Have you ever heard about setting intentions? Have you ever tried it?
I’d heard about this practice for a while, and people swore by it. I’ve been a journalist for a decade, so I’m pretty driven by facts. I wanted to know what was the power of this practice and if it’s something that actually helped you have a better, healthier life. So I started researching what intentions really are, if they’re actually beneficial, and how to make the most of them.
After I did some research I realized that intentions are a crucial part of what I’ve always believed in. I believe vision is one of the most important things that you should nourish, and I realized intentions just make it more organized. So, for this post I wanted to share with you a little of how I see life, and how intentions have helped me have even more clarity on where I’m going.
What I believe in is that you cannot walk through life without knowing where you’re going. Uncertainty creates stress, helplessness and apathy. It’s easy to quit on things if you don’t have a reason to do them. And it’s also easy to feel regrets when you find yourself in a situation you dislike, just because you ended up there and did nothing about it. So the best way to prevent this is by having a plan. Of course, you have to be flexible and open, since nothing is ever fixed, but you have to know where and how you want to be. Think about the big picture. How do you see yourself in the near future? Now break it down in categories. How do you see yourself in relationships, in health, in your career? The plan is to get to that place.
Where do intentions come in?
Let’s start with what they are. An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to live your life. It bridges where you are now with where you want to be in the future.
So now that you have the idea of where you want to be, you start setting goals, which are the milestones. I’ll cover goals in another, more detailed post, but let’s think about the basics of a goal: they have to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound). Goals are these key moments that get you to where you want to be, and they are very exact, but it can be a little tiring thinking about them everyday.
Here’s where intentions come in. They don’t have to be measured or defined with precision. They’re a statement you believe in that helps you get clarity of what you want and why you want it, so you can take the best steps towards it and stay motivated. They don’t even have to be something you plan ahead. You can have an intention for your day or even for the meal you’re about to prepare yourself.
Setting an intention gives you focus and motivation. This helps you prioritize, make the most of your time, and make better choices. Be clear on what you want and where you’re headed and intentions will be the driving force to get you there.
Set an intention
Let’s get this started. Think about why you’re reading this blog. Why do you want to know more about health? About self-care? What motivates you to look for a healthier lifestyle? (You can write this down if it’s easier for you)
Now think about what you want from your health. How do you want to see yourself in the future regarding your health and wellbeing?
Once you have that picture in your head write down how you’ll be. It’s best to use an affirmation like “I will” instead of something more vague like “I want” or “I’ll try”. Writing something like “I will have a healthier life” or “I will add more vegetables to my diet” is much more powerful. Just by writing those words you’ll feel empowered because you’ll be making a commitment with yourself.
Next, go deeper. We’ve stated the “what,” now we need a “why.” Next to your first statement add these words: “In order to.” Now dig deeper. What do you want to accomplish with this statement? Following the example, it should look something like this: “I will have a healthier life to inspire my family to follow healthier habits” or “I will add more vegetables to my diet to feel happier, lively and be in better shape.” It can be as specific as you want.
Perhaps the first intentions you write will still have room for improvement. But that doesn’t matter, no one is grading you. These phrases are for you, to keep you focused and motivated on what you really want. So go back to that intention you just wrote and give it another thought. What’s your intention for the day? For starting a new workout routine? For changing your diet?