You set goals. You even wrote them down in your planner. But nothing’s happening. And now you feel like quitting. Before you give up, let’s make room for hope and discover the power of setting intentions for the day.
The Meaning of Setting Intentions
When I refer to setting intentions, I mean writing affirmative statements that direct your day, or how you’ll spend your time. You can set intentions for any area of life where you desire growth or change. Like goals, intentions are specific and measurable. However, they’re focused on the present whereas goals are more future oriented.
A Great Example of Setting Intentions
A fellow writer shared a small beginnings story on Facebook recently. In it he shared his dream to speak at a certain conference. So, he took a picture of himself standing behind the podium. Then, for three years in a row, he applied to be a speaker, only to be met with rejection every time. The fourth time was a charm and he was accepted to be a speaker in 2020.
With that in mind, I tend to think of setting intentions as place holders. They allow us to hold space for our heart’s desires by focusing on our present actions.
The Benefits of Setting Daily Intentions
Having intentions helps with decision making – when you base your intentions on your values and priorities, and know why you’re setting a specific intention, you will have a sieve to filter all decisions through. It will make it easier to discern what to say yes to and when to say no.
Setting daily intentions provides focus – Eight years ago I got sidetracked. I became more of a blogger than a writer, meaning I was more focused on how many people read my blog and partnering with brands than on writing. Five years into it, I heard that still small voice guiding me to stop my blog in its tracks and turn the ship around. Having intentions gives you focus and direction, and hopefully cuts down on tangents.
Setting intentions bring you closer to dreams and goals – Progress happens one step at a time. One day you’ll look up and see just how far you’ve come. That is the power of setting intentions for the day.
Setting intentions is empowering – As you act on your daily intentions, and notice forward progress toward your goals, you’ll start to realize that life doesn’t have to just happen to you, and that you don’t have to sit around waiting for someone else to improve your life. You have agency. You get to participate in designing a life you love.
Practicing setting intentions helps reframe limiting beliefs – For example, if you hold the belief that no one will take care of you but yourself, it will be hard to trust others, accept help, or receive gifts. Setting an intention to count your blessings, so to speak, will help you realize you are provided for and taken care of.
Creating an Intention Setting Ritual
Setting intentions may sound hard or like some allusive, woo-woo idea, but really it’s as simple as writing down a few statements to guide your thoughts and actions for the day.
To start, I like to sit down in my quiet place with my journal and listen within. If you need help being still, I suggest an app like Calm or Headspace. This practice gives you chance to hear your heart’s desires and tune in to what you need.
Once you finish listening within, write down a few intentions based on that time.
Daily intention examples:
- I will take care of my mind and body through my yoga practice.
- I will find three things I’m grateful for today.
- I will capture anxious thoughts by focusing on the present moment.
- I intend to turn negative self-talk into a positive affirmation. For example, instead of telling myself I’m fat and wrinkly, I’ll thank my body for all that it has carried me through.
- I will choose healthy foods one snack and meal at a time.
- I will treat myself to rest and play today.
- I will start my work day with a positive attitude.
Your daily intentions should move you closer to enjoying the life you desire. Because ultimately, how we spend our days in how we spend our lives.
For more intentional living and mindfulness practices, read:
- 7 Important Journaling Tips for Beginners
- How to Start a Self-Care Routine You Can Stick To
- How to Instantly Boost Your Self-Confidence
Wishing you space for your soul to dream and your heart to hope.