Intentionality and habits


People do things because they want to (intentions). Their motivation comes from a desire to create something that does not now exist.

People do things because they believe they have to (obligations). Their motivation often comes from guilt.

And people do things because they have always done them that way (habits). Often those habits are long standing and were not consciously chosen, which means they may not support current intentions.

The world would be a better place, I believe, if

  • people did more things that were motivated by intention rather than obligation,
  • and if antiquated habits were replaced by those that were consciously chosen to serve intentions.

What do you think—are intentions and consciously-chosen habits trustworthy sources of guidance and energy?

3 Responses to “Intentionality and habits”

  1. 1 Joellen February 4, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Too many actions are selfishly driven. Thanks for reminding us we have a choice to act with more altruistic motives.

    • 2 Dennis Sparks February 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

      You raise an important issue, Joellen: Intentionality is a force that can be used to destroy as well as to create. While intentionality can be used to nurture our best selves and the best selves of others, it can also be used, for instance, to promote anger and fear. Some of history’s most intentional people were also the most evil. We make the choice of purpose based on our value system, and we reinforce that choice each day with the habits of mind and behavior we cultivate.

  2. 3 Amy February 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I think intention-driven actions are powerful! If every educator could articulate their own personal mission and acted on behalf of that mission all of the time, we would be in a great place! Building habits that support your intentions take time, and are worth the investment!

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