If you’re here, chances are you’ve heard of intention setting and are curious about how it works.
Can it really affect your life or is it just an ineffective self-soothing?
The good news is that setting intentions is a science-backed way to support good mental health.
Additionally, people who commit to the practice are more likely to set and achieve SMART goals.
Want to get in on the action?
If so, read on—because today we’re unpacking the ins and outs of setting intentions for the day.
What are positive intentions?
Positive intentions are assertions made in the morning that guide you through the next 24 hours.
The goal is to solidify the desired outcome, and the operative word is positive.
The word “intend” is powerful. In contrast to “plan” or “try”, “intention” announces a certainty of action, which is supported by a firm motivation.
Ideally, intentions should not be rooted in negativity. It’s important to say what you will do rather than what you won’t do.
For example, don’t say, “I’m not going to be lazy today,” say, “Today I want to be active and work hard.”
In practice, setting intentions helps:
Tell your subconscious what you want. Stay optimistic. Align your best intentions and actions. Encourage self-confidence. Eliminate self-doubt
Ultimately, maintaining a daily intention-setting practice is a tool that will help you stay focused, engaged, and optimistic.
What are the benefits of using Daily Intentions?
Many people scoff when presented with the idea of incorporating intention setting into their daily routine. That sounds silly, they chide — and some may dismiss the idea as New Age mumbo-jumbo.
In a way, they have a point. Setting intentions is not a magic formula in and of itself. You can’t just think of something you want, and POOF, it happens. Setting intentions takes effort. It’s a mental tool that allows you to focus on what matters most.
However, statistically, people who set daily goals are more likely to achieve their goals and enjoy better mental health.
The science is complicated, but suffice it to say that human neural pathways respond to thoughts. The more you think about something, the clearer the neural pathways associated with it become.
Essentially, we are what we believe in – and that’s not just a pithy statement; it is a scientific reality.
Because of the connection between neuroplasticity and mental health, intention setting has numerous benefits, including:
Mindfulness support Improved focus Improved harmony with the world and those around you Better professional and personal alignment Improved confidence and positivity Improved ability to subvert perceived limitations and self-doubt
How to set personal resolutions for the day
We’ve discussed what positive intentions are and why they’re useful. Now let’s unpack how to set one for the day.
1. Start with a stretch
A lot of people skip this part, but it’s a critical part of the process. Not only does stretching feel great, but it also opens up your energy meridians and releases endorphins.
Stretching is a great way to start the day. Don’t worry about yoga poses if you are a beginner. Start with what feels comfortable. Raise your arms towards the sky; try touching your toes (but don’t stress if you can’t); lean to the side.
Bonus tip: set a three-minute alarm. It’s long enough for a good stretch, but short enough to quickly kickstart your morning routine.
2. Tune into your intuition
The next step in setting intentions is to tune into your intuition. Listening to your gut is often a good thing. Essentially, your intuition is a signal from your higher self, so listen to what it says.
Some days are better suited to certain things than others, and your intuition will guide you on that front.
Bonus tip: Try a few intuitional affirmations for greatness. For example: “I plan to spend 15 minutes with my family this morning before I go to work.”
3. Find synergy between goals and intuition
Now it’s time to think about your goals. Whatever intention you set for the day, you should consider your intuition and your life goals.
Are you working on building your self-esteem? Compassion? Focus?
Once you’ve figured that out, choose an intention that aligns with both your gut and your goals.
Bonus tip: Get ideas down on paper. It can be helpful to see everything written down.
4. Set your intention
It’s time to set your intention. Pick one that feels most fertile for the day and say it out loud three times. If you have the time, write about it or do a 10-minute meditation to let it sink in.
If you figure out your intention before you shower, think about it while you cleanse yourself in the morning and communicate the purpose of the day to the rest of your body.
Bonus tip: the more you think about an idea, the more likely your brain is to accept it as fact. So try to focus as much as possible on your positive intention in the morning to “set the form”.
35 intentions for the day to empower you
Looking for examples of intentions? Below is a list of 35 options. Some can work for you; others maybe not. Take what resonates and leave the rest.
Today I plan to:
1. Be my authentic, generous, compassionate, awesome self.
2. Do the best I can with the information I have.
3. Be humble and listen before I speak.
4. Practice compassion instead of skepticism and judgment.
5. Believe in myself and don’t listen to naysayers.
6. Follow my action plan to the “T”.
7. Look for opportunities to grow and learn when I fail.
8. Let go of what I cannot control and take responsibility for my thoughts and actions.
9. Remind me that everyone has an inner workings that I know nothing about.
10. Try new things no matter how anxious I may be.
11. Prioritize love over everything.
12. Honor my feelings, good or bad.
13. Live like I’m a badass who knows without a shred of shame.
14. Be kind and gentle – to myself.
15. Stay true to my values and beliefs whether I’m with others or alone.
16. Set my own expectations instead of other people’s.
17. Do the hard work of facing my mistakes.
18. Exercise patience and try to learn from everyone I come in contact with.
19. Meditate, be mindful and remove myself from clutter.
20. Allow me the rest I need.
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21. Confidently asking for a salary commensurate with my performance.
22. Look up the sunny side of the road.
23. Standing up for myself because I deserve respect.
24. Believe in the fact that I am enough.
25. Let the little things slide — because, in the grand scheme of things, everything is small.
26. Encourage my friends, family and colleagues.
27. Ignore what doesn’t serve me.
28. Be proud of me.
29. Go without apologies in my power.
30. Making someone I love smile.
31. Pay attention to my higher self rather than my inner critic.
32. Hold on to every ounce of happiness and joy that comes my way.
33. Act like I’ve already achieved my goals.
34. Prioritize my sanity by balancing my schedule.
35. Be thankful for the little joys that life constantly gives us.
How to create your own positive intentions
You can use pre-made intentions or develop your own to fit your goals and situation exactly.
As? It’s easy.
First, think about your goals and objectives. As you set an intention for the day, focus on short-term goals. Try taking 10 minutes to create a brainstorming journal entry. Think about the day ahead and what you want to achieve – personally, emotionally or professionally. Once you have a handle on where you want your day to go, how you want to feel, and what you want to work on, start writing a few words that align with those goals. Finally, make a statement of 5 to 15 words and write it out three times to set the mood.
Throughout the day, if you feel you are drifting from your intention, repeat the words in your head.
This will end ruminations rearing their evil heads and keep you in the game.
Making a list of daily intentions is a simple and effective way to supercharge your life.
There’s no harm in trying, but if you don’t try, you may be missing out on a simple mindfulness tool that could significantly change your life for the better. Give it a week and see where it takes you.