The Art of Setting Intentions
Life 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)
- Focus your thought on the result or experience you want
- 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)
- Write your intention down
- 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!