Setting an Intention

I first heard of setting an intention during a yoga class several years back. The instructor asked us to think of and set an intention for our practice that morning. I did not fully understand, so I brushed past it and decided to set a goal of simply getting through the class, as sustained yoga poses are not entirely my forte. Had I known what an intention was, I may have been able to notice some beautiful moments of awareness, clarity, or love throughout that day that I otherwise had missed.

So, what is an intention, and how do you set one? An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to be, live, or show up in the world. It can be a mental state you want to cultivate in your life or a habit you would like to foster better. It is different than a goal in that intentions do not have specific outcomes that are easily quantified. I think of intentions as being a bit softer, but not any less powerful, than goals. Intentions can allow us to live in a more *intentional*, mindful, and in-alignment way.


When we set an intention, whether it's for the day, the week, or the year ahead, the aim is to then carry that seed with us, and the more we stay with the intention and keep it in our field of awareness, the easier and quicker the seed will grow, weaving its way into our life.


Examples of intentions can include ~

Be present in the current moment.

Listen to my intuition and let it guide me.

Stay open to new possibilities.

Share kindness with the people I interact with today.

Embrace changes as they arise.

Be organized and intentional with my work.


Intentions are more powerful when they come from a centered place of being rather than from an anxious mind or a mind that is living through the values of others. So before getting started, take a few deep, calming breaths. Then ask yourself:

  1. What matters most today? What matters most this week?

  2. What does your heart long for? What is the inner child within you needing? Time, love, support, guidance?

  3. What do you want to see more of? Beauty, wonder, love, acts of kindness?

  4. How do you want to show up in the world today? Calm, focused, patient, accepting, open-minded, gentle, confident?

  5. What do you want to do more of? Pause to breathe, enjoy your environment, listen more intently to others, or focus on one task at a time?


Write your intentions down on a piece of paper, note card, or sticky note, and place it where you will return to it throughout the day (your desk, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, car, etc.). Allow this written intention to bring your focus back to the day. Perhaps you can share your intention with someone else if it feels right. It may inspire them to escape their circling thoughts, set an intention, and drop into a more mindful state of awareness.



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