As we roll into summertime, those New Year’s resolutions we set back in January can sometimes seem like a distant dream. If you’ve set goals or resolutions in the past and had trouble sticking to them, it’s usually not your goal that’s the problem. It might just mean that your goal was missing a crucial ingredient.
What is this crucial ingredient? Setting intentions to go along with your goals.
Setting intentions can be a remarkably powerful tool when it comes to creating change in our lives and moving towards the type of person we strive to be. In today’s blog post we’re going to explore exactly what it means to set intentions, how intentions differ from setting goals, and give you some steps and suggestions to help you create a powerful intention setting practice.
So What Exactly Does Setting Intention Mean?
If you Google the word “intention” you’ll get definitions like:
- An aim or a plan
- A goal one intends to accomplish or attain
- An objective or purpose
And while all of these definitions are correct, they are a little superficial. While setting an intention does indeed encompass having an aim or a purpose, it goes a little deeper than that. Setting an intention means making a decision – not just about a goal you’re pursuing, but about who you’re being in the moment as you move toward that goal.
Setting intention shifts the focus from an external goal you achieve and instead focuses on how you’re showing up, how you feel, and the energy that’s driving you.
Intentions Vs. Goals: What’s the Difference
Setting intentions differs from goals in the sense that intentions allow us to tap into our desires and intentionally decide who we want to be as we work towards our goals. Goals are results-focused and often have a very clear definition of when they have or haven’t been achieved. Goals often require a series of smaller bite-sized goals or baby steps that lead up to achieving the end objective.
Intentions on the other hand are, more or less, the energy or driving force behind each action step you take. While you don’t necessarily have to set both goals and intentions, they can go hand in hand and work beautifully together. Setting intentions can make executing the action steps to your goals much easier and much more enjoyable.
Think of your goals and intentions like a GPS for your life. Your goal is your endpoint destination and the clear route needed to get there. Your intentions allow you to choose how you want to experience your journey to your endpoint destination. You certainly don’t need intentions to reach your destination, but it can make you much more likely to follow through with actually getting there and make the “drive” much more enjoyable.
Setting intentions on their own or alongside your goals can have some incredible benefits for your life.
What Are the Benefits of Setting Intentions?
Setting intentions is incredibly empowering. It helps shift you from the passenger’s seat into the driver’s seat in your life. Setting intentions allows you to deliberately decide who you want to be, how you want to experience life, and how you want to feel.
One of the greatest benefits of setting intentions is that it brings you into the present moment. It helps you step into becoming and embodying the person who has the things you desire. Concentrating on who you’re being, makes it easier to follow through with the actions that it takes to achieve your goals and things you’re aspiring towards.
If you’re new to intention setting, that can sound a little confusing at first. So let’s look at a few examples of intentions you might set when it comes to your health and well-being.
Examples of Setting Intentions for Your Well-Being
Your health and well-being encompass many things. Your physical body, your relationships, your finances, and your environment – they are all pieces of the puzzle when it comes to your overall health. And setting intentions can work for literally any area of your life.
To paint a clearer picture of exactly what setting an intention is, let’s look at some examples of setting intentions based on a specific goal:
- Goal: I want to lose 20 pounds.
- Intention: I move my body in ways that I enjoy and nourish my body with healthy food.
- Goal: I want to feel less stressed and more energized throughout my day.
- Intention: I prioritize rest and relaxation, invite peace and calm into my life, and invest my energy into things that are aligned with the life I want to create.
- Goal: I want to have a better relationship with my husband and kids.
- Intention: I intend to be the kind of partner and parent that looks for ways to have fun, seeks out moments of connection, and offers unconditional love.
Do you see how intentions shift the focus from an external end goal and instead put the focus on you and how you’re showing up? This minor shift can make executing the action steps to achieve your goals exponentially easier and more enjoyable.
So how exactly do you go about setting intentions that actually work?
How Do You Start Setting Intentions?
