How to Set Powerful Intentions for 2024Dec 19, 2022
You may not know what your intentions are, but they're there. They're guiding you through life. Discover how to identify them and align yourself with them.
What are Intentions?
Setting intentions is one of the most powerful tools we have to change our lives.
Everything begins with intention. When I decide to buy a birthday present, wiggle my toes, or call a friend, it all starts with intention.
In terms of yearly goal setting, An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to show up in your everyday life.
As Chopra says “Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.”
- Intentions can be both large (think: lifelong) and small (think: for the next day or even the next hour).
- Intentions are rooted in how you want to live your life moment by moment, day by day, year by year.
- Intentions make you reflect and ask yourself what matters most to you? How do you want to show up each day? For yourself. For your Family. For your community. For the world.
- Intentions help to guide your actions, your thoughts and your responses as you move throughout your day
An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to show up in your everyday life.
It is rooted in how you want to live your life moment by moment, day by day, year by year.
Intentions make you reflect and ask yourself what matters most to you? How do you want to show up each day? For yourself. For your Family. For your community. For the world.
Intentions help to guide your actions, your thoughts and your responses as you move throughout your day
Why create intentions?
So what exactly is intention setting and what does it mean to set your intentions?
Intention setting is the very first step in everything we do, in every goal we want to achieve.
When you create an intention that is grounded in your core values, you take a powerful first step in creating momentum in your life.
When you set your intentions, you are laying the foundation for what you would like to have in your life - for how you would like to feel, and the experiences you want to have versus being a passive participant in your life. In other words, shutting off the ‘auto-pilot’ button and taking control of your destiny.
Everyone tells you to set goals… but if you are newer to this process of setting life goals - often we create goals we think we “should” create
We set these ‘goals’ that may be not really aligned with what we need in our life at the moment, or we set them because we don’t know what else to set…
then we get down on ourselves when they fall to the wayside and we find ourselves still holding on to those pounds 12 months later, we are still in the same relationship that we are uncertain we want to be in anymore, we are still at that same job….
So let’s dive into Intentions versus Goals, so I can help you differ them both.
**Disclaimer** - I am not saying we do not need to have goals in our lives… I create both intentions and goals for my life - but when looking at my overall PERSONAL life and yearly plan, I always set Intentions. Then I create more actionable goals related to more materialistic things I want to achieve in my life.
Intentions vs goals
An Intention should not be confused with a goal. An intention is how you want to align your life versus something you attach an expectation or evaluation to.
Let me say that again…
An intention is how you want to align your life versus something you attach an expectation or evaluation to.
Intentions for your life are based on who you want to be, how you want to show up… and something you are proud to commit to.
So to help you differentiate goals versus intentions
- Are always future focused.
- They often focus on a materialist destination or tangible achievement.
- They create self imposed deadlines, expectations and measurements of what "success" looks like.
Goals are great for certain wants and desires in life, however they often leave us feeling guilty, unworthy or feelings of being ‘bad’ if we do not achieve the exact target or timeline we had set.
Even if we came very close or achieved our goals, it is easy to get stuck in our self-depreciating inner dialogue that puts our choices and actions into ‘wining’ and “losing’ categories. They are a reward based system which often leave us feeling empty after we get that ‘prize’.
- Keep you focused on the present.
- They do not emit deadlines, pressure or a ‘winning or losing’ mindset.
- They keep us aligned with our core values and what really matters in life.
Intentions allow you to be in the present moment. To make conscious decisions moment by moment in how you are choosing to show up each day.
Intentions are intertwined into who you are and who you want to be versus what you want.
Intentions are about who you want to be in our world, how you want to contribute to your family, community and self.
Intentions focus on positive impact, daily moments, choices and actions. They keep you grounded while allowing you to grow.
Intentions vs actions
I often find that when people think of setting intentions they feel it is too ‘woowoo’ or ‘mystical’. They believe that intentions do not work as well as they are not SMART goals.
The thing is if created and used properly intentions actually help you take more action, than SMART goals do.
And let’s be honest… if you are here reading this, mostly likely there is some area of your life where you have created SMART goals over and over and over again, yet still don’t achieve them….
… and hey, there is no judgment here…
This is why I set out to create another way of doing it.
Because I was sick and tired of not meeting the goals I wanted in life.
However, once I took this approach, I was able to get so much clarity on WHAT I wanted and WHAT I needed to do to get it (without all the self-imposed pressure that comes with goal setting).
Intentions are what I mentioned above… they are soul-connected statements and decisions you have made on how you want to show up in your everyday life. They are rooted in how you want to live your life moment by moment, day by day, year by year.
Whereas Action… well action is actually doing what you said… it is deciding in advance of who want to be and what decisions you need to make in order to be that person.
