How to Write Daily Intentions and Actually Stick to Them to Make the Most of Your Week
- Why You Need to Set Intentions for the Day
- Getting the Most Out of Your Week with Daily Intentions
- How to Set Your Intentions for the Day
- Intention Setting Tips
- Sample Daily Intentions to Get You Started
- Pointers for Writing Intentions
- Are You Having a Hard Time Setting Your Intentions?
- Are Monthly Intentions Better than Setting Daily Intentions or Weekly Intentions?
- Is it Best to Write Intentions Daily, Weekly, or Monthly?
- Do You Still Need to Dive into Intentions on a Deeper Level?
- One Last Thing. Can We Talk About To-Do Lists?
Why You Need to Set Intentions for the Day
In this article, you will learn why you need intention setting, and how to get the most out of them including seven steps to creating your intentions. Plus tips and pointers to level up your daily intention-setting process.
1. Proactively work toward your dreams.
When you set your intentions for the day, it helps to keep you focused on what matters most. Think of it this way — Instead of reactively doing things as they pop up; you proactively work toward your dreams. As a former boss used to put it…
“Own your day, or your day will own you.”
2. Create a positive mindset.
Setting daily intentions can also help you create a positive mindset for the day. When you start off your day knowing what you intend to do, it can help you to feel as though you are in control of your day. In turn, it can help you to feel less anxious and/or stressed. And may feel more productive.
3. Gentle & reassuring.
Another reason why you need intentions — they are more gentle and reassuring than goals. When our days are centered around accomplishing specific goals, it can cause you to feel like a failure when you we didn’t reach a desired benchmark. Taking this into consideration, goals can feel like rigid expectations. Intentions, on the other hand, are more like supportive guidelines. Your intentions are like a roadmap (or Google Maps) for your day. When you are re-routed because of an unexpected roadblock, you simply adjust your drive. If your intentions need to be adjusted, you take it in stride like you would with the change in route provided by Google Maps.
4. Help you to be more realistic.
Here’s the thing, as humans, we do an incredible job of over-scheduling ourselves (or underestimating how long tasks will take). We think we can accomplish everything under the sun in less than 24 hours. In the process, we forget that things don’t always work out as planned and can typically take longer than we expected.
While I feel strongly opposed to this statement (my inner child is wanting to deny this reality!), I’ve had my share of tasks that have taken remarkably longer than expected. Mostly due to unforeseen and unexpected roadblocks, but it happens.
On a personal note
Here’s my most recent example — trying to post my last blog post. I had already written the post; it just needed to be published on my website. No biggie. That should take less than an hour. Right?!
Yet, getting everything copied over to my website, formatted, and spell-checked one last time took me nearly 3x’s the amount of time because I ran into a formatting issue that I didn’t know how to fix. SMH
This is one of maannnyyyy examples of things that take longer than anticipated. So, next time you are frustrated that something is taking longer than expected — You’re not alone!
Here’s the biggest reason why I’ve thrived with intentions
As someone with ADHD, there have definitely been times when I absolutely needed to get something done, but… it didn’t actually happen.
Of course, there’s a laundry list of reasons, such as I forgot, there was something more interesting to do instead, my dog ate my homework, or blatant procrastination. However, I’ve found fewer of these things (uh, distractions?) when I set intentions.
THIS IS HOW INTENTIONS HELP ME TO GET THE MOST OF MY WEEK — By setting my intentions the day/night before, I am able to wake up and hit the ground running. As a result, I’ve had fewer instances where I get caught up in something that glittered and distracted me from getting that one thing that really needed to happen. Who knows, maybe it’ll be one of the things that helps you to change in a positive way too?
Important Note: If you’re new to the concept of intentions and want to know more — such as defining intentions and differentiating them from goals, examples of intentions, how to live an intentional life, quotes about intentions, and so much more! — You can find all that in another blog post I wrote titled Everything You Need to Know About Powerful Intention Setting. Plus, examples.
Getting the Most Out of Your Week with Daily Intentions
When you take some time to understand what you want to accomplish on a daily basis, it is a helpful tool to help you get the most out of your week.
Think of it this way…
Each daily intention is a single step. Throughout the week, you create a new intention (or step) that builds upon the last. Before you know it, you’ve created a staircase that helps you take massive strides toward your goals.
When Should I Write Out My Daily Intentions?
First, I have a question for you: What is best for your daily routine? While I’d like to tell you the best way to approach writing your daily intentions, it really depends on what your days look like and how you operate.
