Tag Archives: goals

Attention to intention

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

The last blog post contained the lesson “before goals, work on the self first”. This post continues with this context. With New Years right around the corner, many of us are contemplating resolutions for the new year. We are making promises to ourselves and setting goals to improve our lives. But before we make that selection and promise, it is wise to contemplate the motivating intention. This too is working on the self first.

As mentioned before, self-management (sovereignty) is ego management. Ego intentions can lead to an unexpected and undesired destiny. Self-reflection is a good meditation to explore the why and what of the intention being considered. Its good to step back and pay attention to the emotions that may be driving those intentions. It’s good to acknowledge and remember that the ego is mostly self-serving and narcissistic. And it is always wise to remember take a moderated approach.

Ask your self these questions and give honest answers. They will reveal what is behind your intentions. Your intentions should be grounded in wisdom and virtue.  Look to see if the ego intentions such as vanity, greed,  or envy.

Why do I really want to achieve this goal? 

If you are intending on aquiring something, is it “want” or a “need”. 

What am I trying to accomplish?

What will it take to achieve this? What level of commitment are you willing to give?

What role is the ego playing in this desired goal?

Will this cause harm to others?

What future and destiny am I creating for myself?

Goal achievement takes a measure of discipline to continue when you face obstacles along the way.

What is your strategy for staying on the path when you have the inevitable setback?

How will you maintain willpower and not give in to distraction and desire?

Finding answers to these questions is working on the self. Sovereignty is the ability of the true-self to manage the ego self from hijacking good intentions and getting lost on the side paths.

For more strategies on working on the self, please see my book.

Available in Paper Back, Sovereignty; The Tao Principle of Self Management

 

Get the book free as a member of Kindle Unlimited Lending Library

Work on the “Self” first, goals are secondary – Chap 26

Woman stretching at gym.

Work on the “Self” first, goals are secondary.

New Years is just around the corner. It is a time when people pledge new resolutions. Lofty goals of self-improvement are set and like so many of us, they have been forgotten by March. I found a way that helped me to stay on the goal path until the achievement has been made. Your first resolution should be to work on your “self”.

Before you can work on your goals and strategies, you must lay the foundation for success through self-discipline. The first discipline that you must commit to is to cultivate your “self” first. Chapter 26, Sovereignty.

This uncommon insight was given to me early on by my Tao mentor, and I have found it to be one of the most important first strategies to cultivate. Goals without willpower and self-discipline are just good intentions. The chances of not finishing are much higher without them. You know the old proverb about the road to hell as being paved with good intentions.

What does “work on the self first” mean? It means to learn to control the wild ego part of the spirit that is the epitome of self-satisfaction and desire. The discipline in maintaining full management and control over emotions, desire, and distraction so that you can avoid the pitfalls and temptations that lead to failure.

Ego-goals are well intended but almost always fail. Every January, many people state a new resolution to accomplish a personal goal. Weight loss is a very common one, and we all know that the failure rate is very high. We lose our momentum towards the weight loss goal when we:

Cheat

Lose the will to continue

become distracted (forget or don’t pay attention to what we are doing)

Lie to ourselves

set the goal for the wrong reasons

and most importantly, when we lose our battle with desire

Only if you are mindful of your emotions, feelings, choices, and actions can you wisely navigate life to accomplish long-term goals. Goal achievement lies somewhere in the future. The steps you take to reach that point in your destiny are made right here and right now. That moment of choice is the point whether you remain true to your higher self or fail at self-discipline. You must have virtuous clarity in picking your strategies and goals otherwise you will serving the ego’s path of desire. How to work on the self begins with meditation and mindfulness. A good teacher can help you begin to be aware of the ego’s effect on your choices and actions through mindfulness. Being aware of your intentions and choices are mandatory to have the willpower and discipline to not make those working choices.

These are excerpts from the book. For this and more Tao wisdom please consider getting a copy here:

Sovereignty, The Tao Principle of Self-Discipline, available on

Amazon Kindle (ebook)

 

Paperback

 

Will Power & Self-Discipline

Woman stretching at gym.

