Intention setting is empowering. The purpose of an intention is to help focus your behavior on working towards the things that bring you joy, achievement and fulfillment. Start by working on your focus, then turn that focus into specific intentions.
It's important to know what you want. If you don’t have goals, it’s impossible to work towards a larger objective. If you don’t know where to start, get more in tune with how you feel and how you respond to things. This will help you develop a sense for what's important to you. You are your brand. Once you determine what’s important to you, you will know where to focus your energy every day through intent. Whether it’s professional or personal, as you begin the New Year focus on intention and not resolution.
Have a notebook, journal, stack of paper or your iPhone? Find a quiet space and start jotting your thoughts and notes down. Perhaps pick a time of the day where you can write your notes down daily. You begin to set your intentions by writing down what it is that you want to accomplish. For this to work well, it’s important that you write down what you wish to achieve on a daily basis. Measuring and evaluating your impact is important too. Follow through with your intentions by referring to them and using them to guide your thoughts and plans daily.
A resolution or a goal is focused on an achieved outcome. Examples may include learning a new skill, exercising, or learning a new trade. For example, "eat less" is a resolution. Your intention might be "I'm going to treat my body better." Treating your body better may lead to eating less, but that's not the ultimate goal, necessarily. An intention can be how you want to feel for the day or simply what you'd like to get out of the day, such as "I want to be thankful for the good things that happen today."
While you can still set goals, use intentions to frame those goals in a more positive way that helps you stick with it day-to-day. For example, if you would like to learn a new skill, you might say, "I intend to be open to learning, criticism, and anything that helps me grow and master my skill."
Set intentions for the month, the week, and the day. Focus is important in the short-term and in the long-term. Setting monthly intentions helps you look at the big picture while setting daily intentions lets you live in the moment and be present. For instance, it’s the start of a new year, you might set a monthly goal like "I intend to begin the new year with self-care while I seek out time with my friends and family." A weekly intention might be, "I intend to remember people who are less fortunate this week and reach out to those in need." A daily intention might be, "I intend to stop taking things personally."
Keep your intentions short and to the point. Your intention shouldn't be more than a sentence long and it should be positive. Make it concise so you can remember it easily and to the point so you can focus on the outcome. If your intention is to reduce stress, say something like, “My intention is to invite peace and calm within myself today.” Try to avoid saying something like, “I will stop stressing.”
Refer back to your intention throughout the day. Carry it around on a piece of paper in your pocket or write it somewhere you'll see it often. You can even email it to yourself or make it a daily calendar invite/reminder which will cause you to pause. The more you're reminded of your intention, the more likely you are to be mindful of the choices you make. Setting positive intentions can help you gain clarity, connect to your purpose, and stay focused on what matters most.