Here are some times you might consider writing down your daily intentions:
1. When you wake up in the morning
2. When you get into the office (or start your work/school day)
3. Before you leave work or finish up for the day
4. In the evening before bedtime
Here’s how I go about writing my daily intentions:
Personally, I write down my intentions at a couple of different points throughout the day. It just depends on what’s going on, such as:
- On Monday mornings, I write out my intentions for the week (most of the time). From there, it prompts me to write my intention for the day.
- If I’m getting ready to wind down for the day and my mind is still running through all the work things, I’ll take a time-out to write down my intentions for the next day.
- Other times, I’ll write down an intention for the following day (or in a few days) to make sure I’m prioritizing tasks properly. In other words, I’m working on a project that needs to get done but worried about something that needs to happen soon.
How to Set Your Intentions for the Day
Start by asking yourself some questions.
- What are your goals for this quarter and/or month?
- How can you create intentions for today to keep you on track with these?
- What are you looking forward to?
- Pro-tip: Use your answer to help keep you motivated when you have a difficult day. Also, don’t fall victim to the mentality that you’ll be free of bad days — That is an impossible expectation.
Want a tangible way to practice intention setting? Check out this blog post on Intention Setting Template for Notion + Printable PDF Download. You’ll even find a YouTube video to walk you through it!
Intention Setting Steps
1. Set the Scene
Make sure you come into your intention-setting session with a clear, uncluttered mind. The best way to do this is to engage in a mindfulness practice beforehand, such as yoga, meditation, or journaling. You may also consider getting out into nature, listening to your favorite tunes, or doing a clearing ceremony.
Once you have cleared your energy, you can start focusing on what you would like to call in with your intentions.
Before you make this a big, amazing practice — aka overcomplicating it — DON’T!
If you are trying to create the perfect ritual before writing your intentions, they may never get written. You know what I mean? So, if you need to take it down a notch, then do so. It’s more important to get your intentions written than having the perfect clearing ceremony or something.
2. Bust Out Your Favorite Journal — don’t be afraid to write in it!
To get your creative juices flowing, think about your goals and how those translate to what you’d like to accomplish in the coming week. In other words, make sure you are planning to work on things that move you closer to your dreams.
If you were unable to clear your mind completely in the last step, it might be helpful to do a brain dump so you can focus on what matters most.
3. Let the Thoughts & Idea Flow
Don’t hold anything back or edit yourself before you’ve gotten anything written down. This is a big one, especially if you struggle to get your intentions written. If you need to get in a little bit of doodling beforehand, go for it!
4. Aim for 1 – 3 daily intentions
You might be gifted with words and find it difficult to exercise brevity. Have no fear—I’ve included some ideas for you to streamline your thoughts.
This isn’t your problem? No worries. Keep scrolling to the headline below—Are you having a hard time setting your intentions?
Ideas to help you stick 1- 3 intentions:
- Review your monthly, quarterly, and/or annual goals. Then revisit your intentions. Are they helping to move you closer to your goals? If not, do you still need the intention? Or, would it be best to scrap it?
- Consider moving extra intentions to a master list to be used later.
- You might also consider having a list of default intentions. In other words, these are things that you are regularly working toward.
- For example, I strive to make my bed every day and to do yoga for at least five minutes. Note: I am not perfect and these things do not happen every. single. day. But, I intend to use them most days.
- While these are important to me, I am no longer at a point where I have them on my list everyday. Even though I don’t write them down, I still work toward doing them; you can consider them my default intentions.
5. When you’ve set your intentions, write yourself a love note
A love note will help you keep your intentions at the forefront of your mind, so they don’t get lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
It might be helpful to have your love note posted where you’ll see it regularly. I’m thinking a post-it computer screen, bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or somewhere on your car’s dashboard — obviously not in a place that will hinder or interfere with your ability to drive safely, though.
6. Give it to the Universe
You’ve done steps 1-5. Now it is time to allow your intentions to happen. The keyword being allow — Remember, this is not the type of thing you can force.
Sample Daily Intentions to Get You Started
To help you get a better idea of what intentions look like, here are some samples. If you borrow some of them, that’s totally fine. You can modify them, so they resonate with what you need.
Today, I will…
- speak kindly to myself.
- prioritize my needs.
- take time to sit in silence (or meditate).
- practice mindfulness through yoga, meditation, or journaling.
- spend quality time with loved ones (or friends).
- process my emotions before reacting to them by journaling.
Keep practicing with setting intentions & you’ll be a pro in no time.
POINTERS TO Keep These Things in Mind As You Write Your Intentions
1. Make sure your intentions are in alignment with your larger goals
It’s important to have a clear vision and set of goals. But it’s just as essential to make sure your day-to-day activities are in alignment with those goals. Intentions are meant to keep you on track with your goals in a gently, reassuring way.