If you’ve never set intentions before, it can feel awkward and uncertain. Or if you set intentions that don’t really resonate with you, they can be highly ineffective. So here are some tips to help you set your own powerful intentions and start deliberately creating your life:
Identify Your Goal or Desire
The first step to setting an intention is to clarify exactly what it is you want to achieve or shift in your life. Remember, goals and intentions serve as a sort of GPS for your life – so you’ve got to have an idea of where you want to go before you set out on your journey.
Your endpoint doesn’t always have to be some externally measurable outcome like losing 10 pounds or making a certain amount of money. It can be less tangible things like wanting to feel more connected, wanting to feel more vibrant and energized, or wanting to feel more confident.
It can be easy to get caught up in cliche goals or desires that we feel like we’re supposed to work towards. But unless it’s something you actually want, it can be easy to let goals and intentions fall by the wayside. So make sure your goal or desire is something you actually want to achieve or experience more of in your life.
Get Clear on WHO You Have to Be
Next, it’s crucial to brainstorm exactly what kind of person has what it is you’re seeking. What is that person thinking and doing? How do they move throughout their day? How do they react when things go sideways?
Get clear on the kind of person you have to embody and become to have, do, or be whatever it is you desire.
Keep it Simple
Once you’ve gotten clear on who it is you have to be, it’s time to create a simple intention to focus your energy on. Come up with a sentence or mantra that you can use to direct your focus and help you embody how you want to show up.
It’s also important to set your intentions in the present tense. It’s crucial to reinforce the fact that you are directing your focus on being a certain way in the here and now – not in some vague distant future.
Make it Believable and Attainable
Your brain is really smart. You’re not going to trick it into believing something or following through with something that it doesn’t even think is in the realm of possibility. That’s why oftentimes, far-fetched affirmations fall short.
If you’re setting intentions to be the kind of person who has a 6-pack, loves to work out, and doesn’t give in to indulgences, but you haven’t been to the gym in years and are in the habit of eating a pint of ice cream after dinner each evening – chances are, your brain is not going to buy into that intention. It’s simply not going to resonate and you’re going to have a very difficult time embodying those intentions.
But if instead, you set an intention to be the kind of person who prioritizes nourishing food, finds fun ways to move their body, and focuses on choosing what’s best for them not necessarily what they want in the moment – those are shifts your brain can likely see as believable and attainable. And if you believe that you’re actually capable of embodying your intention, you’re significantly more likely to actually follow through with them.
Keep it Top of Mind
Life can get hectic and make it easy to fall back into old patterns of being. But keeping your intentions top of mind throughout the day can help move you from reactive mode to proactive mode – allowing you to deliberately practice showing up the way you intend to.
Some ways to keep your intentions top of mind might include:
- Focusing on your intentions first thing in the morning and right before bed
- Putting up sticky notes with your intentions written on them
- Setting alarms on your phone that pop up with reminders of your intentions
- Writing your intentions in your planner
Just taking time to reflect on and regularly infuse your intentions throughout your day can go a long way in helping you embody them.
Ready to Set Your Own Intentions?
Intention setting can be a powerful tool when it comes to up-leveling any and all areas of your life. I especially love intention setting when it comes to your own health and well-being because it’s a beautiful and effective way to embody health rather than just going through the motions.
If you’re grappling with persistent unexplained symptoms, have an ongoing diagnosis, or simply want to boost your well-being, setting strategic intentions can be a powerful tool in healing and optimizing your health. Here at Silver Tree Wellness, we believe in infusing the knowledge from science with the power of the spirit to tap into natural healing at the deepest levels.
We combine cutting-edge research and technology with potent mind-body medicine practices (like setting intentions) to help you reverse the root cause of your symptoms and create a vibrantly healthy life from the inside out. If you’re ready to partner with one of our specialists at Silver Tree Wellness to create an entirely personalized plan to uplevel your health, please reach out and call our office at 602-675-0170 or send us an email by clicking right here. We can’t wait to hear from you!