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September 10, 2019

The Best Time to Be Intentional is Always

Attempt to capture an ILP reunion via in person and Zoom in the wild

I just recently achieved a goal I had set out at the Intentional Life Planning (ILP) workshop in May – to finish rebuilding a six-month savings buffer.

I’m not going to tell you my other goals because I did not achieve them. (Okay, okay…one goal I set for 18 months from now for the sole purpose of improving my odds and the other I wrote with a question mark beside it, so it’s not really a goal yet, is it?)

But hitting that mark was a huge victory, and I didn’t fully appreciate the psychological pressure of not having a six month emergency savings fund until the very moment I did, when there could very well have been metaphorical balloons and confetti falling around me as I processed the final transfer to savings.

Last weekend, a few of us from the most recent ILP workshop met up to check-in about how we were doing and how our intentions from that time were – or were not – playing out.

While some of us did make progress toward our goals, perhaps unsurprisingly, pretty much everyone’s summers rerouted them. No matter what we may have said back in May or written down as our core learnings about how everything was going to be different now and we were finally going to get enough sleep/spend more time with our Mom/meditate every morning/be more assertive at work/do all the things, as Jeff Goldblum says: life found a way. Everything was different, just not the way we had intended.

Although we had scheduled this check-in time shortly after we took the ILP together four months ago, I pulled out my notes, erm, that morning as I was headed to meet up with folks. In my head, all I remembered was that I had committed to myself that I would reach that six-month savings milestone, and I was equal parts thrilled and relieved to have done it within the timeline I’d set out.

But in my notes, there was ALL THIS OTHER STUFF that probably would have been helpful for me to look at along the way, including:

  • Specific steps and sub-goals I said I was going to do to help me reach my goal (some of which I did accidentally, or perhaps I did them because I wrote them down in May and they stuck in my subconscious…yeah, let’s go with that)
  • Plot twists – how Vega and Mala refer to failure – and what specifically I had said I’d do if those plot twists arose
  • A list of reframes and daily practices that create the conditions for both progress and quieting the inner perfectionist, who is an unhelpful jerk and really needs to hush already
  • Examples of great things that I was already doing as a reminder that it’s not always about enumerating what you’re not doing, but about reflecting and celebrating what you are

Skimming my notes on a patio on that beautiful September day in Silver Spring, surrounded by other lovely, imperfect people like me who may or may not have met our goals, I was struck by how I needed to be re-reminded again and again – and again! – of the multitude of pathways that exist to support change. That at any point, I could review these notes and find resonance and reframing. That practicing living with intention is a muscle I’ll always be building.

I scribbled to myself, “The lesson of ILP is that it’s never too late. It’s a constant practice of repivoting, of turning toward, of reopening. It’s a many year process.”

I (we) will forget again, will be pulled back into well-trodden and familiar patterns, will get caught up in reacting and rushing and urgency.

But the lessons from that workshop are forever here for me. The time to be intentional, to try again, to recenter and reground in your fullest self, is always now.

P.S. Speaking of now…the Early Bird deadline registration for the final Intentional Life Planning workshop of the year (Saturday, September 28th) is this Friday! Learn more and register here! Let’s do this!

P.P.S. A very special thanks to the reunion crew for inspiring these gentle musings <3

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