The Art of Setting Intentions

September 2, 2009 | 41 Comments »

consciousnessLife follows our thoughts, so when we don’t get specific and deliberate with those thoughts, who knows where we’ll end up! The power is in training our attention toward what we want, which we can do by setting the intention for it in advance.

What’s An Intention?
An intention is simply “the act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” Dream Coach, Marci Wieder, writes this about intentions:

“A working definition for intention is: ‘to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim.’ Lacking intention, we sometimes stray without meaning or direction. But with it, all the forces of the universe can align to make even the most impossible, possible.”

I tell folks setting an intention is simply holding in mind what you want. That’s what allows you to point your conscious awareness (your vehicle for all creation) in the direction of what you would like to have or be or do.

In short, intention setting is a good habit to get into!

Here are short and sweet steps for setting an intention. (Whether you do it on the fly or create a more formal ritual for it, the important part is that you do what feels best!)

On-the-Fly Intention Setting
(for when you don’t have a lot of advance prep time)

  1. Focus your thought on the result or experience you want
  2. Let it go

Could it get any easier? The only thing better than how simple it is, is how effective you’ll find it!

On-the-fly intention setting is perfect for taking or making important calls, meeting new people, hosting or attending an event, traveling, receiving some sort of service like a restaurant dinner, car in the shop, tax preparation, etc.

For times when you’re extra nervous or doubtful, or for things that feel like a big deal, you might engage a more ritualized process for setting an intention:

Formal Intention Setting
(for when it really matters)

  1. Write your intention down
  2. Let it go

Still pretty simple, huh?  Instead of writing it down, you could speak it out loud. Either way amps up the power.  Developing a habit or ritual around the process will increase its effectiveness for you, too.

You can develop a ritual by keeping a particular journal where you write intentions, or having a place (a box or drawer or even a book) where you keep the papers you’ve written your intentions on.  (I keep an Intentions Journal.)

Some choose to keep their written intentions in a place where they see them regularly (bulletin board, bathroom mirror, wallet, etc.).

If you’re speaking your intention instead of writing it, it’s recommended to get in a peaceful state before declaring it. If you choose to share it with another person, be picky about who you let in on it to ensure you get support instead of ridicule or doubt.

As far as how to word your intention, there’s no wrong way to do it, but I recommend you play with various structures in order to find your rhythm – then stick with what feels best.

Some start an intention by addressing their higher power, some start it with “I am,” some simply say what’s going to happen.

That’s how I do it: “We have a great time, we’re totally attracted to each other, he quickly makes it clear he wants to see me again.”

Experiment, be creative, and pay attention for what “clicks” for you.

When to Use It?
There’s no bad time to set an intention. Anytime you care about what happens or simply want to ensure you get what you want is a great time to get intentional.

In fact, I suspect most of us already hold intentions more often than we realize. The problem is those intentions aren’t usually deliberate about pointing us in the direction of our desire.

For example, my sister-in-law recently went on a job interview that she “knew” wouldn’t pay what she wanted. As she drove to her interview, she imagined that they would probably like her, would probably want to hire her, and could in no way possible afford her.

Guess what happened? No surprise she got exactly what she held in mind.

By purposely setting an intention, we get a chance to redirect our thoughts in ways that allow our desired end result to come to fruition. We get out of our own way and stop sabotaging our happy endings!

As usual, though, don’t take my word for it. Put it to practice for yourself and let me know how you like it!

* * * * * * * *
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41 Responses to “ The Art of Setting Intentions ”

  1. Jeannette, as usual, you have taken a tricky concept and made it easy to understand and practical to implement. Just today I realized it’s time for me to do some intense visioning — time to flip my WIG — and this info on intentions will be center of the work I do. Thank you so much for the gifts you continually bring. You got it, sister.

  2. Ha! Just read your tweet about your ankle-biting puppies, Michele! lol

    Puppies – great place to start with deliberate intentions, huh?
    🙂

  3. Emiko Jaffe says:

    Yes!! Love the example you give where you are CLEAR about your intention: “We have a great time, we’re totally attracted to each other, he quickly makes it clear he wants to see me again.”