2. Keep it short — No need to write every intention under the sun
The whole point of setting your intentions is to help keep you focused. If you write too many intentions, you might spread yourself too thin or struggle to keep up.
Do yourself a favor and start small. If you have a lot of intentions that come to mind, you can write them down and save them for the future.
If you have too many intentions, consider a running list of backup intentions that you can refer to as needed. This way, when you encounter writer’s block or are unsure of what intention to set, you can read through your list of intentions and find what speaks to you the most.
Reminder: Bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest so you can reference it later!
3. Revisit & refresh them as needed
Important note: You can change your mind. If yesterday’s intentions no longer resonate with you, leave them behind and start fresh.
There’s no need to overthink your intentions because they are meant to be updated, changed, and/or deleted. As you revisit your intentions, if you weren’t able to do thing you can consider one of three directions:
- If you find that the intention isn’t exactly what you need — then make changes accordingly.
- If you still want to do the thing, but can’t right now — maybe you can table the intention for the future when you are better equipped to tackle it.
- If the intention is no longer serves you — get rid of it!
Moral of the story, do what is best for you. Intentions are meant to empower you and keep you focused on your dreams and wishes. If they are not doing that, it’s time to move on.
Are You Having a Hard Time Setting Your Intentions?
First, I want to let you know that you are not alone. Been there, done that! There can be many that you may feel as though you are struggling. Here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot:
Gather your thoughts with journaling. Consider sitting down with your journal for a little bit. Or, to talk it out. Some people find it beneficial to record themselves talking as a voice journal.
Here’s the thing, you can’t leave the thoughts in your mind. They must hit a piece of paper, a recorder, or a conversation with someone else. Otherwise, you may continue to replay those words in your mind over and over again. And, that is not beneficial.
A Worksheet — Download it Now!
Let’s break this down into more manageable steps. To help you learn to write intentions, I created this intention-setting worksheet for you. The purpose of the worksheet is to help you think through your intentions by providing a framework and helpful questions to support you in the process.
Is this Intention Setting Worksheet what you need?
Um, yes—of course, it’s what you need! Especially if you understand the concept but aren’t entirely sure where to start with creating your own.
Maybe you want a streamlined way of writing intentions without all the other (necessary but also extra) information. In that case, absolutely — This Intention Setting PDF worksheet is for you!
Take a Nature Break
Sometimes we need a reset. A great way to do that is to get outside and be with nature.
I’m not talking city streets in New York with the majestic yellow cabs calling out with their horns.
I’m mean Central Park with the overwhelming beauty of the green plants, grass, and trees.
Take a moment to be present. Turn off your music or podcast. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Then, take a deep breath and open your eyes to take in the sights.
Hold Up. You Might be Wondering…
Are Monthly Intentions Better than Setting Daily Intentions or Weekly Intentions?
If you are unfamiliar with intentions, I suggest it’s best to start with monthly intentions. You can still sprinkle in daily intentions here and there.
The hope is that this approach will help keep you from feeling too overwhelmed, leading to abandoning the practice altogether. I don’t want that for you!
Start with monthly intentions, then use them as a guide for planning weekly and daily intentions
A little more rationale on the matter.
When you first start setting intentions, you might feel as though it takes a lot of time. If that’s the case, you may not be super consistent in your practice. Or ditch the practice because you’ve got other, more pressing things to do.
Ease yourself into setting intentions by doing them monthly. Hopefully, you’ll become more confident and feel more like a professional in your ability to set intentions. This will allow you to do them more frequently.
Ultimately, the goal is to set yourself up for success. And that might mean starting with the lowest point of entry (monthly intentions).
On a personal note
While I aspire to write daily intentions, the fact of the matter is I don’t always do it. So, I strive to have monthly intentions to ensure I stay on track with my quarterly goals. Daily intentions are usually written when I feel called to do it, or I’m trying to stay focused on a deadline.
After I’ve Mastered Intention Setting — Is it Best to Write Intentions Daily, Weekly, or Monthly?
Honestly, there is no correct answer here. Do what works best for you.
For myself, I’d love to do all types of intentions — daily, weekly, monthly. Or, at least I love the idea of doing them all the time.
I’m the type of person that’s incredibly organized, disciplined, and lives up to expectations perfectly. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. In reality, there are times I do e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g imaginable in a 24-hour period. This is often followed by weeks of lacking follow-through on anything and everything because I’m overwhelmed with life. So…undiagnosed bipolar is what I’m dealing with over here, which means sometimes I do all. the. things. and other times, I do practically nothing. As a result, I’ve learned to let go of some rigidity with scheduling myself or setting personal rules, such as writing daily intentions. It’s not an everyday thing, but sometimes it might be that.