The Strategy: Work on your ‘self’ first. Cultivate will-power and self-control to be able to achieve your goals with less striving and failure.

“Accumulating virtues means there is nothing one cannot overcome

When there is nothing that one cannot overcome

One’s limits are unknown

The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty…” Excerpt from Chapter 59

Every New Years Day in the United States, millions of people set up personal goals that are sometimes called “resolutions”. The premise seems to be; its a new year so it is a time for a new me. For many reasons, they become motivated for a change in behavior. The change in behavior has a wide range. The behavioral change can be starting something or stopping something. Sometimes, maybe anytime, we fail to achieve those goals and by springtime, we have lost the motivation.

Harmony is the foundation for good karma. The western mind can understand Karma as the law of cause and effect will manifest through your choices. Will-power of the true-self will seek harmony through moderation and right thinking. In this way, you can reach your goals and realize the success of your new year resolutions. With proper motivation, and the execution of true will power you can reach your goals. The wisdom is to work on your ‘self’ first, to achieve sovereignty, and goal success will happen without as much striving or failure.

The realization that we must change our path when it is leading us away from harmony comes from the inner nature of the true-self. We have those moments where we admit to ourselves that we need to change and resolve to do so, hence the new years’ resolutions. In those moments where we are contemplating our destiny as the true-self, we can make some choices to change our ways.

So how do we continue working towards our self-improvement goals even when we no longer feel motivated? It takes will power.

Will-power is cultivated through self-control and self-discipline. Sovereignty and will power are the mental states where we consciously choose to follow the higher path. In previous chapters, we discussed at length how to cultivate self-control and self-discipline.

Without will power, you have a much more likely chance of not succeeding in realizing those self-improvement goals. Will power is that nature that will keep you on the path even and especially when you feel like giving up.

There are those difficult moments where the choice of staying on the path is right before you. Do you maintain or do you cave in? It becomes a battle of will between true-self and ego. Which aspect will become sovereign?

How do you do this? You must transcend the ego and take over the management of your emotional life. This is done through a self-awareness and the discipline of meditation and mindfulness. This is working on the self first. With Will-power, self-control, and self-discipline you can better avoid the poor choices that lead to distraction and failure. This is sovereignty.

Sovereignty takes over management of intention from the willful ego. Ego seeks to fulfill desire. The true self seeks to implement virtue and wisdom. The path of desire has many traps to prevent you from achieving a true success. Hidden intentions or imprinted intentions can operate in the background and control how you navigate down your path. So it is important to practice meditation and mindfulness to stay strong in your calm abiding nature. Insight meditation (self-reflection) can help you uncover hidden or subconscious intentions that can erode your will-power. This is part of “self-discovery” or the sacred path set out in chapter one.

Even the intention of the goal itself should be examined. When you are self-aware, you can examine the what and why of the goal. An important question to ask is if the goal is just a means of seeking happiness and fulfillment through material gain? Is this just more “self-indulgence1 (ego indulgence).

It is my conjecture that you should first seek to find and know your true path. That you should be living your life with your higher purpose. Your goals should be aligned with your higher purpose that is one of virtue and in the service of others. Be aware of ego goals that are vain, petty and non-spiritual. Rather than seeking fame and fortune, seek to share your true gifts with others.

When you find your true path and realize those worthy goals, then begin the hard work of cultivating the true-self.2 Become the sovereign, whose will-power will accomplish worthy achievement through self-discipline and self-control. By working on the self to be in spiritual harmony, the goal you seek, the goals you achieve will be done without striving. This is accomplishing more by doing less. This is a principle of Wu Wei3. This is being Sovereign.

This is a chapter from the upcoming book “Sovereignty”. From section three; Tao Strategies.

1See the section on the “self”.

2See The Dixie Taoist Volume One: How To Find Your True Path

3See the chapter on Wu Wei