Intentional and Consistent – Those are two of the words I want spoken at my funeral.
I’ve only come to discover that the last few weeks though.
If you’re one of the people who know me at all, you know that intentional and consistent have not been words to describe me in the not-so-distant past. Some people have used the words erratic, inconsistent, accidental, changes-like-the-weather. You get the point! I’ve never cared much about being consistent and intentional with my life. I’ve always figured, I’ll go where I think God is leading, and if it wasn’t him leading me there, he’ll get me back on track somehow.
As you can imagine, I’ve wasted a lot of time and a lot of energy, as well as numerous opportunities. Thankfully, God is a redeemer. A redeemer:
- of missed opportunities,
- wrong turns,
- bad decisions,
- inconsistent behavior,
- and selfish ambitions.
He has taken everything that I have done accidentally and used it to instruct me. He has shown me mercy and unconditional love when I deserved none. Isn’t that the great thing about God though? His grace is all about giving us what we don’t deserve, and his mercy is all about not giving us what we do deserve.
As I completed my spiritual year-end review over the last few days I’ve noticed a major theme in my life the last six months or so. I’ve realized that he has been continually teaching about consistency and intentionality. Then, a few weeks ago, Donald Miller posted “The Single Most Powerful Question You Can Ask“. In it he talks about the power of asking yourself “What if?” In thinking about the question, I started asking myself “What if I were more intentional with my time? If I started getting up at 4 a.m. every morning, what could I accomplish before 7 a.m.?”
In asking that question, it caused a discussion between my wife and I and she started asking herself that question as well. Before I even knew she was interested in doing that, she asked if it would be OK if she got up at 4 a.m. with me. That was an answer to a prayer that I hadn’t even prayed. Her sleeping until 6 a.m. was really the only challenge to me getting up and being productive in the mornings.
The last few weeks, I have experienced more productivity before 7 am than I think I have in the last year. It comes, in part, from being very intentional with my time, and working on projects consistently every day. It’s an amazing feeling to see progress being made on a daily basis.
While being intentional and consistent with my schedule has been a huge help in terms of productivity, I also needed help with my focus. One tool that has helped with that in the mornings is The Storyline Productivity Schedule. You can gain access to that for free when you are checking out that article noted above. When you are viewing the article, you can subscribe to his updates via e-mail and get access to that tool. It has been one of the mail tools I utilize now to stay focused and intentional.
So, as I stated in Part One of this series of posts, being intentional and consistent has been key to changing my story. It’s been the foundation of all the changes I am making. That’s why I believe that people should not set any new year’s resolutions, simply start changing your story. Ultimately, the only reason we make resolutions is because we want to change something in our lives. Why build that into our lives as a “resolution” when we can just be intentional about changing it, and intentional about making consistent progress towards that change?
In the final part of this series I will give you the tools you need to help bring 2013 to an end, and to hit the ground running in 2014. That will be posted at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning, New Year’s Day. Just because you shouldn’t make any resolutions this year, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the new year as a launching ground to Change Your Story and Live Your Dream.
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