Here’s the punchline: Write intentions as needed; That’s the best approach.
You might find yourself writing monthly intentions. And, as the weeks follow, perhaps you’ll set an intention for the week. In other cases, you might not have intentions for the week, but you’ll still write daily intentions. That’s fine.
Intentions are not meant to hold you hostage. Intentions are intended to be a tool to guide your actions and decisions.
I’ve got a real-life example for you. As I write this blog post, I am also figuring out what the rest of my week will entail. It’s Tuesday which probably means I won’t write any intentions for the week. I do, however, have a work date with a friend tomorrow. So, we have been texting back and forth about our intentions for the day.
Here’s my real life intention for tomorrow
- Today, I intend to continue to make progress on my blog post about daily intentions.
But, suppose I hit a roadblock (or don’t feel like writing). In that case, I have an alternative intention below.
- Today, I intend to tap into my creative side and make Pinterest images for published blog posts that don’t have images.
The important thing here, if I do not follow through with my first intention, I will simply let it go. No need to allow negative self-talk to creep in and make me feel less than others because I didn’t make progress on my blog post.
Instead, I choose to focus my energy on the fact I honored my needs. And, embraced my desire to tap into my creative side instead of writing — because sometimes you can’t stare at words on a computer screen anymore!
Do You Still Need to Dive into Intentions on a Deeper Level?
I’ll admit it—this blog post is definitely a high-level approach to setting your intentions.
So, if you are only starting to dip your toes into this world of intention setting, more information might be helpful — Especially if you are the type of person who wants to know e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g there is to know (raising my hand with you!!).
In that case, take a time out from this article and check out this blog post on everything you need to know about powerful intention setting, plus examples. Or, take a moment to grab this intention setting worksheet I created to help you break down the process.
Want to know more about intentions?
In this post, you’ll earn how to create your own intentions with examples, how to follow through with them, and how to live an intentional life. You’ll also find quotes about intentions!
One Last Thing, Can We Take a Moment to Talk About To-Do Lists?
You might be wondering how your intentions differ from your to do list. Here’s the thing, to do lists can become monoliths that never seem to get done. But, I don’t really need to tell you that. Right?!
As an example, the other day I crossed something off my list that had been there for over 7 weeks. And, I don’t even want to admit to you the other task I’m avoiding… it’s been there much longer (uh, we are pushing 15+ weeks).
My to-do list is so complicated that I can’t write it down on a single piece of paper. And, I cannot use traditional to-do list methods to keep track of everything. (Thank goodness I discovered Notion—it has changed my life!!!)
While I admit that to-do lists can be a helpful tool, we don’t always utilize them properly. Here are a few things we do wrong:
- Writing down things that we never intend to complete,
- Allowing tasks to stay on our list for too long (you know who you are!), or
- Keeping our to-do list in multiple locations (uh hem, that napkin with thoughts scribbled on it, and the random piece of paper that’s crumpled at the bottom of your purse.)
These things do not set us up for long-term success. Especially when we spend most of our days focused on tasks that do not move the needle on our dreams.
The difference between setting intentions and your to-do list. Think of it this way:
- Intentions can be a tool to keep you on track while working toward your goal. Think of intentions as a guiding light to help illuminate your path and ensure your energy is used to create the life you desire.
- A to-do list is basically a bunch of tasks that need to happen. Some tasks are more pertinent and need to occur within a specific timeline. In contrast, other tasks may be on your list simply because they sounded like the right thing to do at the moment. Maybe we can call those second ones “aspirational tasks.”
Take this as a reminder to make sure your to-do list includes your intentions. And, the tasks you engage in on a daily basis are helping work toward your great goals in life.
Intentions are a great way to set the scene and make the most of your week. You will also find that by setting weekly intentions, you will have an easier time focusing on what’s important and staying on track.
Keep in mind — as you practice setting intentions, you will learn to refine your abilities. So, if your first few intentions aren’t great or you have a hard time writing them, don’t sweat it. Stick with the process, and you’ll get the hang of it sooner or later.
Now, Show Me Yours
Alright, I showed you mine which means it’s your turn!
What are your intentions? Where are you writing them? Do you think you’ll be writing daily, weekly, or monthly intentions after reading this?
Share some of your intentions with us in the comment below. We’d love to read them. Who knows, you might inspire someone else!
Next blog post: Intention Setting Template for Notion + Printable PDF Download