What is an Intention?
Getting technical, here is the definition of intention per Oxford Languages.
- a thing intended; an aim or plan. Sentence: “she was full of good intentions.”
- (medicine) the healing process of a wound.
If you’d like some alternative words, here are some synonyms: aim, purpose, intent, objective, goal, target, end, plan, resolution, determination, or wish.
Elaborating on Intentions
Two types of Intentions
If you are a millennial (at least an older one like me), it is likely you associate the word intention with something else such as the 1999 movie Cruel Intentions.
Yes, I love Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair!
Creating this assocation, might lead you to think about other people’s intentions. It could also lead you to connect intentions with negative feelings.
As in, when getting to know someone: Is their intention to get to know you because they are a genuine person? Or, are their intentions different? Is their intention to gather information to use against you? The second could be put into the classification of cruel intentions.
Side note, not gonna lie here. I have certainly met people who I initially thought were well-intentioned people. Only to find out they were be nice to me for the wrong reasons. No fun. So, I’ve had to learn to use more discretion when meeting people and remember not everyone has the same intentions as me. Let this serve as a reminder for you to do the same!
Be Intentional in Taking Actionable Steps
Intentions, in a sense, are a way of being deliberate in your actions. If you’d like to build a successful business as an entrepreneur, you will need to be intentional with your actions to achieve your goals.
On the other hand, if you are not intentional in your desire to build a successul business, you may be upset to find you do not achieve all the goals you set for yourself.
In other words, you can think of setting your intentions as the first actionable step toward achieving your goals.
“Intention is more than wishful thinking—it’s willful direction.”Jennifer Williamson
Here’s Why you Need to Ditch New Year’s Resolutions and Set Intentions Instead
Now, I realize we are about to enter the New Year. And, this often means people commit themselves to New Year’s Resolutions.
Raising hand, this used to be me. However, last year I had a realization. By setting a New Year’s Resolution it just pittles away as the excitement of the new year wears off. For many people, this is right around January 2nd. Haha, maybe I’m being a little dramatic here.
Seriously though, most New Year’s Resolutions fail by the end of January. Not to mention, just the idea of New Year’s Resolutions can leave a bad taste in many people’s mouths. I might be speculating here, but I think it could be a result of the huge number of failed New Year’s Resolutions. This article reports a whopping 80% of resolutions fail by the start February.
To break this cycle, let’s focus our efforts on setting intentions instead of New Year’s Resolutions.
Let’s get started, write this down on a piece of paper or in a (digital?) notebook:
– This year, I am setting my intention to be more deliberate in my actions to manifest my wildest dreams.
Side Tracked for a Moment – in the Form of a Story.
I’ll be totally honest here, my ADHD may have gotten the best of me while writing this blog post. While my intention is to help you to improve your life through intention setting… I felt as though I needed to lead by example on this one. This resulted in my going down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out my own intentions.
Since it is near the end of 2020, it only seems appropriate to set my intentions for what I would like to accomplish in the coming year.
Uh, for reasons as stated above, we are not going to call these intentions “New Year’s Resolutions.” I don’t want to taint the waters of intention setting by using it interchangeably with resolutions.
That said, I sat down with my friend Krista to talk through the millions of thoughts running through my mind for what I’d like to accomplish in the future. At times, it can feel overwhelming with the sheer number of ideas and thoughts I had running through my mind. It was as if a rainstorm was dumping random thoughts all over the place in no logical order. To organize the chaotic thoughts running through my mind, I decided to write my thoughts down on post-it notes.
As someone obsessed with amassing countless school/office supplies, it would only make sense to use this as an opportunity to bust out all my favorite colored post-it notes. Thus giving me an excuse to buy new post-it notes!
As I transferred the thoughts to post-it notes, I could start to see a clear way to organize all my ideas. There were three main categories that imerged: New products, website, and marketing. I placed the various post-it notes within the related category to help me organize everything.
While looking at the piles of post-it notes, I started to see a theme. My intentions were pointing toward a new beginning starting with organization. And, one word came to mind: Action.
The process reminded me of a quote…
“Everything that happens in the Universe begins with intention.”Deepak Chopra
By organizing my thoughts and ideas, identifying a theme, and focusing on action, I am creating space to manfiest my goals with the help of the Universe. The next step will be to follow through with action and trust everything will unfold as intended. That means, no forcing things to happen. Instead, it is a matter allowing the process to unfold.
Breaking Down the Steps of Setting Intentions
Before we dive into intentions, we need to work through a couple of things first.
- Center yourself. No, not in the sense of being selfish. Rather, calming your mind and body. It is helpful to ensure you are in a peaceful state before you dive into setting intentions.
- For myself, this means engaging in a meditation. If you are strapped for time, Deepak Chopra has a great 3-minute meditation available on YouTube. Once you have entered a state of calm/relaxation by centering yourself, you can take the next step.
- Deepak Chopra’s meditation app (Chopra) is my favorite way to meditate.
- Feelings. Check-in with yourself about how you have been feeling lately. Answer this question, over the past month, what sort of feelings have you had? Is this in alignment with how you want to feel? Or, is something off? After checking in with your feelings, it is time to think about how you want to feel.
- Gratitude. Reflect back on all the things you are grateful for – today, this week, this month, and/or this year.
- As discussed in my gratitude blog post, you do not have to have major life milestones in order to be grateful. The simple fact that you woke up today is something to be grateful for. If you struggle to list more than 10 gratitudes right now, I suggest putting aside your desire to set your intentions right now and focus on upping your gratitude game.
- You can be grateful for surviving a global pandemic for 9 months! You are fortunate simply because you are able to think about setting intentions for your future.
- You can be grateful for things you do not already have in this moment.
“Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the Universe.”Neale Donald Walsh
Now that you have done the prep-work, it is time to carefully think through your intentions. However, it is important to make sure you do not hold yourself back with this one.
Setting Your Intentions
When thinking through this part, imagine you are able to do anything imaginable without the restrictions or limitations of society – money, time, support, etc…
Write down as many things you can. Then, review this list and highlight the three intentions that speak to you the most. It is likely they are the first things you wrote down, unless you were limiting yourself (eh, hem, I’m totally guilty of this one).
Reminder: Keep a positive focus here! Remove the negatives or words you do not want. The Universe does not hear the negative words. For example, if you want a mild winter and no snow — the Universe will not acknowledge the “no” in front of the snow. So, it is as if you are focusing on snow.
- Let go. There is a desire by humans to control our world. This means, we try to control the outcomes of our dreams. However, the Universe is in charge. So, it is time for you to let go of your death grip of trying to force things from happening. Seriously. Letting go is key!
- Belief. In order to acheive what you want, you must believe it is possible! I know it might see a little out there, or woo-woo, but it is 100% the truth. The only person holding you back is yourself. What do you need to believe to be true?
A Few Affirmation Statements
- It is okay for me to have everything I want.
- What I seek is seeking me.
- I am open and ready to accept abundance into my life.
- I am ready for change.
Inspiring Quotes to Keep Your Intentions on Track
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”— Elon Musk
“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” ― Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life
“It is not good enough for things to be planned – they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation.” — Walt Kelly
“Every journey begins with the first step of articulating the intention, and then becoming the intention.” ― Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason
“Dare to dream! If you did not have the capability to make your wildest wishes come true, your mind would not have the capacity to conjure such ideas in the first place. There is no limitation on what you can potentially achieve, except for the limitation you choose to impose on your own imagination. What you believe to be possible will always come to pass – to the extent that you deem it possible. It really is as simple as that.” ― Anthon St. Maarten