Setting an intention at the beginning of an event, day, or period of my life has been a helpful way to keep me grounded. It provides a way for me to stay in the present moment and on my path. When I get into an overthinking spiral an intention can be an anchor that I can hold on to for some stability.
I don’t always set an intention but give myself the option to see if it feels right and if it doesn’t I push myself to have one simply for the sake of having one. I recommend to anyone looking to set an intention to first check in with themselves to figure out what you need in the moment.
An intention can give you something to focus on when you get busy, stressed, or unfocused. It can be a reminder that you have control over your mood and mindset. Your intention can bring you back to a positive, calm, or inspired headspace.
Coming up with your intention gives you a chance to check in with yourself, learn what you need, and determine if you are heading where you want to go. Over time this can help you navigate what it is you truly need and not what you think you should need.
What is an intention
An intention can be anything you use to help direct your thoughts, actions, mood, or mindset to a place you want it to be. It can be something that helps keep your busy mind from wandering too far or keep the small inner voice of insecurity in check. It can bring you back to where you want to be or help lead you where you want to go. It can help guide you through the times when you feel alone or bring you motivation when you feel uninspired.
An intention can be a word, phrase, picture that inspires you, color that makes you feel something, or whatever works for you on your journey. Experiment and play around to see what resonates with you. Use this as a chance for you to learn how to communicate and be more open with yourself.
Think of an intention as a journey within itself or a companion sharing the journey with you. An intention does not need to be an outcome or a specific goal, but a way to experience the world the way you want.
Examples of intentions
What your intention is and how you choose to visualize it is completely up to you and not something you have to explain to anyone else. How a word or picture makes you feel is what matters, not what others get from the same word or picture.
There are many forms an intention can take.
It can be a reminder
to be thankful for what you have
to be patient
to slow down
It can guide you to a positive headspace by using
a picture that relaxes you
a color that energizes you
a word associated with a positive memory
It can be motivation
to keep up a habit
to get out of your comfort zone
to live the life you want
It can be strength
When it’s hard to keep going
When you feel alone
When you are making changes
Why set an intention
Setting an intention encourages you to look inward and figure out what you need. Your intention is personal to you and your journey. Making a habit of looking inward helps with all parts of your life.
As you take time to choose what intention to set, look at where things are in this moment in time. This can help you figure out what you want to stay in your life and what you might want to change.
Setting an intention is a moment where you can focus on yourself.
When to set an intention
There is no specific time when you should set an intention nor do you need to have a set schedule. Set an intention when you feel it is needed but don’t feel the need to force it. Some days and times an intention may work for you while others it does not quite fit, listen to yourself. Routinely checking in with yourself and how you are doing can help you determine when setting an intention may be beneficial.
Also don’t feel you have to stick with an intention just because it was what you started with. Get in tune with where you are and what you need.
Your intention does not need to be the same everyday, it does not even need to be the same throughout the day. Our moods and emotions change based on outside stimuli and experiences we have, let your intention change along with it.
How to come up with your intention
This is your time to put thoughts of what others think out of your head, do what is best for you. It can take time to unravel our true desires from those society and other put on us. Your intentions may change over time as you learn more about your true self. Let them change, it is all part of the journey.
To come up with an intention, start by asking yourself a few questions to get at the heart of what is right for you at this moment in time.
Ideas of questions to ask yourself
Do I need to slow down?
Do I need a break?
Do I need to be motivated?
Do I need to be grounded?
Do I feel worn out?
Do I feel energized?
Do I feel disconnected?
Do I feel content?
Think about what it is that you may need that day. But don’t worry if you can’t put your finger on exactly what it is you need and don’t feel you can’t start something until you have an intention. If the process is stressful or feels that it is going nowhere, let it go. An intention can be helpful, but not everyday and every moment has to have an intention. You may find that throughout the day an intention will come to you naturally.
Incorporating your intention into your day
Experiment and figure out what is the best way to incorporate your intention into your day. It should be personal and it should work for you.
Your intention should fit into your life, so a helpful place to start is thinking about whether you want to remind yourself of your intention digitally or physically. You may not know what would work best for you and that is completely fine. Try different ways of incorporating your intention into your life and see which one fits the best.
Setting an intention does not mean you need to physically write something down and place it in your environment if that does not fit into your life. It may be important for you to not add any additional physical objects to your space.
Ideas for digital reminders include
Writing it down on a note in your phone
Creating a sticky note on your computer
Keeping it as the lock screen on your phone or computer
For others, having a physical reminder in their environment is more helpful.
Ideas for physical reminders include
A sticky note – put it in a static location or move it around with your throughout the day
An index card on a corkboard
A piece of paper on the front of your fridge
Save your intentions
When you come across intentions that work for you, keep track of them. This can be as simple as a note on your computer or a stack of index cards. It can provide you a starting place the next time you look to set an intention. It can inspire you to see what intentions have helped you in the past.
Reflect on your intentions
At the end of the day, event, or time period in your life, and as you have the energy and time, reflect on the intention you set.
This process need not be long or drawn out, you will likely already have a sense of whether the intention met your needs.
Some questions to help you reflect
Did this intention work for me?
Did the visualization method work for me?
How do I feel?
How did my intention fit my day?
This knowledge can help you figure out what intentions work best for you and during what time or times in your life. The more you start to understand what works for you and check in with yourself, the more you will be able to use your intention to help you on your journey.
An intention can help keep you grounded and focused. With so much that is going on in our lives, having one constant throughout the day can be the anchor that keep us from feeling adrift and untethered.
Setting an intention does not need to take much time and it is not meant to cause you stress. Let this be a chance for you to be truly open and honest with yourself.
Getting into the habit of checking in with yourself can keep you on track with being the person you want to be and going in the direction you want to go.
Have your intention be something that will build you up, not a reminder of your failings.