in·ten·tion·al
inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/
adjective
done on purpose; deliberate.

By Amy Franko

I grew up loving words, and I know that they have power. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) that the most powerful words are the ones I use with myself.

I can’t remember where I first came across this exercise, but for the past several years I’ve been doing what I call the “One Word.” Each January, I decide on the one word that I want to inspire and guide me for the year.

For 2016, my word was “elevate.” As I reflect back, I’m proud to say that it was indeed a year of advancement.

  • For the Impact Instruction Group business, we elevated our brand, with a new focus, new logo and new website. In elevating my passions and skills to the forefront of the business, I found a renewed sense of excitement and purpose.
  • I also moved forward as a keynote speaker, speaking before my largest audience to date of over 600 people.

To keep up the momentum of 2016, my one word for 2017 is “intentional.”

Last year taught me a lot. As we made changes and shifts in the business, I realized more than ever that to succeed, all my choices needed to be intentional. Why is being intentional significant me? As an entrepreneur, I love to try new things. I see everything as an opportunity! That mindset has served me well, because I believe that makes me open to jump on an opportunity, and see where the path may lead.

The counter balance though is being intentional. Taking smart risks, and thoroughly thinking through where a choice will lead you.

So in 2017, I’m committing to clarity in my intentions. As I contemplate strategic choices, there will be some things that stay, and other things to release, in order to make more space for where I want to lead this business and my life.

I’m excited to share that one of my intentions for this year is to write a book. It’s been my dream for a while to put my ideas out into the world. 2017 is the year I will make it happen and create a book that I hope will inspire others, and serve as a cornerstone of the business moving forward. I look forward to sharing parts of this journey with you along the way—always seeking to be intentional in my path. Stay tuned, more to come on this!

Tips for Being Intentional

If you’re also looking to be more intentional in 2017, here are some tips that have helped me along the way.

Keep It Simple

One aspect of my journey to be intentional is to focus on simplicity. When I find ways to simplify anything, the more effective I am at keeping my focus on accomplishing what’s important.
Inspired by The One Thing by Gary Keller, I now ask myself – what is the one thing I can accomplish today that help to move me forward?

I’ve also taken to looking at time from a macro level, looking out for the entire year and mapping out what’s important to me, personally and professionally. It’s amazing how looking at an entire year can make me more intentional, because the choices I make today are what will add up throughout the year.

Quiet Time

The average person has about 48.6 thoughts per minute, according to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California. That adds up to a total of 70,000 thoughts per day. (Source.)

I’m more intentional when I’m not distracted with all the noise around me. If we don’t take some control of our environment, we’ll continually be in a reactionary mode. For me that means turning off technology . . . anything that pings, dings, has a banner, or sends a notification! I even took my phone out of my bedroom and stopped using it as an alarm clock. I realized I was checking email and social media all too frequently; that wasn’t helping me to be intentional (or get good sleep).

Have a Plan

To get my day started off in the way I intend, I plan my next day out the evening before. And I admit… I do it old school. I’ve tried various technologies, but I found that what works best for me is to have a daily planning sheet. Each night, I write down the top two or three things I want to complete the next day. To make sure I don’t get into the weeds, I try to attach those items to my big picture priorities, or find a way to delegate where I can. With the book being my major intention, I’m creating time blocks for writing, so I can make more significant progress.

No matter your preference –app or on paper– make sure you’re taking the time to plan.

Hold Yourself Accountable

It’s always helpful to have a positive influence to keep you on track. In terms of my book, I hired Smart Business as my publisher and book coach. That step of making an investment – in me – cemented my intention. I knew their team would understand the process, coach me where needed, and provide the accountability to help me stay intentional to my goal.

Establish an Energy Routine

To be intentional takes energy.

Having a consistent energy routine looks different for different people. For me, working out several times a week provides great physical benefits, but also clears my head. I’ve also benefitted from meditation. My go to app has been “Stop, Breathe, and Think.

And sleep, is critical, too, of course. Studies show that exhaustion has big effect on our emotions and that ultimately it’s counterproductive to good decisions. The more rested we are, the more we’re able to control our emotions. When we have our emotions in check, we can be more intentional.

So, what about you? What’s your word for 2017?

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