Whether you set your intention for the day, the month, the year, or life: the practice is the same. You focus on small bits only, with attention and resolution. And that’s the beauty of this mindful practice – small steps are the secret way to reignite your inner flame. Besides that, celebrating each small milestone surely is gratifying, too 🙂 In this post, I share exactly what it means to set your intention and how to give it a go.
1. How does setting an intention work
Intentions work through the principle of steering your thoughts and, therefore, actions to specific areas in your life. You focus on the exact area of development with determination and no distraction (I know that’s easier said than done :)). But, what’s so superb about the process of setting intentions is the baby steps that they allow. If you chop up your desires in small bits and pieces, you’ll have a clearer overview of which way to go. And thus, more focus, fewer distractions, and no sudden triggers to feel overwhelmed.
2. What it means to set your intention
To learn to set your intention, you first need to understand what setting an intention actually MEANS. An intention is simply an intrinsically motivated state of being. And that being is important here, as intentions are about how your ‘inner you’ behaves – so authenticity prevails. By focusing on doing small bits of good in your life, you build positive experiences that lead to more joy. I like to compare the process of setting and achieving intentions to an upward spiral: the more good you do, the more happy you’ll feel, and the higher your self-assurance will be.
3. The difference between intentions and affirmations
Whereas affirmations are positive assertions of your wishes formulated in the present, intentions work the other way around. Because intentions do not focus on your desired state but work on getting you there instead. So, while an affirmation is effectively a mantra that describes your destination, an intention is a sentence that grasps the road ahead.
4. Using intentions and affirmations to manifest what you want in life
You can use both intentions and affirmations to manifest what you want in life. In the end, it all comes down to what feels most authentic deep down inside. Say you’d want to manifest more confidence; you could set your intention the following way: Today, I intend to stand up for myself. If you’re practicing through affirmations, your mantra could be: I am convinced of myself. Want to know more about affirmations? Dig deeper into the affirmation well by reading my post on affirming confidence.
5. A few examples of clear intentions
- I intend to be welcoming to the people I encounter
- I intend to be curious about other opinions
- I intend to let the pressure get no hold of me
- I intend to take me-time on a daily basis
- I intend to breathe deeply and stay calm
6. Some more examples of intentions
- I intend to treat every other person the way I would like to be treated
- I intend to allow myself enough time to explore my dreams
- I intend to maintain a mindset where I value my own joy the most
- I intend to be grateful for all that life has given me
7. Set your intention with determination
The key to building a sustainable intention practice is setting intentions that resonate with your inner voice. If your intention is intrinsically motivated and you are decisive that NOW is the time to start, you are holding the right cards. Start with setting an intention that feels close to you, tangible and small. The more you allow yourself to be patient, the easier your practice will be. Because only when you are able to believe in yourself can you practice with determination. This doesn’t mean that you need to feel your intention 100% from day zero – just make sure your intention feels good. Try to set your intention with honesty, fruitfulness, and joy.
8. Cultivate a frequent practice
This propels us directly to the most important part of your intention practice: the frequency that you maintain. Because intentions work through steering your focus to the area of development, it’s important to steer often – just like you would steer proactively on any other road. By steering, you make sure you stay aligned with your destination, and by doing so often, you build experience. Your experience will not only help eliminate insecurities; it also provides you with handiness. You can easily avoid sudden obstacles and hold the confidence that you are able to reach your goal.
9. Practice daily if you can
Of course, it’s not mandatory to cultivate a daily practice of intentions, but the more you practice, the less effort it will cost. And when you start to set your intention, only 5 minutes a day will go a long way. The simplest route to daily practice is implementing your practice in your morning routine. Scheduling in this tiny bit of me-time will positively impact your entire day. How so? By allowing yourself to focus on what you genuinely want. And as now you’ve nested your intention in the back of your head, you’ll have a vivid reminder to stay on track.
10. Set your intention for your morning ritual
- Write your intention on a pretty piece of paper
- Decorate your words with 🙂 cheerful 🙂 scribbles or drawings
- Dedicate a visible place to your intention: the mirror, your nightstand, or somewhere else it catches your eye
- Repeat your intention daily and out loud, if possible, at least 5 times
11. Share your intention with someone close by
Although going through the process of manifesting what you want in life is the most wonderful personal journey, that doesn’t mean you can’t have someone by your side. Sharing your intention with someone who is there for you can offer solace in many different ways. May it be gentle reminders, celebrating milestones, or simply a different perspective on what’s happening in your life. When choosing your support system, think out-of-the-box. It might be better to chat with a distant friend who gets the process than to involve your super-pragmatic pal who happens to live close by.
12. Practice intentions with compassion
Just as with practicing affirmations, stay gentle toward yourself. It’s easy to get frustrated if things go awry, but remember, things are meant to get askew sometimes in life J Without failure, we wouldn’t know success, and without the struggle, we wouldn’t appreciate the smoothness that can be. Stay aware of the virtue of compassion. Not only when you set your intention, but when you practice, too. Off-days are part of the package. Allow yourself your own time and a realistic pace.
Checklist to set your intention
- Write clear intentions that spiral you upward.
- Set your intention with authenticity and joy.
- Practice with determination; be certain that now is the time.
- Cultivate a frequent practice: the more you focus, the faster the progress.
- Share your intention with someone for support.
- Practice with compassion and stay patient along the way.
Want to know more about setting intentions?
If you’re all set to get started, hop on over to one of my intention guides! Learn to set your intention for letting go or build a steady practice for positivity and joy. If you want to dive even deeper into all things intentions, there’s plenty of good stuff out there to read! MindBodyGreen is my go-to source in the intention field. After reading one of their easy-to-digest articles, I often feel so much more assured. If you’re just starting out, you might want to read 3 Factors That Could Be Keeping You From Manifesting Your Goals or 10 Intentions To Set For Your Most Authentic Life.
Did you enjoy reading this post?
I sure hope you did 🙂 If you have any questions, recommendations, or experiences you want to share, I’d be more than happy to read your thoughts! You can leave your comment in the field below. Did this post help you discover how to set your intention, or do you know someone who’d like to find out? Feel free to share this post (via the URL bar or any of the social share buttons) and get the positive energy flowing!