Our whole life, we are taught that in order to move forward in life, you have to aim for, well, SOMETHING. Basically, you can’t just wander around aimlessly if you want to reach a destination, you have to know what you want in order to have what you want.
We are taught to set goals in our career and personal lives, to set resolutions every year, and to create projects and lists of tasks for maximum productivity.
There’s nothing wrong with that, we all wake up and want to know that how we spend our days and what we do all day matters, that we aren’t just wasting our time for nothing.
That is why every year we set those new resolutions, we set quarterly and yearly goals, and we create endless to-do lists.
And I don’t know about you, but, for me, it’s overwhelming.
No matter how many resolutions or goals I set, no matter how many to-do lists I create or how many tasks I do or do not cross off…I still have that ‘classic feeling’ that I’m a hamster spinning on a wheel that’s never going anywhere.
Half the goals I set, I never reach! Or if I do, it certainly wasn’t by the first or even the second deadline I made for myself. I never cross off a new years resolution. Heck most of the time, I just carry them on over to the next year until I reach the point that it’s no longer what I want or relevant in my life anymore. AND well, that to-do list it never ends…I just rewrite the same to-do list with new and old tasks over and over again.
WHAT’S CRAZY IS, there’s nothing wrong with that either. That is just life. It’s also who I am and how I work.
We feel a but coming…andd here it is..
BUT, I do still feel like crap. At the end of the day, at the end of the year, every time some article pops up on my Pinterest or Instagram feed saying how to do a mid-year check-in, how to end the year strong and reach those goals!
The cringe is REAL.
If you are anything like me, you get sucked into reading them anyways to only feel even more like shit because you still don’t get any better about reaching your goals or sticking out those resolutions.
The point of shooting for the stars, well a star, YOUR STAR is to make YOU happy, to give youuuu purpose, to bring you joy. That is the point of everything you are working towards.
SO maybe it isn’t at all about the goals, the projects, the PLANS. Maybe it’s about reconsidering what you spend your time doing and why you are doing it, meaning it’s time to rethink about how what you do is in alignment with your overall purpose…your happiness.
That is where setting intentions come in and today on the blog I am sharing all about How to Set Intentions and Why Set Intentions over Goals.
WHAT ARE INTENTIONS
The first and most important thing you need to know and understand about Intentions is this, there is NO right or wrong way to set an intention.
Intentions are meant to serve you and your happiness, it really truly is impossible to do them wrong. If they help you and make you happy, then that is ALL that matters.
So basically, intentions have a very VERY loose definition. With that said, though, what I consider intentions to be (in MY opinion, not meant to be taken as a dictionary, set in stone, written on paper, literal translation)…
Intentions are the act of clearly stating a feeling or emotional response you want to create more of in your life that will help you to manifest experiences and keep you in alignment with your happiness and life purpose.
Intentions are not just about purposefully deciding what you want to do, but rather why taking that action leads you to your purpose and overall happiness and, most importantly, how taking that action gives you the feeling you want to walk away with most.
Intentions are less about tasks and the “to-do’s” themselves, but rather more about the feeling you want from taking that action or living that experience. Which leads me to…
The Purpose of Setting Intentions and How They Serve You
Intentions are energy. And what they say is true, energy flows where attention goes. Setting an intention is drawing your attention towards something, which allows you to open the way for the energy to flow allowing it to be easier for you to reach what you want.
“The power of intentions. When you’re clear on your intention, you take inspired action that’s in alignment with your words and truth. You also quickly manifest what you desire because you’re clearly putting out words and actions that are in alignment with the things you want to attract into your life.” -Stephanie Zamora
Intentions aren’t a list of things for you to do. They aren’t about actions.
Instead, they are about what you want, emotionally and spiritually, out of the actions you take and the experiences you go through.
The purpose of intentions are to give YOU and the things you DO purpose by no longer doing things for the accomplishment of doing them.
They serve you because the purpose behind an intention is to bring you happiness, every intention you set is about serving you, your heart and your soul, you’re divine purpose.
Intentions transform your life of steps, tasks, and goals and change them into purpose, fulfillment, and meaning.
This will become more clear as I talk about…
How and When to Set Intentions.
As I’ve said before, there is no right or wrong way to set an intention. And by golly don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!
However, if you’ve never heard of intentions before or ever written your own feel free to use these tips as a place to get you started until you grow into your own way of doing them.
Intentions are best set with a clear mind and a blank page. If your mind is stressed, racing full of thoughts, or just drained of energy then do your best to make yourself comfortable and come to a place where you can let yourself release everything weighing on you and be free of your current reality. Make some tea or take a shower, sit outside, do anything or go anywhere that always makes you feel at home and relaxed.
Grab a piece of paper or journal and some fun colored pens or pencils. Label the paper with either the month, moon phase, quarter, or whatever title of intentions calls to your heart.
Then write number 1 and write out your intentions. Numbering each one. You can write as many or as little as you’d like. You will know when to stop, that moment when your heart feels content with what you’ve written. When you feel, ‘yes, this is it.’ Sometimes you will have 3 or 5 and others you will have 14 or 15. You can set however many intentions you feel you need in this moment.
Your intentions, again, are not necessarily actions or things to do. BUT you can write the action or thing you’d like to accomplish to help get your thoughts down and get you started… HOWEVER, for every action you write you need to add why you want to take this action and how you want to feel during and after you’ve accomplished it. The truth is you may want to do something, but you are really doing it because of the way it will make you feel. THAT is the ultimate goal you want from everything you spend your time on.
