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Giving Yourself the Gift of a Good Start

Jay Seifert
Jan 6, 2014 03:07 PM
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Jay Seifert, Guest ColumnistJay Seifert is the co-founder of LoneStart Wellness. He is a pioneer in applying established principles of social neuroscience and behavioral economics to individual and organizational “wellness.” His strategy is specifically designed to improve the health and well-being of those individuals most at risk for preventable chronic illness but least likely to participate in traditional “diet and exercise” programs. He is a monthly wellness guest columnist and you can see his columns in the first NCHN e-News of the month or right here on the blog.

Giving Yourself the Gift of a Good Start

I know there’s been a lot of gifting going on the last couple of weeks and many of us may be more interested in thinking about how to pay for all that gift-giving, rather than thinking about getting yet another gift.  Besides, isn’t it better to give than receive?  Why not do both?

You can by giving yourself the gift of a good start.  It doesn’t cost anything and it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.  

Here’s all you do . . . simply behave with intention.  Decide what’s important to you and set goals that are consistent with what you value.  Then be mindful of your moment-by-moment opportunities to engage in behaviors that will enable you to reach those goals.

How is this any different than making New Year’s resolutions (also known as “a to-do list” for the first week of January)?   The difference is simple and profound.  Making a resolution is thinking about doing something.  Living with intention is doing it.  Pablo Picasso sums it up nicely:  

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”

A couple of years ago a friend recommended a novel titled The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.  It’s worth reading if only because the narrator is a wise, old Yellow Lab named Enzo.  But it’s also a really engaging story about navigating life’s ordeals and doing so with intention:

“Such a simple concept, yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”

So how do we give ourselves this gift of living with intention?

By applying these practices as we begin this New Year:

  • Take the time to engage in personal reflection.  Slow down and think about the goals you want to accomplish this year.  Write it down and make it happen. 
  • Set your intention.  Decide what you want to experience and direct your mental and emotional energy to invite, imagine and begin to experience it now.
  • Make conscious choices.  Be mindful that you have a choice in every situation and then chose thoughts and actions that support the life experience you desire. 

If your intention is clear and you are emotionally invested in it, then your moment-by-moment choices are made through the filter of whether they will support or detract from your ability to reach your goals. 

This gift of a good start will pay benefits to you, your family and your networks for the entire year. 

Here’s to an Epic 2014!

If you have questions or issues you would like us to address in this column, contact: Jay Seifert at 512-894-3440 or jseifert@lonestartnow.com.   

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