The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
We’ve all heard this maxim I’m sure. In reality, the road to boredom, damaged relationships, disappointment, laziness…[insert your own vice]…are all paved with good intentions.
A wonderful friend and I were lamenting the lack of action after the voicing of good intentions from people we both know. And it really highlighted to me the importance of following through; it highlighted that good intentions without any subsequent action, will get you nowhere ‘good’.
Imagine saying to your kids at 6pm “Don’t be cross there’s no tea tonight, I had every intention of cooking it!” Or to your boss “No, you’re right, that work’s not done. I intended to do it though!” Or your spouse on their birthday “Yes, I can see you’re upset I didn’t buy you a present or arrange a night out but I really intended to do something special for you.”
Doesn’t cut it, does it? Good intentions don’t mean squat if they are not backed up by action.
I have been guilty many times of over-promising things to others, of intending to do many, many things for people. My time, my abilities and other resources, were all offered with good intentions but unfortunately, that’s where it would end. And I’m not going to be too hard on myself, or on you – we promise things, or our commitment to something, because we genuinely have a desire to help or participate or invest in that person. What we lack is the wisdom to know what we can feasibly follow through with.
As I get older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve learnt to say no, not just for my own sanity and to avoid taking on too much in life, but also to avoid hurting others and letting them down. And what it also means is when we do say yes to something, the other party knows we are good for it. That our yes means a firm commitment that they can take to the bank.
Our intentions are only ‘good’ if they elicit a purposeful action from us.
I will never get my book finished if I only ever ‘intend’ to write.
I will never have a great marriage if I only ever ‘intend’ to put effort in.
I will never have meaningful friendships if I only ever ‘intend’ to invest time with others.
What have you been ‘intending’ to do? Why not make a decision right now to convert those good intentions into actions?