When there is a will, there is a way: you need intent to have action

I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it’s proactive and there is positive intent behind it. – Michael J. Fox

Your actions are what make a difference in the world and in your life. But what drives your behavior is your intent. Everything we do, we do for a reason. When you learn to manage these reasons, you can understand how to drive your behavior. Let’s explore the role of intent for everything that we do.

Motivation is everything

If you don’t have motivation, you won’t do things; and even if those around you try to motivate you through rewards or punishments, they still will likely not be able to incentivize you too much.

Our motivation, when it’s at its strongest, comes from within. There are important elements we can recognize to improve our drive to do things, such as our values, being free in our decisions, or having a solid goal. We can improve our motivation to achieve better results.

We can change our motivation

Intent is something that we can change. Sometimes, the motivation to do something is just there. That’s a lovely situation, because we feel naturally driven towards pursuing our goals. But that is not always the case. In some cases, there seems to be no motivation, no intent, and, thus, there is no action.

However, we are not fully subject to the whims of our brain. We can also take actions that are sure to make us feel more inspired even when it fails to come naturally.

Connect with your purpose

Why do you do the things you do? Why do you choose to work here and not there? Why are you friends with specific people? Why do you support a cause but not another? Your purpose, the meaning you give your life likely has something to do with it.

The meaning is the why behind your existence. Maybe you want to build a solid legacy, to enjoy life, or to feel like you are being a good person. When you can find the elements that make up your purpose, it becomes easier to connect with what whatever you want to or need to do. Connect the now with your purpose.

If what you want is to take care of your family, think about how your current task contributes to it, maybe by providing more prosperity, peace of mind, or giving you the chance to spend more time with those you hold dear. Find the why and motivation will grow.

Make it fun

A good way to boost motivation is to give yourself a little challenge or make a game out of the task you are doing. Allow yourself to try to pretend to be someone else – an undercover spy, perhaps, or an alien observing human customs.

You can give yourself a challenge. Can you do whatever you need to do faster? Better? With a specific handicap? All of these can make the experience better and inspire a sense of challenge and, thus, motivation.

Do it with other people

Another good way to increase motivation is to share the experience with someone else. Invite a friend to exercise with you. Call a colleague to work together through videochat, each person focused on their task. Challenge another person to a “duel” – who can finish first? Competition and collaboration are both strong contributors to intent and can help you spark a feeling of motivation.

We are highly social and enjoy sharing experiences. Even a boring or dreaded task can be a little bit better if there is someone there for us, in person, or via screen. Compete or work together.

Track your progress

It can be incredibly frustrating to feel that you are not making progress. But tracking how you are getting better over time, instead, can do a lot to help and improve your intent. See the small growth in your ability to do whatever is being difficult, like washing the dishes or doing homework.

Allow yourself to celebrate big wins and small victories. Jot them down to keep a record of how much better, faster, more efficiently you are doing things now as compared to yesterday, last week, last month. Chart a course for more progress with new challenges and ideas.