The Power of Setting Intentions

If you think setting intentions is limited to yoga classes and meditation retreats, think again. These guiding principles are just as useful for parenting, working, and anything else you do during your daily life.

Think about what matters to you and how you want to live your life. When you set intentions, you keep the most important things at the front of your mind, and make it easier to integrate them into your usual routines.

So what is an intention? It is a goal or vision, for how you intend to proceed in a given moment, in your day, in your life. It can be an affirmation that you repeat to yourself, a conscious thought triggered by a habit, or a focused plan for the day ahead. It’s the act of deciding how you want to behave, what you want to accomplish, and allowing it to guide your activities.

Start by using this checklist to form your intentions for today.

Benefits of Setting Intentions:

  1. Know yourself better. The process of creating intentions encourages you to turn your attention inwards. You discover what’s on your mind at a level deeper than paying bills and keeping appointments.
  2. Increase your motivation. It’s easier to make the effort when you’re doing something that you truly believe in. You’re more likely to persevere until you see results, which creates even more incentives to keep going.
  3. Live more meaningfully. Imagine devoting your time and talents to the projects that you feel passionate about. You can live deliberately and choose your legacy instead of letting events happen to you.

How to Set Your Intentions:

  1. Find a quiet space. Start by clearing away distractions. Sit down in a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Calm your mind. Try using prayer or meditation.
  2. Consider your values. Identify your core values and beliefs. Ask yourself what happiness and success mean to you. Think about how you feel when your actions align with your values and you use them to guide your decisions.
  3. Speak your language. Your affirmations and intentions need to resonate with you. Maybe you like to keep them simple or maybe you prefer a more poetic message. Maybe you accomplish more when you look at the big picture or maybe you need more structure and detail.
  4. Think positive. Whatever shape your intentions take, focus on positive statements. Think about what you want instead of what you are trying to avoid.
  5. Add a timeline. If being compassionate or mindful for the rest of your life sounds a little too challenging all at once, break things down into a single day or hour at a time. Set yourself up for success.

How to Implement Your Intentions:

  1. Write them down. Just the act of putting your intentions into writing can make them seem more concrete and attainable. You’ll strengthen your sense of commitment and make it easier to visualize your destination. As you clarify your intentions, you may also notice any obstacles that you need to address.
  2. Create triggers. Develop reminders that will prevent you from losing sight of your intentions when you’re dealing with daily responsibilities. You may want to revisit them each morning while you meditate, or reflect on them while you’re in the shower. Use doorways as triggers – for example, if you are walking through your front door, consider how to you want to be with your kids or your partner.  
  3. Hold yourself accountable. What would make you more likely to stick to your plans? You could tell family and friends what you’re doing, or promise yourself a reward that will keep you on track.
  4. Evaluate your progress. Speaking of staying on track, establish milestones that will help you to see where you are strong, and where you need to keep growing and learning. Learn from your achievements and setbacks.
  5. Ask for feedback. Sometimes it helps to hear what others have to say about how you’re doing. Find someone you trust who you can discuss your intentions with. Give each other the benefit of your combined wisdom and support.

Setting intentions can transform your life. These simple heartfelt statements provide a roadmap to guide your choices and keep you focused on your priorities so you can enjoy more happiness and fulfillment.

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