Not long ago, I accomplished one of my major bucket list items: I completed Hood to Coast, a 199-mile relay race in Oregon.
I first learned of this race about 10 years before, and had looked at the people who ran it with admiration. I’d always wanted to do a big competitive athletic event, but I just didn’t think it was something I could actually do.
But then a colleague at Building Champions planted the seed of consideration in me. Over the course of several months, the idea grew into a desire, and then shortly after my 39th birthday, I decided that my lofty dream needed to become my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that I would commit to as part of turning 40.
Completing this race was a dream come true — and it reminded me that with intention and planning, dreams have a far greater likelihood of coming true.
Setting an intention means that you’re making a commitment; you’re setting a goal. To be set up for success, the best commitment looks like a well-defined goal. You’ve specifically identified what you intend to do, and when you’re committing to achieve it (i.e., an actual date).
That’s the easy part — then comes the planning.
Once you’ve identified what you intend to do and when you want to do it, you need to work on how you’re going to get there.
What’s the very next step that you need to take to get moving toward your intended outcome?
What are the regular habits or disciplines that you need to put in place to consistently propel yourself toward the goal?
What changes do you need to make to your current routine to allow for new habits or disciplines?
What will keep you motivated when you encounter hurdles along the way?
In my planning for Hood to Coast, I knew my first step was to verbalize my commitment. By letting my colleagues know of my intention I knew that there would be an accountability factor and they would help me to identify my next steps.
Through conversations with people who had run in the event before, I learned the training habits and disciplines that I needed to put in place to be able to run the required distance and pace. I knew that my existing routine had to be modified to allow for 4-6 days of running and walking each week, so I weeded out some less-important activities, scaled back on others that could temporarily take a backseat and moved forward with my new schedule.
Motivation, for me, came through my community of family, colleagues, and friends. I actively posted regular social media updates about my training, and the encouragement I received helped me to keep plugging along even when I didn’t feel like going out for a run.
By setting my intention and creating clear plans, I was able to take what was once a lofty idea and turn it into an accomplishment. It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and it will provide motivation to work toward other dreams.
What dream of yours are you ready to make come true?