    I realized after taking Koelle’s fab horse whispering workshop that I lacked clarity behind my intentions. So the engine driving my actions was cluttered with all the wrong energy. So, with my kids I’d say to them “go to bed and stay in bed” but I wasn’t convinced they’d stay there myself! No surprise, they were in/out of bed until they wore themselves out (if anything, I hampered the going to bed process). However, when I got clear on what I really wanted (Koelle had me write out a list of detailed outcomes I wanted to experience, like Pray Rain Journaling!) and when I aligned my energy with it (which meant detaching from outcome, the “forget it” part) and untangled myself from whatever was going on with my kids, suddenly it was like I was speaking a language my kids understood and I got what I truly wanted (and I believe what they wanted, they had to be tired!): kids staying in bed and no drama.

    All that to say:
    intention (x clarity) +detachment=right energy and yummy results 🙂

    Thank you (hey this post makes 2 gifts today! 🙂 )!!

  4. Oooh, that WAS a great place to learn about intentions, huh, Emiko?!

    And hey – kids! That’s as good a practice playground as puppies! ha

  5. Hi Jeannette,

    Thank you. I just set my intentions. Thank you for providing the clarity I needed. I look forward to our interview this Friday. Talk soon!

  6. Now THAT’S going to be a guaranteed good time, Koren, with the two of US setting intentions for it!
    🙂
    http://howshereallydoesit.com

  7. Jeannette,

    What a great blog you have!

    Intentions should be the driving force of our lives, with a strong and clear intention, our lives are designed.

    Keep up the good work Jeannette!

  8. Thanks for dropping in and for sharing the kind words, Matthew. Much appreciated!

  9. Amy says:

    Small example: I have noticed in the past month that I am almost out of stamps. I fleetingly see myself going to the post office to get them, forget about it. Then, I use the last stamp. It is my last day at work before vacation. I think to myself that I’ll ask my mom to stop by the post office to pick some up for me. That night, after packing my bags, I decide to take my son for a walk to the corner 24 hour drug store. We meander around the store, and pick out some ice cream.

    We get in line and wait. The person in front of us asks the cashier if they sell stamps!! They do! I have lived here for 5 years and have never known this! I was so pleased and delighted by this small, yet huge orchestration. Not only do I not have to ask my mom one more favor, I now, technically never really ran out of stamps, and I now have a 24 hour source of stamps 1/2 a block away. I am still so pleased by this, a week later!

    I didn’t purposely do any process to get them, but learned a lot!

  10. Amy, what a great example of effortless manifesting!

    No surprise to me that sons and ice cream were involved! Total Vortex material.
    🙂

    Thanks for posting, Amy!

  11. Judiesjuice says:

    Hmm, I posted earlier but it’s not here. I don’t remember what I wrote! Oh well.

    Thanks for another great blog post Jeannette. I don’t have a problem setting an intention. I do this every day. Every morning, I sent an intention for the day. I am constantly setting goals, revising goals and taking steps to achieve my goals. My “issue” is that a few of my intentions have not yet manifested and it’s been a while. I have been asking for signs- asking the Universe, my angels, my Mom, for signs that I am on the right track and that I am headed in the right direction, for patience, etc…. Either I am not on the right track, or I am not seeing the signs, although I ask that the signs be clear and obvious to me.

  12. Berta Bauer, Lighthouse Coaching and Retreats says:

    I am having great success with manifesting the little stuff by either just having a passing thought or stating what I want. But the big things–that has been different. What you have just said I also heard on Hay House Radio this morning listening to Ask and It is Given. Abe, like you Jeanette, said to let it go; forget it. It is when I am thinking/feeling the “it isn’t here,” “when is it coming” and “everyone else has it” thoughts that I am keeping it away. (My vibes are entrenched in lack.) So today when my thoughts slipped to my big intention, I told myself all the reasons that I am happy right now with or without it. Abe also said just get happy and bamm! It comes.

