What is Intention Setting?
I get this question a lot … what is intention setting? People tell me they’ve heard it but, want to know what intention setting really means. Let’s explore!
What Led Me to Discovering Intention Setting
First, let me begin by telling you that for many years the concept of intentional living or having a daily intention setting practice were not even on my radar. In hindsight, I can see that I was very much trapped in a stress loop and operating on autopilot.
As many of you know, I got sober in February 2012 (for more on that check out my talk: Overcoming Addiction) and it is that harrowing journey that taught me this practice. I didn’t even know it had a name – I just knew that as I cobbled it together, it really helped.
In my recovery, I realized how much energy I was putting into numbing out life and to my own self-destruction. Next, I began to wonder what might happen if I used my energy for good and for creating a life I really enjoyed? I also decided that I wanted to know deep joy in my life because, if I was going to all the trouble to turn my life around, I wanted to be happy.
Intention setting has now become part of the fabric of my life. It is integrated into everything I do and I love having a morning intention setting ritual. That’s why I’m excited to share this with you.
What it Means to be Intentional
In the early days of my recovery, I had to take small, simple steps. I was learning a few things. First, I needed to be on my own side. Second, I could choose how I wanted to show up in the world and what I wanted to create. And finally, every small step made a difference and was building a strong new foundation.
With that said, to me, intentional living means we choose how we want to show up in the world and we take mindful and inspired action in alignment with those choices.
Instead of living on autopilot, we are conscious of our values, what kind of people we want to be and what kind of lives we want to create. We specifically choose to take steps that help us fufill this awesome purpose.
What Intention Should I Choose?
There are several ways that you can choose an intention:
Choose What’s in Your Heart
You may already know what intention you want to set. What intention would feel like living in alignment with the very best version of you? Or what do you want to create, cultivate or manifest for yourself? Choose your own intention.
Align with Your Values
You might want to choose an intention that aligns you with your values. If you know your Top 10 Values, journal about them and use these to create intentions. Not sure about this or where to start? Here is an awesome list of values to help you define your list from Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead book.
Choose an Intention Card
That’s what I create and I think it is a beautiful and simple tool to help us align with our intentions. Check out our awesome intention decks and find the right one for you. There are lots of great decks out there. Choose the one(s) that speak to you.
3 Foundational Intentions
I believe that there are 3 foundational intentions: love, kindness and gratitude. If you (or we) chose to live by one or all 3 of these, I know our lives and this world would be on the right track.
How Do I Set an Intention?
To break it down, I have a few intention setting rituals. This will give you an idea of places to start and making your own rituals (that align with your life and your dreams) is a great idea.
You can set an intention each morning, on special occasions (a birthday or anniversary for example), at the new year or any time that it feels necessary. For today’s blog post, we’re going to take a look at a morning intention setting practice.
Create Time for Yourself
It only needs to be a few moments but, set aside some time to ground and be with yourself. This quiet moment is a great chance to notice how you’re feeling, what’s going on in your life and connect with what you want to create.
Set an Intention for Yourself
Choose one of the ways offered in the previous section and choose what your intention for the day will be. Maybe you need to have an important conversation and this is your opportunity to think about how you want to show up.
Choose a Reminder
Choosing something to remind you of your intention is a great idea because it’s it will help you to re-centre during the day. Maybe it’s displaying the card you chose. For example, you could also choose: a crystal, a piece of jewelry, a scent, your phone wallpaper or any other small token that reminds you of your intention.
Look for Opportunities to be Intentional
When we create an intention, we will find lots of opportunities to practice! Be mindful and present. Look for opportunities to be intentional throughout your day. Be curious and play with this. It’s about being real and growing. It’s not about being perfect!
Create Time for Self-Reflection
At the end of the day, create some time to do something that feels restful and restorative. Reflect on your day. How were you intentional? What felt good? Is there something you can let go of? What will you do with a fresh start tomorrow and what are you grateful for?
Once you’ve been setting intentions for awhile, it becomes organic to your day and your self-care practices.
Simple Intention Setting Has a Cumulative Effect
Finally, I want to remind you that while this stuff can seem simple. The key is to do it. Things don’t have to be elaborate or complicated to yield big rewards. Take simple, consistent intentional steps and I can guarantee that you will see a profound cumulative effect over time.
One of my favourite quotes from Emily Dickinson is “forever is made of nows”. Don’t wait for another day. Connect with the person you want to be and the life you want to create right now – in this very moment. Keep consistently taking action aligned with the life you want to live and the world will open up to you. Experiencing a lot of joy is also an awesome side-effect.
Additional Intention Setting Resources
If you are looking to dive in a bit deeper, here are some additional resources.
Do you like to read? My Intentional Days book expands on what it means to be intentional, how to do it and also offers beautiful daily passages to inspire you.
Are you ready to roll your sleeves up and dive in? In that case, Intention Setting Workbook, is a thorough guide is creating intentions in 12 key aspects of your life.
Does a community and regular inspiration sound good? The May You Know Joy membership is an awesome gathering place for people on an intentional path. This is a subscription-based membership where you will enjoy an awesome group of people, daily guidance on creating your intention setting practice, monthly masterclasses, snail mail surprises and a whole lot more.
I wish you joy and abundance on your awesome intention setting journey!