I don’t know what I dreamt last night, but this morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought was “The Power of Intention”. That one thought came to mind and I couldn’t dispel it. It stuck with me through my shower, my morning coffee, the workshop I taught. Maybe it’s because it’s still very much the New Year. Probably because everywhere you look, you are bombarded with New Year’s Resolutions, Goals, To-Do Lists… What to do? I set out to do a bit of research on it and see what I could find.
Put simply, an intention is an aim or purpose, something you plan to do or achieve. The concept of intention setting might sound woo-woo, but it’s foundational to anyone with goals – that is to say, to almost any human being – says Jason Frishman, Psy. D. “As you learn and commit to your goals, intention becomes the very first step in achieving them.”
Intentions can be both large – long-term – or small – think next day or the next hour. But … they need to be actionable: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound – or in other words: SMART. Let’s explore further, shall we?
How Intentions work
When you say an intention, it creates an energetic pattern in your consciousness. If you’ve ever tried meditation, you know that training your mind to focus on a specific thought or idea takes work. Just thinking of an intention once for a few seconds won’t create as strong an energetic pattern in your consciousness as if you were to do it daily for a set amount of time.
It goes on to say that “you have the power to create a reality that excites you on every level. Through your intentions you can land your dream job, travel to places you thought you’d never go, and live a life that at one point may have felt out of reach. The possibilities are endless. But it’s not the intention alone that brews this seemingly magical power. An intention is the budding flower given life by all of the underlying thoughts, words, and actions in the rich soil below the surface.”
Deepak Chopra – in his book “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success” – states “attention energizes and intention transforms … Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life. whatever you take your attention away from will wither, disintegrate and disappear.”
Setting your Intention
Start by taking a big picture approach to your goals, and be specific. If you know what you want, don’t beat around the bush. Boldly ask for it. Saying “I am a strong, confident and detail-oriented textile artist” leaves little question as to what you want to accomplish. When you acknowledge the direction you’d like your career to shift, you can approach your day with a whole new sense of being: every action you make throughout the day starts to change with your intention in mind.
Rephrase your goals in a positive way to bring you closer to what you want. Thinking through your intention helps you get really clean on what you might want, which in turn helps you make clear decisions that are focused solely on that goal.
Ask yourself: “Does this new project I am taking on serve my intention?”
How to set Intentions
1. State your intentions
When you decide what you want, vocalize it or write it down. “Intentions are most powerful when they are shared or declared outside of your own head”, says Frishman.
2. Be Clear on WHAT you want and WHY you want it
Aura Priscel De Los Santos, a clinical psychologist, says that “whatever your intentions are, it’s necessary to be clear about what you want to achieve and think about the results that you’ll obtain from it. If you know what you want, it’s easier to focus and put your energy into it. Pursuing a goal of any kind has ups and downs Intentions can help you maintain course even when there are fluctuations. The intentions are there to remind you why you want to do it and the results you desire”.
3. Make sure your intentions are positive
Anything can be an intention. It simply gives you a focal point to redirect your energy when it’s inevitably pushed and pulled in different directions. Just make sure that whatever your intention is, it comes from a place of positivity. Some examples of intentions include: “Today, I will be present”. “Today I will be patient”. It’s important that the intention be phrased as a positive “I will” instead of a negative “I won’t”.
4. Keep your intentions simple
Your intentions don’t need to be rooted in lofty goals. They should be feasible and realistically actionable. “Set an intention that is a typical part of your day”. As you become more accustomed to setting daily intentions, they become easier and simply part of your daily routine. From there, you can grow into setting intentions for your future, weeks, months and years down the line.
5. Shift any limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs are convictions you believe to be absolutely true and that have a negative impact on your life by holding you back in some way. Meaning, any doubt that you may have is going to be a blocker for achieving what you intend to achieve.
“Not believing you can achieve your intention is a great barrier to achieving your set intentions,” says Babara Santini, psychologist and relationship adviser. Instead, “reframe your mindset to match your desire with your beliefs”.
6. Live its reality
What would your life look like if you already had the thing that you want? How would you spend your time? What type of people would you spend your time with? Intentions are energy, and in this case, opposites do not attract. As in Ayurveda, like increases like. So, start living your life in a way that brings you into vibrational alignment with the energy of the very thing that you want.
7. Learn to love the obstacles
As you set forth to manifest your intentions, you will more than likely be met with obstacles. Obstacles can signify one of two things:
- The universe is testing you to see just how sure you are about what you’ve set out to create or get. This is your opportunity to stand your ground and remind yourself of your why. Your true motivation.
- You may have thought you wanted your dream job to look a certain way, and this obstacle is now directing you towards something similar, yet potentially much greater. Choose to look beyond the obstacle to see what doors it may have opened for you that you may not have seen otherwise.
8. Don’t Force it
Tension creates more tension. Ease creates more ease. Set your intention, and then keep your attention in the present moment. What can you do, right now, in this moment, to create more ease for you to attract what you want?
As in any relationship, the most important aspect in all this is trust. Trust that you are more than capable and worthy of receiving that which you desire. trust that you are a creative being with the power to transform your life. And trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be to achieve your goals.
And lastly, but certainly not least, celebrate yourself along the way. Celebrate when you put in the time, effort, and commitment whether it produces the result you had in mind or not. Celebrate even the smallest successes and celebrate even when you fail, acknowledging what you have learned and what you have gained from this lesson. Celebrate when you’ve had a great day and when you’ve had a really tough day, but you are still breathing and still standing.
So, there you have it. The results of my explorations and a bit of research. There’s a ton more out there on the subject. Books to read, articles to peruse. Gurus and experts of all kinds. Podcasts to listen to.
My question to you is: Woo-woo? Or factual? Do you believe? Or do you scoff?
I have to say that a few days ago I had decided to start the day with an affirmation and a gratitude, so I set a book and a pen on my night-table. This morning, that’s what I did. And I’ll go from there. Maybe I’ll even recite a mantra or two: “I am worthy, I am courageous, I am strong.” New year, new ways. Intentions, affirmations, gratitude; a bit of yoga and some breathing exercises. Sounds like a good way to start the day. A bit of this for the mind, a bit of that for the soul.
Enjoy the article and share your thoughts. Thanks for reading. Stay safe and keep creating.