Setting intentions does not mean you just set it and forget it… There will be action on your part after setting intentions. However, when you take this action it is going to be so much more aligned with your intuition and the core of who you are - versus some superficial goals that you struggle to keep.
Intentions vs Affirmations
The other thing I hear is that intentions are affirmations… I am here to dispel this.
Affirmations are powerful phrases that people use to help them focus on what they want in life. They are a tool in your self-development tool kit, however, unfortunately, affirmations do not work ALONE.
I believe in using affirmations, however often people take affirmations from other people, they create affirmations that are not aligned with what they really want and then they get discouraged after saying them over and over again without seeing the results of what they are ‘affirming’
Whereas, intentions go so much deeper into who you are as an individual and how you want to show up in life. Yes, they are like you mantra, however, they are deeper than an affirmation.
After doing the work and setting intentions properly, they are your internal compass on how you want to be each day while still moving towards your dream future (not your Mom’s, friends or co-workers - YOURS).
Want to learn how to create powerful Intentions? Grab my step by step method to setting intentions and creating the life you desire today with my free intention setting workbook
How do you create intentions?
So how do you set an intention?
There are different ways to create your intentions. You can create them daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly.
I often do the broad overview for my year by setting yearly intentions on how I want to show up in the year ahead. If you need help with this download my FREE INTENTION SETTING WORKBOOK for your step-by-step process. Trust me, your future self is thanking you.
But if you are not ready to commit to the full process and are just dubbing your toes into the thought of making intentions… in general, here are some tips to get you started.
Reflect on how you want to show up everyday
If you're looking to improve yourself, there's no better place to start than with your intentions. What do you want out of life? Do you want more money? More love? A healthier body? A happier family? Whatever it is, write down your goals. Then, think about how you want to show yourself up every day. Melissa Eisler, has some great starting prompts for setting intentions:
- What matters most to you?
- What would you like to build, create, or nurture in your life?
- What would you like to let go of?
- Who would you like to forgive in your life?
- How do you feel when you are your happiest self?
- What makes you proud?
- What word(s) would you like to align yourself with?
- What fears would you like to release?
- What are you grateful for?
- What are your wildest dreams?
Align it with your Personal Core Values
I speak about this a lot. If you do not know your personal core values, then you are doing yourself a dis-service. Grounding your intentions in your personal core values is the fundamentals of intentional living. If you do not know your core values check out my Core Values Post here- or opt into my free Core Values Worksheet!
You want to ensure that your intention statement reflects who you really are as a person. If you're not aligned with your own values, then you won't be able to follow through on them.
Seriously… if you cannot name off your 4 top core values right now… then download this resource as well.
Attach your Intention to Your Identity
Creating intentions based on the identities you hold in life, versus the areas of life is a game changer. When you are able to define exactly how you want to show up as a Parent, as an Entrepreneur or as a Friend, you create a powerful anchor to connect your intentions to. Not sure how to do this… well Let me show you how in my free intention setting worksheet… click here.
Create an Intention Statement for your Identity
An intention statement is a simple sentence that describes how you want to show up each day. It should be short, sweet, and clear. Here's an example: "I will be a present and mindful Mother and Spouse, so I raise emotionally resilient children.”
Write it down
Write down your intentions in a special manifesting journal or intentions journal. A place where you hold all your hopes and dreams….
Need some ideas on how to write intentions? Check out my free Intention Setting Worksheet HERE!
When to Set Intentions
Really, you can set an intention at any time.
But obviously, the beginning of something new is always a great time. For example you can set an intention:
- At the beginning of a new year
- On your birthday
- After a big life transition (going to school, moving, getting a divorce, empty-nest)
- When a new month or season begins (spring and fall are great for this!)
- Some people like to set intentions on a new moon or on a full moon
- And others like to set a daily intention or a a weekly intention
Honestly it really depends on how you want to do it…
I personally set overall yearly intentions… Then I check in weekly on what I am going to focus on.
Some people also like to incorporate different tools for the intention setting process.
I personally love to create a vision board each year after I create my intentions. I create a vision board both for my yearly intentions as well as my life vision.
People also like to set intentions with crystals, use an intentions journal (or manifesting journal) or even get an intentions bracelet - like these amazing ones here!
I hope this post was helpful in understanding how to create your intentions.
Honestly, creating intentions is such a powerful tool in your self-development toolkit.
As you move through life, learning the powerful practice of intention setting will help you achieve your goals and live the life you desire.
As Ritchie Norton Said perfectly:
Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others' choices make us.
Want more tips on intentional living? Check out these articles below:
Also, if you are ready to change your life by setting powerful intentions - remember to grab my free intention setting workbook. I promise, no spam... just information on how you can live a more intentional, present and joyful life.
To your Best Life,
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Discover how to set intentions that actually work. Grab my FREE identity-based goal setting framework below.