woman in mirror

“Intentions do not always trigger a behavioural response.”

Posted on Posted in Ann Voorhees Baker, Blog

In doing some research for a client, I came across a striking phrase in an article published in Medscape, “Nicotine Replacement Therapy Use Among Smokers and Ex-smokers: Associated Attitudes and Beliefs: A Qualitative Study.” The phrase was:

“…intentions do not always trigger a behavioural response.”

I thought it poetic.

woman in mirror - source wisegeekThey were talking about smokers, of course, but everything they said in their article applies to us – we who wish to accomplish a certain thing, have dreamed of that certain thing, but have never actually done that certain thing. Here’s what they wrote:

“…plans were often vague and set sometime in the distant future. Respondents failed to detail whether sub-goals were set; whether they wanted to quit [fill in your own action here] abruptly, or cut down [or do so] gradually… This demonstrates that transforming intention into behaviour is quite difficult as intentions do not always trigger a behavioural response.”

They are really talking about being, not intending. Behaving – today, right now – not planning to act when there’s “time.” How does time exist in the future, but not now?

Time is now. It’s not tomorrow. Your time is now to work on that goal or problem or dream that’s haunted you for years. Not because it’s about to be New Year’s, or because you’re making resolutions, or because things are “going to be different.” Your time is now simply because it’s today.

As soon as I hit “publish” for this post, I’m going to close my blog and open my word document for the book that I’ve been talking about, and doing little about, for years. I’m going to gather up my imperfect first chapter, my old research on competition, my first draft of a summary of the what and the why of the book, and I’m going to send it in a mash to my friend and cheerleader and mentor Linda Lowen and ask her if she will work with me to prepare a book proposal.

Once that’s accomplished, I’m going to take that book proposal and send it to the three published authors I’ve met through Women At Woodstock who over the past few years have offered to give me advice or assistance. I’m going to send that proposal and ask them for that advice or assistance that they promised.

I’m no longer planning vaguely on someday when everything is perfect; I’m doing now.

That’s my plan – for now.  What’s yours? You do have a plan, and it’s what you do in the next hour, the rest of the day, the week to come. That’s your plan. Is it what you want?

The absurd part of my long struggle in bringing myself to move and do is that the worst that could possibly happen is that the book never gets published – that I don’t achieve this dream that I have. Which is exactly what is guaranteed to happen if I don’t move and I don’t do. What crazy thinking keeps us holding back?  Fear of possible failure? Is possible failure worse than insured failure?

Your intention isn’t what you wish for tomorrow; it’s what do today

9 thoughts on ““Intentions do not always trigger a behavioural response.”

  1. You’ve spent a little too much time recently with Patty Chang Anker. Facing fear BEFORE the New Year? I’m putting off everything until 12:01 am January 1. But it’s no surprise that you committed yourself in a blog post and then followed through. And I can testify that I saw that first chapter and the second and the other materials, and you’re as good as your word. And that the work is equally good, just in need of minor tweaking. Thank you Ann for being the woman we’d like to be when we grow up–flawed and fabulous, fearful and fearless, and an inspiration to everyone who’s ever gone to WAW over the past four years. Now I have to follow through and turn intention into action…

  2. OH, MY, GOD this is a great post Ann. You put fear and procrastination in its place. You put doing and action in ITS place. I have been thinking of my yellow legal pad for some reason the past few days and beginning my list of to do’s because spinning them around in my head keeps them right where they began. Somewhere is better than nowhere, thanks for the reminder and the nudge in the right direction 🙂

  3. I just posted this great article “Intentions do not always trigger a behavioural response.” to Facebook as follows: “I’m no longer planning vaguely on someday when everything is perfect; I’m doing “it” now. What a great mantra! Ok so here I go….My first posting to Facebook! May seem like a simple task to most of you but reaching out through social media has been kind of scary to me. So today I am getting brave and facing fears (thanks Patty)! Not being perfect is ok so it is time to put those intentions into action, make new beginnings, take next steps and actualize your dreams.” Thanks WAW for inspiration and support…..Happy New Year my friends!

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