The 100 Day Intention Experiment – Part 1
About two months ago I was involved in an accident. Since this accident I’ve had lots of questions, first of which was how did I survive. I had slipped and fallen off of a high waterfall and landed in about 1.5 feet of water, but mostly rock. When my friends arrived down to where I had fallen, the look on their faces was as if they had seen a ghost. Thankfully they were able to help me hike out of the woods. I’m lucky to have such great friends. The waterfall was 75 feet. I managed to grab some branches and rocks on the way down so the free fall was only 30 feet or so. I went over the falls head first, but managed to turn myself around and point my feet down so that I was falling vertically. I am very thankful for years of martial arts training that taught me to relax and focus during times of stress. I believe it was this ability to focus, as well as being able to relax and exhale on impact that helped to reduce trauma. After a series of x-rays it was determined that I didn’t even break anything. It was a miracle. I’m still working on rehabbing my ankles and knees, but overall I’m good.
This post is less about that story and more about what this experience pushed me towards. Like I said, I’ve had lots of thoughts since this accident; gratitude, curiosity, wonder, fear etc. One thought that has come up regularly is intention. The experience made me ask a great question – “How intentional are my moments, days, weeks and general direction?” So I decided to create an intention experiment.
I definitely have lots of good things going on right now and am busy, but wasn’t as intentional as I would like, so I changed. Today is day 50 of a 100 day experiment I decided to start. This experiment was inspired by my study of daily practices in graduate school, my martial arts practice and an inspirational story I heard about a man named Hal Elrod. If you don’t know Hal’s story, you should look into it. He wrote a book called The Miracle Morning, which is also worth checking out. The idea is about setting a routine at the first part of the day that then sets the tone for the rest of the day, physically and mentally. So, why 100 days? It seemed like a nice round number and also enough time to form a new habit, which is my goal.
Having a daily practice is not something new for me. However, I haven’t had a regular routine like this that is regimented and covers a few different focal points. I want to share the routine because I’ve found it to be so helpful. The order has had some variation but for the most part this is how it goes:
- I wake up, brush my teeth, splash some water on my face and sometimes put in my contacts.
- I do 10 minutes of seated meditation. The meditation I do is mostly just focused on relaxation and how I’m breathing. I do this first because I’ve noticed that I recall my dreams much better, which often times there are some nuggets of inspiration there for me.
- A short warm up, stretching and moving and then into a Tai Chi form that I have been practicing for the last 7 years or so. I think I’m at the point now finally that I can do this form and feel like a beginner. There is so much to the art of Tai Chi, but that’s for another post.
- I then start a Chi Kung which I have also been practicing for some time now. Chi Kung is another kind of meditation.
- I do about 10-15 minutes of movement that helps to get my blood flowing even more. Usually this consists of martial arts forms/movements/stances, pushups, pull ups, sit ups and some stretching.
- To wrap it up I journal. The journaling usually has three elements.
- I write about whatever mood I wake up in or what’s on my mind.
- I write about my dreams I remember and what kind of meaning I can draw from them.
- Most importantly, I write about my intention for the day. I find that writing my goals and what I intend to accomplish for the day has been a powerful exercise for me. Sometimes I write down intentions for longer term goals as they relate to what is happening currently.
Since I started this routine I’ve noticed some really great opportunities develop in my business, I have been feeling better physically and seem to be more productive. This may just be coincidence, although I don’t believe that. I do believe that creating clear goals and intentions for our time, creates results. I have noticed that my time has been spent more focused. This routine has helped me get clear about the direction of my business as well as directions and goals I am taking on personally.
I really believe having a daily practice has so much to offer. My story and practice is unique, just like yours. Starting the day with focus on mental clarity, physical health and intention seems to be a great recipe for success. It works well for me because I’ve incorporated some practices that I already love. Combining practices that I really enjoy with ones that are harder to do (especially in the morning) has been a good mix. I look forward to reflecting on this practice after another 50 days.
What is your recipe for success?