Suppose you have several ideas for future intentions. You’re ready to begin a self-improvement project based on one of these ideas, but you’re not quite sure which of your possible intentions you should adopt first.
First of all, you’re right to assume that it’s best to take on only one self-improvement project at a time. When you’re excited about the ideas you have for making life-improving changes, it’s not easy to resist the temptation to tackle everything at once. But resist you must! Trust me, you’ll get better results if you finish one project before starting the next one.
Two factors to consider
There are two factors to consider when deciding which project to work on first.
#1 The likelihood that you’ll complete the project successfully
Why? Because, simply put, success breeds success. Completing a project successfully and enjoying the benefits can help you build confidence in your ability to follow through. It will generate momentum that will contribute to success with your next projects.
So, start with a project you have a good shot at completing successfully. Questions like these will help you determine how good a shot you have:
- How hard will it be for you to do what you intend to do?
- Will you feel resistance to doing it, and if so, how much?
- Are there habits or circumstances that will interfere with acting in accord with your intention, and if so, how difficult will it be to overcome them?
- Will you be able to keep the intention on the front burner of your mind, or is it apt to get lost in the shuffle?
- How long it will take before you clearly experience the benefits of following through on the intention?
Of course, anything that makes it harder for you to follow through can be addressed in a solid follow through plan. Still, the fewer obstacles you’ll have to overcome, the better your chances of success will be.
#2 The possibility of “Bonus Benefits”
Bonus benefits are side benefits of following through on an intention. They’re not the benefits that motivated you to adopt the intention, but they can be valuable anyway. In fact, bonus benefits can even be more valuable than the benefits you were after.
Example: While adopting an intention related to dieting in order to lose weight for health reasons, you realize that losing weight might also bring you some social benefits.
Bonus benefits are frosting on the cake. They not only make the cake taste better, bonus benefits give you more bang for each buck of follow through you spend. So, if you’re trying to decide which of two possible intentions to adopt first, choose the one that offers the best chance of earning bonus benefits.