    Way deeper truth in the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

  13. Robert says:

    Wow, I love this recent post from Judiesjuice. Does anyone else see what I see? Judiesjuicie says that she posted something but it didn’t show up, THEN she says that her issue is that when she requests things from the Universe, sometimes they don’t show up 🙂 So I am glad that she reposted, and maybe it’s good to “repost” our requests to the Universe. It also occurs to me that maybe, sometimes we don’t expect the Universe to answer? Also, I recently discovered that one of my angels was sending me signals that I did not recognize for years in the form of train whistles. Keep watching for those messages and when you are ready you will recognize them. Robert

  14. Good point (and astute observation), Robert. I was thinking, too, that the letting go step might could use a little spotlight, Judie.

    Very true, Berta. And it seems that sometimes “getting happy” is highly underrated in our culture. Until now. Until here, of course.

    hee hee

    Thanks for the great material to explore this topic further, you guys!

  15. Great feedback and inspiration, Tonya! Thanks for sharing it!

  16. Tonya Leigh says:

    I have been practicing daily intentions with my conversations, meetings, coaching sessions…actually, my entire day, and it is SO powerful! Everything is coming true! Thanks Jeanette!

  17. Kristy M says:

    “Letting go” is my big thing.. Most of the time my desires and intentions have a happy, light, excited, ‘of course’, tingly feeling to them.. but on rare occasion (out of the vortex days.. which sometimes aren’t all that bad, like Jeannette said.. you need to feel bad sometimes and you can’t bottle those feelings up or it will hurt you.. it is all part of being human haha) they have a worried, anxiety-attack, ‘how the eff is this going to happen?’ feeling to them.. like I said, this is rare but I still get mad at myself for thinking that way… then I remind myself that it is the big U’s job to figure out the ‘how’ (the Universe is my agent haha!) and I just have to jump on the oppurtunities that feel right (not just sit on my bum) and I feel better… I’m totally getting in alignment with my ‘crazy’ dreams.. and by ‘crazy’ I mean in the most amazing way

  18. nessa says:

    Just wanted to say “HI” to all! I just stumbled onto this blog yesterday and am in LOVE with all the insightful and easy to understand posts as well as comments. I am elated over how much I’ve learned in just the past day. Thank you! This is just what I was vibe-ing for!

  19. Berta Bauer, Lighthouse Coaching and Retreats says:

    Thanks, Kristy M, for the reminder that we don’t have to figure out “how” it is going to happen because that is the Big U’s job. That is going on a post-it note!

  20. Judiesjuice says:

    Robert, ha ha! That is true. Yesterday, I received unexpected and unwanted news regarding one of my manifestations, hence my post was covered in “lack”.

    Your post reminds me of my children’s habits. I have two girls, 6 and 4. My 6 year old is like me and tends to be obsessive. She is now obsessed with getting a gerbil. Every day and multiple times throughout the day, it’s “Are we getting a gerbil today?” or “Can I have a lollipop now?” When I hear that question being asked for the 16th time, I am ready to scream 🙂 I wonder how the Universe reacts when I ask my questions over and over and over.

    Doesn’t the mere question show lack? After all, if you already have whatever it is you are asking for, then would you still be asking for it? Probably not.

    I know some suggest instead of asking, give thanks, which shows that you believe it will show up and are in alignment. I need to start practicing that myself!

  21. Kristy M says:

    Ok this is random! but when I woke up this morning I was going through the channels and settled on VH1.. there was a video on and I just felt sad for a moment.. then my finger slipped and switched to a random channel and “Living On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi was on (that is MY jam lol! “We’re halfway there.. whoa living on a prayer, take my hand.. we’ll make it I swear.. whoa living on a prayer!”) It made me think of what Jeannette said about her angels.. I laughed and said “Ok ok, I get it.. I’m sorry for doubting!”

  22. Ooh, HUGE relief – huh, Kristy? – in remembering our role in the whole process!! Focus on what we want – simple stuff.

    PS – “eff” might be my favorite new word today. Thanks for the laugh!

  23. Always nice to see you here, Iyabo!

    Here’s to an intention to remember to set intentions and to easily release them afterward.

    ha

  24. Iyabo Asani, The Inner Genius Coach says:

    One of the challenges I face is staying in awareness and I really should not call it a challenge. I get reminders all the time so it is a muscle that I am developing.

