I first learned about the principle of intention in 2011 when Oprah came to Atlanta. I was in the height of my overspending, and I used my dad’s Amex to buy tickets to take my mom to go see her. Oprah was going on and on about how living with intention transformed her life and her business. I was in awe; taking notes with the best of, you guessed it, intentions…hoping it would do the same for mine.
But I didn’t actively apply what I learned until a few years later. Because like everything that is serious, living with intention is HARD. There isn’t a blueprint for this kind of stuff. When you reach a fork in the road, sometimes it’s easier to just throw that thang in reverse and head back to where you came from.
Can you really blame Millennials for coming up with the super annoying, lowkey useful, catchall term #adulting to rally?
Our most popular “coming of age” films and TV shows conveniently ignore the angst that comes from feeling like you don’t have enough money. We are obsessed with happy endings and clean storylines that perpetuate the American Dream. That approach is expensive. If life imitates art, it’s no wonder that most people are broke!
So here is what you need to know about intention and how it impacts your Financial goals: intention is not about the goal, it is about the thing behind the goal. Figuring out what’s back there requires you to go deep. This process demands radical honesty and exploring your why until there isn’t a single lie left to tell yourself.
Without clarity on what is driving your behavior, you will always have a blindspot. This is why approximately 78% of Americans have a New Year’s resolution to Save More or Pay Down Debt, but only 19% have a resolution to Spend Less.
Newsflash: Money is “saved” by default because it’s yours, until you spend it.
If you’re in the 78%, the good news is that there are lots of ways to restate a wimpy goal like “save more money” as a turbocharged goal fueled by intent. All you have to do is put the focus on the thing behind the thing – your spending.
Here are a few that I used during my debt pay-off mode to get you started. These were all centered on the intent behind my behavior. Combined, they empowered me to address a circular logic that I was using to justify my bad habits.
- Don’t buy for “occasions” (especially those are not special)
- Stop treating your hunger like a special occasion (it’s not!)
- Don’t spend money to impress other people (especially people you don’t know!)
- Return items that you don’t use/wear within 48 hours
- Get rid of your storage unit and make a weekly trip to Goodwill to get rid of your stuff.
It takes time. In fact, it is your life’s work. You’ll know you’re on the right path when the gap between what you say and what you do starts to shrink.
Bottom-line: Money is made (or lost) in your mind WAY before it shows up in your bank account. Even if you don’t know what your intentions are, they will still determine your outcome. If you’re not seeing the result you want, do some digging and find the lie.