into contact with possibilities.

Where you put your attention must line up with and back up the intention you’re setting. If that doesn’t happen, it’s like telling everyone you’re heading to California from Denver, but instead driving toward Philadelphia or never even getting into your car.

An intention is an aim, something you set out to do. What are yours? Name a few you wholeheartedly want that are realistic. Now look at where you put your time, money, mental and physical energy and focus. Is what you’re doing now going to make that intention a reality? It’s okay if that isn’t the case. Just take a minute to come up with where you could put your attention that would be a natural outgrowth of your intention. 

Here's another way to change things up. Look at where you put your attention and think  about what it looks like your intention is. If someone were watching you, what would they surmise your intention is from your behaviors? 

If your intention is to eat better, what are you doing to make that happen? If that’s what you want, that’s where all or most of your attention needs to go.