    Consciously setting my intention is also something that i sometimes forget to do. I do it for big things but I want to get in the habit of doing it all the time, for even the little things.

    Thanks for the reminder about letting it go.

    Hugs

    Iyabo

  25. MissyB says:

    I love my surrender box as you know. And I adore handing over my wants, wishes, problems and intentions just before I go to bed. I always feel that the magic has time to get going whilst I sleep.

    And then when the things come – I write thank you on the note and still keep it in the box to help attract more good stuff. Love it !

  26. MissyB – you’re reminding me how last night my in-person mastermind circle brought out the angel cards. My card included a reminder to hand worries over to angels.

    For some reason I never thought of doing that before. But it sure lit me up to do it! At first I was just like, “Ok, Angels, you can take the one where I was worried about how Dad didn’t appreciate the Clean Living post.”

    And that felt so good that I thought, “And you can take the one about which cat is peeing in the closet.”

    And then I was starting to feel giggly light about it all, and I found a couple more to toss their way and I wondered why in the world haven’t I done this before?!

    So I TOTALLY get the value of the surrender box! Thanks for sharing that here!!

  27. Judiesjuice says:

    MissyB, can you tell us more about your surrender box? I think I know what it is but I love hearing first hand details and explanations. Thank you!

  28. Mitch says:

    I love how Let It Go is part of both processes. I am intending right now to perfectly incorporate that step into all of my intentions. (And now I’m letting it go. lol)

    I also appreciate you reminding us to write it down. I find that sometimes if I really let the intention go, whatever I intended comes true, but I nearly miss it because I’m not thinking about it or looking for it. And I *love* the satisfaction of saying, “I did that!” Keeping a journal is a great way to remind myself of what I’ve asked for so I can give the Universe a big smooch when it delivers. 🙂

  29. Smart move, Judie!

    And Mitch, that is a super powerful way to amp up our deliberate creative power – by noticing where it’s already in action. Thanks for a great tip!

    (And the laugh!)

  30. MissyB says:

    Thanks for asking Judie.
    I’ve a tin with Diddl (if you know who he is) on it. It pleases me to look at so thats the key for me. In it I have a notebook with leaves that you can tear out. I write my request out, tell the Universe that I’m handing it over to “him” to sort by writing “Universe, I’m handing this over to you to sort”, tear it out and place it in the tin. I date the request, worry, intention, whatever, so that I can look back at it. When it comes true I write thank you on it and leave it in the tin.
    The weird thing here though, is that the request has to be immacuately written and torn out the notebook neatly. If I don’t do so, I start the request from the beginning. Sounds a bit OCD but I feel I have to respect the Universe for helping me and the least I can do is present it in a neat fashion ! LOL !

  31. Judiesjuice says:

    MissyB, thank you so much for sharing this information. I have a beautiful wooden box that I purchased a few years ago. I seem to remember that I had the intention to use it as a magic box but after I got it, I didn’t feel to use it that way. However, now I do 🙂

    Today is the full moon and a perfect time for me to begin handing everything over to the Universe in my box. Really, any time is the perfect time to co-create and release to the Universe. I suspect wonderful surprises are in store for all of us.

  32. sue says:

    I’ve come up with a great idea, for me anyway, I recently bought a new cell phone and it does all sort of fun things, of course, so I set my alarm clock to go off at 1:00 pm and it has this lovely little chime, sort of like being sprinkled with magic dust. When I look at it, it says ALIGN! It’s a fun reminder to do something I am intending to do, and it always makes me smile. I liked it so much that I now set it for 3:00 and then it reminds me to “get in the vortex”
    Fun with technology and Abraham!

  33. Susie says:

    Thanks, too, Jeannette for the topic!!

  34. Susie says:

    Wow, Sue, What a great idea? I wonder if I can set my phone to a pleasant “musical” reminder every hour….to remind me to FEEL THE FEELINGS IF LIVING AND WORKING IN DOWNTOWN LAGUNA BEACH?

    gonna figure it out! (and if I can’t, gonna ask my daughter how to do that!!)

