Everything begins with an intention. The practice of setting intentions is about becoming conscious of the thoughts you think and how they guide your journey. Through intention-setting, you can live the heart-centered life you’ve always dreamed of.
Every thought you think helps to create the life you live. As David O. Mckay puts it “Your thoughts are the architects of your destiny.” If you think to yourself, all I want to do is make it through this day, then that is likely what you do. If you set the intention to thrive and create new opportunities, you’ll find that this is the life you begin to create.
Through conscious intention-setting, you can create the beautiful life you deserve.
What are Intentions?
Simply put, an intention is a principle that comes from the heart and gives you a path to follow. Committing to an intention serves as a guide that points you in the right direction. Setting an intention is the first step to embodying the person you want to be and to living the life you want to live.
Intentions differ from goals in that there is no attachment to a specific outcome or result. They help to align your life with your values, rather than encouraging you to strive for a set outcome in the external world.
If you look at your material desires, you’ll discover that each one holds within it a feeling that you desire. When you think you’re seeking something externally, it’s experiencing a particular feeling internally that you want.
For example, if one of your goals is to own a house, the underlying feeling you’re seeking may be safety and security. Understanding that this feeling is what you desire can help you to find fulfillment, as there are usually many ways to bring a feeling into your life.
At their heart, intentions are a tool that can help you build the life you desire.
Overall, Intention setting is a broad term and can mean different things to different people. These steps are how I’ve used this practice in my life, but there are many nuances to setting intentions. Follow your heart and find what works for you. The most important part of this practice is to help you align with your values to create a life you love.
Why Should I Set Intentions?
Without even realizing it, you set intentions all the time. Everything you’ve ever done, from getting out of bed to getting a job to buying groceries, began as a thought in your head. You may be thinking you want to save money, start doing yoga every day, or being more mindful, and those would all be an intention as well.
However, many people fail when setting intentions because they don’t stick with them. If you casually think a thought a few times, it’s technically an intention, but you’ve given it so little time or energy that it remains only a seed of an idea.
That’s why it’s so important to get clear on what you want and intentionally give your energy, thoughts, and time to creating it. Setting heartfelt intentions can help you discover passion, purpose, and fulfillment. They act as a guide on your journey to living in alignment with what’s important to you.
Setting an intention is the first step to creating the life you want to live. An intention helps you get clear on your desires and send them out into the universe.
They also give you a path to follow towards a desired feeling or quality. Instead of wandering blindly, you have a point you can refer back to. Along the way, you can ask yourself, ‘is this action or thought aligned with my intentions?’
When to Set Intentions
You can set intentions at anytime that best serves you. Here I’ll talk about some common times you can bring intention-setting into your life.
I find daily intention-setting to be a powerful practice. Each morning I take a few moments for stillness and allow whatever is in my heart to become my intention for the day. Typically, as they are as simple as ‘living authentically’, ‘finding softness in discipline,’ or ’embrace surrender’.
For me, these daily intentions aren’t about creating a to-do list but finding and embodying certain qualities in my daily life.
I used to keep a small notebook for writing my intentions in, but I recently started bullet journaling and now have a page where I write my intention for each day that month. No matter how you choose to ‘store’ them, I think being able to look back over the days, weeks, or months and see how your intentions came to fruition is a beautiful practice. It can help remind you both to be grateful and guide you to see the ways that your intentions have come into reality.
While I don’t think intentions will always create exactly what you think you want, I have found that they usually come up one way or the other. They might be answered in ways that seem unconventional at first or in ways that you may not even recognize.
These realizations are why it’s essential to trust the process. When you reflect on your intentions, you’ll see how some of those things that didn’t seem to go your way sent you off on a beautiful, new path. Finding gratitude in this way has been a powerful practice that has helped me accept and appreciate many facets of my life.
For weekly intention-setting, I recommend picking a day of the week to create time to check in with yourself, journal, and tune into your heart’s desires for the coming week. I find Sunday evening is a lovely time for this, but pick a time and day that best works for you.
Another time you can set intentions is at the beginning of the month, or on the day or night of a new moon or full moon. I usually practice meditation and do an oracle card or tarot reading to get inspired to create my intention for the months ahead.
For more on tarot cards, check out this article I wrote on creating a spiritual self-care routine.
Yearly Intention Setting
While setting New Year’s resolutions is a common practice, I’ve found creating New Year’s intentions instead is a practice that resonates more with me. Intentions differ from resolutions in that there is no set outcome to achieve.
To create an intention for the year, I usually pick one main word that I can use to inspire me the whole year. In 2020 I chose the word ‘surrender’, which turned out to be very fitting. This year I’ve chosen ‘authenticity’ and I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve recognized so far to practice this quality.
How to Set Intentions
Now that you understand what intentions are and what they can do for you, here is a practice for setting intentions from the heart.
Connect to Your Heart Space
Start your intention-setting by finding a calm, slow state. I’ll include a little meditation I wrote that helps me get into a heartfelt space of contentment and gratitude.
Sit somewhere comfortable where you can relax and remain undisturbed.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let your thoughts drift to something that you enjoy. It can be a hobby, a person, a pet, a favorite meal, or anything you are grateful for. Allow your heart to be filled with joy and gratitude for this experience that you hold dear.
When you are ready, open your eyes, and keep this feeling fresh in your mind. Come back to it as you create your intentions.
Beginning with gratitude is important because it helps get you into a positive mindset. Start by listing a few things you’re grateful for. Coming from a place of gratitude inspires heartfelt intentions based on love instead of fear or lack.
Connecting with Your Values and Heartfelt Desires
Next, take a few minutes to reflect and get clear on your values and desires. Here are a few journals prompts to get you started:
-If you could have anything in the universe, what would you want?
-What does a day in your dream life’ look like?
-What does your ideal self look like? Describe their qualities and personality.
-How would you like to feel on a daily basis?
-Look at your material desires. What are the feelings you desire hiding beneath them?
-How else could the feelings you desire manifest themselves in your life?
Use your answers to these questions to guide your intentions.
Create Your Intention
When intention-setting, allow what’s in your heart to come forth. Intentions can be as simple or complex as your heart desires, so listen to your intuition and don’t overthink it. After choosing an intention for the day, month or year, I like to speak it aloud and write it down in my bullet journal. You can also keep a small notebook you use just for intentions or anything else that works for you.
Trust Your Path
After you’ve set your intention, let it go. Allow it to guide you on your path without feeling anxious or questioning yourself. If you do find yourself thinking negative or doubtful thoughts about your intention, use this as an opportunity to reflect upon limiting beliefs or practice gratitude.
Take Inspired Action
An intention can only transform your life so much if you aren’t willing to help. Be open to receive your heart’s guidance and listen to your intuition to discover the opportunities waiting for you. As you move through life, come back to your intention.
Your intention is your guide that will help you on your path to living an aligned, beautiful life.
These steps are the basic formula I use for creating heart-centered intentions. Each step serves a purpose to connect you with your true self and to help you build the life you desire.
There are many tools to combine with intention-setting. You may want to check out how to build a crystal grid or crystals for manifestation. I also have a free intention-setting workbook you can receive by filling out the form on the right side of this web page, or beneath this article.
Over the years, intention-setting has transformed my life. Not only has it helped me actively create the life I dreamed of, but it also taught me how to find acceptance and gratitude for things that didn’t seem to be working out for me and helped me to tune into and trust my intuition.
I hope you’ve gained inspiration and knowledge on how to set intentions, start your intention-setting practice, and begin transforming your life today.
Thank you for being here,