Want to change your life? Start with an intention.
It’s the third week of January, which means many people are about to start giving up on their New Year’s resolutions. And who can blame them? Keeping resolutions is hard. For one thing people tend to set unrealistic goals for themselves, or they neglect to formulate concrete action plans to get them there. It’s also impractical to dive head-first into and maintain a brand new healthy lifestyle at the stroke of midnight—especially when the previous weeks were spent mostly eating and drinking fat and sugar. If you feel like you’re about to fall off the wagon, or if you want to lead a more positive and productive life in general, consider setting daily intentions instead.
What are intentions?
Intentions are similar to goals, in some ways. They both focus on a desire and they both motivate you to channel your energy into that desired outcome. However, where goals tend to highlight what you’re lacking, intentions concentrate on your attitude and your impact on the people around you. Your goal, for instance, might be to communicate better with your spouse. If you transformed that goal into an intention it would sound more like: “I intend to give my full attention to my spouse and be more receptive and open in communicating with her/him.” As you can see intentions empower you by determining the specific mindset you need to create positive change in your life.
Intentions can improve your life
The beauty about intentions is that you can apply one to pretty much anything. Whether you want to do better at your job, feel differently about your child’s new significant other, or travel the world, intentions can help you achieve success. Intentions are also effective because by focusing on your attitude they reveal what you can do here and now to make a difference. In other words intentions guide you toward the attitude you need to achieve your goals. The fact that they are also phrased positively is doubly motivating.
How to set an intention
There is no right or wrong way to set an intention. Just do what feels natural, keeping in mind your intentions will work best if they are phrased positively and can be worked on over time. Some people set one intention first thing in the morning or right before bed, others create several intentions throughout the day. How you do it is up to you, but it helps to start with “I intend to…” and then describe your objective. Here are some examples:
- I intend to be more patient and forgiving.
- I intend to be mindful of how my body feels.
- I intend to be an attentive and observant driver.
- I intend to be more open to feedback and criticism at work.
More advice for your life
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Also published on Medium.