Mulling over the word INTENTION for the last few hours – dipped into a few blogs and got to thinking on the what, the why, the how and the when. My musings follow.
What is an Intention?
I decided that an intention is NOT a goal. It does not have a defined beginning or a definned ending but it does have a sense of action – a being, a doing and a having. An intention can carry us through to a goal. I believe an intention is more aligned to our passions, our hearts desires, our reason for being. Our why.
If you read my blog post on Motivation I spoke about my why – to be a bringer of joy. Therefore everything that I want to be, want to do and want to have should be anchored to bringing joy. Bringing joy is my intention – it the widest sense.
Intention is also about making choices, and making decisions. Often we hear or read about ‘being intentional’, ‘placing a stake in the ground’, ‘setting boundaries’ but are we doing these things with our why in mind?
Why should I (and you) set intentions?
Intentions take into account that you and I will make mistakes – and that’s ok. Our intentions are a process, a journey and along the way we will hit obstacles, be overcome with emotion, be overwhelmed etc, but, having our intentions in place will direct us to make the right choices and decisions which will move us forward. Our intentions should be easily integrated into our lifestyle as they are ingrained with our values. They last until our values change (and they are likely to change the more of life we experience), or we develop new passions, new why’s, that may take us in a different direction.
a purpose, or attitude toward the effect of ones actions or conduct
an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result
Intentions then help steer us in the direction we have chosen to go in. If we set an intention for each year, each month, each week, each day, each hour – we should achieve so many of the things we set out to achieve. Our intentions are linked to what we want to achieve in order that we can fulfil our why.
How and when should you and I set our intentions?
I have already mentioned yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly intention setting and that may well have overwhelmed you and you maybe thinking this is going to be imppossible. I honestly felt the same and I still don’t achieve intention setting in the way I would like to – but as I said I am a work in progress just like you.
Let’s carry on.
How to set Intentions.
There are many ways to set intentions – some people start with a yearly intention – this may resemble a ‘word for the year’.
,’People may set their intentions around money – ‘I intend to save x over the year, month’.
Some people like to set intentions at a much more granular level and have them apply to the current activity in hand.
For example – I am currently writing this blog post and my intention for it is to have an impact to bring joy to the reader by affirming to them that intention setting is alot easier than they first imagined and is not that scary afterall. Maybe a bit wordy, but its my intention and it only needs to resonate with me. You, as my blog reader, do not even need to know about that intention – but now that you do I hope the intention reaches my desired outcome for you.
Let’s get a little more practical about intention setting. As I said, there are many ways of setting intentions and here is what I am currently trying out.
- Set aside time to determine your intentions – each day, each month. At the moment I do my intention setting daily and per activity. It goes like this – I look at my diary to see what is already scheduled in – I consider each activity and ask myself what is going to be my intention whilst doing that activity.
- Now I remember my why – to be a bringer of joy and I set an intention to ensure that Joy is an outcome. That may sound flipant – but if you re-read what I said my intention for this blog post is, you will see that I expanded that by adding how I would bring joy and what the result of that would be. ie. affirming it is easier than you may think and its not so scary after all.
- Write down your intention – most of us have a notebook at our side – if not we have a phone with a note taking feature – write down your intention for the activity you are about to embark upon. For example – if the activity is a bit of decluttering or tidying up a room in your home – your intention maybe to feel accomplished. I find this particulary helpful if I am embarking on a task that I am not really looking forward to doing. I would encourage you to set intention that has a positive outcome for you and anyone else involved. With a positive outcome set in your mind achieving the task is far easier. You may find it useful to start that sentance with an ‘I am’ statement. “I am going to feel mega accomplished when I have put all of laundry away in its correct place”.
- Check in with your intentions. Whenever you set intentions it’s always good to check in with them. At the end of an activity, or at the end of the day or month – check what you wrote down and recall how you felt and what you achieved. Write it down alongside your intention. Our accomplishments are motivating and helpful in moving each of us forward to the next activity, day or month.
- Lastly I would encourage you to make your intention setting your own. You may start by following some guidelines and suggestions but as one of my mentors says ‘Make it your own.’ These are your intentions, these are your activities, its your day, month or year. It really is up to you to take action and make it your own. With this in mind, you maybe someone who loves to draw and do word art – when you write down your intention you may want to write it in colour, write it in a graphic that can be stylised and coloured in or embellished in some way. If you journal you could incorporate your daily intention as a piece of art on your journal page, or write it at the top right hand corner of a page so you can easily flick through and recall your intentions and read of your accomplishments.
Benefits of setting intentions.
We are not designed to live a life half lived. We are designed to accomplish things. Sometimes it is hard. I am finding that setting daily and activity based intentions brings me more peace – I am not so anxious. I think more clearly. I make better decisions. My values are consistently met and most of all I am connecting with me and who I am created to be.
Do let me know how you get on with setting intentions. how have you made the process your own and what benefits have you found? Drop me an email.