“life is a result of intentional habits”

This morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook News Feed, I came across the link to an article called “Why You Should Travel Young.” I was sure I had read a version of this article before (in the form of this blog post), but I clicked on it anyway. I’m glad I did, because it gave me some perspective and encouragement that I’ve been needing in my life.

While the emphasis of the article is on the importance of travel, author Jeff Goins drives another point home as well: the habits you form as a young adult will follow you and shape you for the rest of your life. “Life is a result of intentional habits,” he points out, and if you’re not careful it will be your bad habits that will mold you.

Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important.

This past year has been full of struggles for me in that department. I was so ready to be “grown-up” and done with college that I was pushing through to an end that didn’t feel right for me anymore. It was a year of cycles of losing sight of who I am and who I strive to be due to impatience or disbelief in the ability to make a difference in the world while sitting in class or at my mundane job every week.

But there were moments filled with hope, too. The decision to stay in school longer and pursue a career in speech pathology was an empowered one. It was a conscious decision to take control of where I would take the rest of my life. Deciding to go to Costa Rica was the same way, pushing away the fear and accepting that the greatest experiences are sometimes the most challenging ones.

It’s not like this is a new idea to me. I’ve known that living intentionally is important for a long time. But there’s a difference between telling yourself, “I want to make a difference in the lives of others,” and waking up every morning and asking, “How will I love someone today? How will I serve someone today? How can I take care of my own growth and well-being today?”

One of the reasons Goins (rightfully) says that young people don’t travel is because they are concerned about other “responsibilities” that their life may have. They recognize the importance of it but their response is “Yeah, but…” followed by whatever reason they deem reasonable whether it be money, relationships, or anything else really.

In his blog post Goins says:

Yeah, but… is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should.

Be careful of the yeah-but. The yeah-but will kill your dreams.

I don’t think that could be any more true, and it doesn’t apply to just the decision to travel. It applies to any decision that might make your life better, but you’re just a little too scared to see it through. I know I’m guilty of that.

But I’m tired of being the killer of my own dreams. I’m ready to live intentionally and authentically and see where my life can take me.