In theory, this is a great 1-2-3 punch. One leads to two, two leads to three. If we are intentional about our actions, we can be grateful for what we are able to accomplish, and then feel happy as a result. Happiness is a byproduct of intentionality and purpose-driven action (not a destination).
This is great, in theory. In reality, it’s much harder to execute.
There are millions of stimuli that compete for our intentionality (yes, that’s a word) every day, from the news we consume to the advertisements that grace our social media to the daily hustle bustle going on around us.
We go about our day by default (e.g., we take the same route driving to work, drink the same coffee, listen to the same playlist, walk with our heads down and our hands in our pockets…).
Think about your day yesterday; how many intentional actions did you take where you took action with purpose, thought about what you were doing, and considered the result?
A simple change, for instance, might be saying, “I’m going to drink this type of coffee in this environment because I know it makes me feel calm and focused.” Then, actually stop to notice how you feel doing it. Did it elicit the reaction you wanted? This is practicing action with intention. Another might be purposefully leaving your phone in your pocket while you’re waiting for an elevator, if only to make (good) eye contact with your fellow passenger. Flash a smile and see what happens.
We are more present, more aware of our actions, and more deliberate with our decisions. This then leads to better habits over time, especially the practice of presence. We can act and make decisions with purpose, rather than feeling like a chip hitting Plinko pegs all day long.
Control your attention, set an intention, stop to be grateful, and have the best day ever (every single day).