    Thanks!!!!!

  35. Judy says:

    Sue, Miche and I have to get one of ‘dem there’ phones!(Quoting Greg the Bunny, who always makes us laugh). Sue is my friend who owns the local health food store, everybody. We see each other out and about and usually end up talking about Jeannette, Good Vibe Blog, etc. Life is fun, for sure! And as Abe, says, it’s supposed to be! And MissyB, thanks for the post about the box. I’ve just found a lovely one and have a couple of things to throw in right now. I had forgotten what a wonderful tool that is!

    And Susie, I’ve read your posts here and on the MMM forums. I have absolutely no doubt you’ll end up in Laguna Beach. If you don’t, it’s because you’ve found somewhere you like better!

  36. Judiesjuice says:

    The book Ask And It is Given also has a section on Creation Boxes. Plus, if you google, you will find tons of information and websites that sell boxes, tips on how to create your own, etc.. But really, it’s a very easy concept and one to implement so no need to drive yourself
    crazy 🙂 I charged mine last night.

  37. Susie says:

    Hi, and thanks, Judy for the vote of confidence!!!

    I did get my phone set, using Alarm, setting it for 8am, 10, 2, 4 and 7pm (wouldnt let me set every hour..)
    already has gone off twice (8 and 10) and i LOVE IT…I immediately get into feeling it, loving and excited to be IN LAGUNA LIVING AND WORKING AND THRIVING…
    THANKS AGAIN SO MUCH FOR THE INSPIRATION TO USE THE PHONE!!!!!

    also…..earlier, I started feeling a little nauseus….and it continued…..until….it occurred to me that i could call in sick (lose the money) because i have a bonus check coming this week which more than makes up for the day’s pay i’ll use….WOO!!! HOO!!! (it has been near torture at work with 5 hours of NOTHING to do except sweat in the humid heat…noooooo fun)….so excited to be off today, my stomach immediately felt better after I called boss and told him i wasnt feeling well..etc…

    wow….thanks tummy! soo, have done my nails and toes (getting a little better at it since i’ve (had to) been doing them myself…..
    and decided i’m going to the carwash (another “luxury” i’d given up lately)….then heading for laguna for the day….gonna take pictures of houses i like/want and just soak up the vibe….thanks everyone for bein’ here….

    love,peace, surf n sand!

  38. Erik says:

    Hey thanks for this ultra short method of manifesting ;). This is kind of fire and forget which is good because we do not attach to the stuff for every second of the day.
    Just recently started the pray rain journaling and found it to be along very similar lines: you write it down in the evening (or whenever) and I found that I don’t obsess over it but rather feel the vibe I started in the evening very nicely and it makes me happy every time I think of it.
    @Susie: the mobile phone reminders are a pretty cool idea 🙂 – you can fit them to your needs and make them hourly, 2- or 3-hours or whatever you need to get back into the vortex. Now how cool is that, your daily coach in a pocket.
    Smile and enjoy your day 🙂

    Erik

  39. Jeanne says:

    Aw, gee, it’s confession time for me. This weekend was extremely crowded at our campground (Labor Day weekend) and there were hordes of kids, all ages. Every time we get these many children I cringe with the thoughts of “how much damage will they do to the gardens?”

    OK, so this morning I did the garden tour, and sure enough, a small tree planted last year was broken at the base. My heart sunk. I uprighted it and staked it, hoping it’ll heal itself and survive.

    Then I read this post and realized that it’s all my fault, because I EXPECT damage to be done. HOLY CRAP, I KNOW BETTER! I’ll be ecstatic when I figure out to do the manifesting thing in every inch/ounce/moment/area of my life. Methinks the gardens will love it, too.

    Surrender Box, here I come!

  40. sue says:

    Jeanne, Love your post, even the smallest of things, our lovely plants, can help us become awesome creators.
    It makes me think of Louis Hay and how she said that she imagined that everyone adored her new shiny Rolls Royce just as she did, so she never worried about it getting damaged. Just imagine how stunned everyone is when they come and see the glorious gardens, including the children!
    Everyone life is enriched when they see my gardens!
    Enjoy!

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