Intention Setting 101

In a society that glorifies busyness, the hustle, and having forty-five hobbies in addition to your full-time job, practices like meditation and intention-setting are becoming more and more popular. As humans, we need rest – and that can be hard to come by when you accidentally watch 6 episodes of New Girl in a row because all sense of time is gone by the time you get home from the office (hey, we’ve all been there!).

While most self-care related practices require a time or financial commitment that can be hard to stick to, intention setting is easy, takes less than a minute, and can seriously shift your mindset for the day – so not only do you still have time for those Netflix episodes, you feel more centered while watching!

The ‘What’

Intentions are principles you create that act as a guide for how you want to live and show up in the world. While the definition may sound a lot like goal-setting, there’s a major difference: A goal focuses on how you’re going to act in the future, while intentions are all about living in the present moment.

The idea behind intentions is that you would be an active participant in your life, instead of being reactive. Think of it like this: Intention setting allows you to be a thermostat in your life, instead of a thermometer. Thermostats set the temperature, while thermometers just measure it. Do you feel like you approach each day setting the temperature for your life, or reacting to what you perceive is happening around you?

The ‘Why’ 

It can be easy to reduce who we are as people to what we write on our resumes, social media bios, or what job title appears on our email signatures. Intention setting steps away from what you are (a college graduate, a girlfriend, a comic-book lover), and focuses on who you are – what you value, how you feel, and who you are in the present moment. It’s about living on purpose.

The ‘How ‘

Intentions should be positive, short sentences that start with, “I will,” or, “I am.” Take a look at where you’re at right now: Are there fears you want to overcome, do you need an extra reminder of what’s most important to you, does your life need more positivity? Once you know what’s keeping you from really enjoying the present, create your affirmation based on that. For example, if you’re having a hard time speaking up at work, your affirmation could be, “I will lead by example and value my voice.”

You can speak your affirmations while you’re getting ready in the mornings, or can make a daily ritual out of it and spend some time with a hot drink and lit candles while you’re speaking them. The key is to focus on what you’re saying – your thoughts become your actions, and your actions are the building blocks that create your life. Thinking intentionally leads to acting intentionally – and that’s how you build a life worth living!

Check in with yourself on a weekly basis to see how your intentions are going: Do you need to create new ones? Tweak the ones you currently have? Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever tried intention setting, and how you felt after trying it!