Have you ever set or used an intention? Or are you reading this and wondering what the heck is an intention? Lucky for you, if it’s the latter this article should not only clarify things but also show you how you can be using intentions as a powerful tool. But we have a lot to cover so we’ll just get right into it!
Most basically, an intention is a purpose, desired outcome or significance behind an action. There’s intention to everything really, even when we don’t realize it. Say you you plan to go out with your friends. The intention is to have fun, connect right? But rarely do we think about that intention, we just do it. In many instances we don’t need to think about our intention behind an action. But what about when we are struggling to foster a new habit? Or have difficulties making time for or remembering to do something that’s positive for us? THIS is where using intentions can help you thrive.
We can use intentions as a means to identify:
- how we want to feel
- how we want things to be/look
- how an action reflects our values/truth
- what an action can allow us to achieve
- what matters to us
Intentions are different from goals. In an intention you’r stating more of a direction or desired outcome; as opposed to a goal which states a measurable and specific act to be carried out on a certain timeline. Intentions are great because you can be moderately specific but still have ample amounts of room and flexibility. You know where you’re trying to go, but the exact how can flux, which is super important when it comes to identifying habits that work for you.
So how exactly do you use intentions?
Intention setting is the actual action of using intentions and connecting the intent to our actions. It’s saying, writing or thinking about the deeper purpose behind our habits and choices. You can create a statement of what you want to do/focus on followed by your reasoning/desired outcome. Or inversely, you can think about your “why” first, and then think about what could get you there.
Why do you want to improve your quality of sleep? Maybe it’s in order to feel more energized and more present. Or you want to feel more energized and present, thus you want to work on improving your sleep. See how this works in either direction? Regardless of how you set it up, you’ve connected a purpose to your action.
But how could we take that a step further?
Ask WHY do I want to feel more energized and present? Is it so you can show up in your personal relationships better? Or so you can be better at your job? Think about how the first layer of your intention directly affects your life and find an even deeper rooted purpose. Another example:
I will incorporate mediation to my mornings in order to lower my stress levels.
taking that a step further:
I will incorporate mediation to my mornings in order to lower my stress levels because it allows me to react more rationally to things outside my control.
See how we’ve taken a small action and given it a specific and personal purpose?
The Power Of Meaning Vs. Should
Have you ever tried to do something because someone told you you should? Or because it seemed to be what everyone else around you was also doing? This might work at first, but over time you find yourself disconnecting from this action. But if you want to really foster a long term habit you have to give yourself that deeply rooted purpose, identifying how the action serves YOU and your life. When you really reflect on how an area of focus can make you feel, or help you show up in another area of your life you feel like your habits are working for and with you.
Writing Your Own Intentions
Let’s put this into practice shall we? For starters, I want you to think about a habit or subset of habits you’ve struggled with or want to work on.
- What area/habit do I want to focus on?
Then I want you to reflect on the desired outcome. How it is you want to feel, things to be, what you want to achieve in doing this.
- Why do I want to focus on this area/habits?
Lastly take your desired outcome a step further. How can this directly impact your life in a positive way?
- How does my desired outcome positively affect my life?
Put all of these statements together, write them down and keep it in a space that you look at often. Reminding yourself of why it is you want to focus on and foster positive habits in this area of your life.
How to incorporate intention setting to your life
You can use intentions however you’d like. It can be powerful to set intentions in beginning of the day, especially if you’re actively working on new habits or find yourself struggling in a certain area. You can also use intentions at the beginning of a month, quarter or year to give yourself a purposeful direction. If you’re artistic or just want to get crafty with it, try drawing or painting words or intentions that state your purpose. Use intentions to your advantage and as a tool to inspire yourself and connect with your habits and actions.
And there it is, friends. A simple crash course that hopefully brought your up to speed on intentions — what they are, how and why to use them and how to incorporate it into your life. Thank you so much for stopping by and giving this a read.
If you want to learn more about how intentions can incorporated into your health and wellness habits, let’s chat! Or you can check out the Living Well With Intention course. A self study focused on rooting your health supporting habits in intention and self care.