So, your intentions are all about writing what you want to feel more of in your life. Yes, it’s also about what you want to manifest or bring more of into your life, but really dig deeper. There is a real reason behind what you want, you need to find it and honestly, if you can’t uncover that reason then maybe that’s your way of realizing to yourself that this may be something you don’t want or isn’t in alignment with what you are working towards.
I love how Georgie from In It 4 The Long Run explains in her post about Setting Intentions, when setting an intention, visualize yourself taking the action and accomplishing the task, immerse yourself in the vision. Ask yourself how are you feeling when you see yourself doing it? How do you see yourself feeling afterward? What are you hoping to walk away with?
Do you see how there is more purpose in the action now when you realize what it is you are really hoping to walk away with?
Intentions are also a way for you to let go of all the goals, projects, tasks, and the “do’s” of life. Let yourself work towards writing intentions that are no longer things to do. Instead, allow yourself to come to a place where you set intentions about how you want to feel and what feelings you want to manifest more of in your life THEN that can help you to find and discover the actions needed to help you grow towards being the person you want to be and living the life you want to live. I’ll explain more of this in my examples below.
But before I jump to my examples, when are writing intentions most helpful for you?
The best intentions are set when you are feeling at your lowest, honestly. When you need them most. When you feel lost or uninspired or lacking encouragement. That’s when the intentions help recenter you and remind you of what is important and where you are going in life.
The most common times to write intentions are the beginning or end of a year, some people do them every month or quarterly, some prefer during certain moon phases.
The best time to set intentions is whenever you feel your heart needs it and you can do them as often as you want. They are only here to be there for you whenever you want them to.
Which is why it’s important to understand…
The difference between Intentions and Goals.
For me, the main difference is one is an action and the other is a feeling, an emotion.
“The difference between setting a goal versus setting an intention is that a goal is about achieving a specific outcome, whereas an intention is about setting a specific mindset or feeling.” -Georgie (In It 4 The Long Run)
Goals are about taking action that you can check off once it’s finished, but what if you never finish it or, like me, what if you do but you aren’t feeling like you did it the right way or even though you did finish you still don’t feel good enough?
Intentions are about striving for the positive feeling you want and allowing yourself to be open to the Universe (or God, or your personal belief(s) and values) providing you with experiences and actions that lead you to feel that way. You then aren’t judging your life by the actions you did or did not take.
Intentions are less about the guilt of did you accomplish the goal or did you do a good enough job and more about the possibilities. They’re about being open to letting the world guide you into the flow and movement of your life so you can take inspired action by walking into experiences with a different mindset of what the outcome you are striving for is.
Your intentions are guiding you and reminding you of what’s important to you, they are not meant to be things to do and cross of your list.
Examples & Favorite Resources.
I am an intention setting practitioner, myself, and I hope sharing a peek into my intentions and intention setting process will help get you started on your own journey.
I always write intentions when I feel lost or have the classic case of I don’t know what the heck I’m doing with my life or what my purpose is or what I want to do with my life. Setting Intentions are my way of giving me a place to get in alignment with the universe and draw more positive experiences into my life. To remind myself it’s not about the to-do’s, it’s about the kind of person I want to be and how I want to feel at the end of the day.
Here are some of my latest intentions I’ve set for myself:
- To keep some room in my heart for the unimaginable. You never know what amazing things can be headed your way- let them in, savor them, be happy, and let them fill me up!
- Start showing the world more of who I am. Don’t be afraid to let them see me, teach them, guide them, show them better ways, show them light- show them bravery- show them empathy and selflessness. Begin your journey away from hiding.
- Reconnect and nurture my silly side. To work towards being the girl who made others laugh, even if it takes practice. To feel free again. To draw fun and silly quirky people into my life. To spend less time with people who take life too seriously.
- And here is an example of an intention that is an action, but followed by the feeling or true intention I want behind that action: To move to a new city. (action) and the intention behind the action is. Be fearless! And open! Move to a new city and allow this change to open new doors, continue to overcome personal anxieties and challenges, break out of your comfort zone a little more, let the change bring new and amazing things and people into your life.
I also wanted to include some of my favorite Intention Setting Resources that will hopefully encourage you to continue your journey on setting intentions and be helpful for you as you start and grow on your journey.
I hope that these resources also help you to see how different each person’s intentions are from the others. Everyone does them in their own way and I hope that encourages you to find your own way to set intentions that work best for you.
Resources for you:
- Georgie of In It 4 The Long Run’s Article on Setting Intentions.
- Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde’s How to Set Intentions & Manifest Your Dreams Into Reality
- The Mint Sweater’s Article on How to Uncover the Right New Years Resolutions for You.
- The Balanced Life Leslie’s How and Why You Should Set Monthly Intentions
- Abraham Hick’s video Setting Up Your Day
- The Mint Sweater’s Article on Not Just Saying Intentional, but BEING Intentional.
The Final Tip, Have FUN!
Finally, I wanted to add a one last tip I have for writing your intentions because, again, if you’re anything like me (a perfectionist!) a blank page can be daunting and trying to write neatly and make everything perfect and pretty is definitely a MAJOR roadblock for me. My tip here is, tell yourself what’s more important…writing in a journal perfectly that no one is going to see (this is just for you and your eyes only after all) or having an amazing time reconnecting with yourself, uncovering what’s in your heart and working towards building the life you want and becoming the person you want to be.
For me, it really helps me to realize doodling on a page is pretty far down on that priority list. Let this be the one place you can have FUN, pour your heart out and love spending every minute on it. Use different colors, draw pictures and doodles, write in different fonts. Make it fun and colorful and wild. Show yourself that you can release and let go and feel safe when you do it. Allow yourself to enjoy this process and find a way to make it a positive experience for you.
They say manifesting is, you attract into your life what you are, not what you want.
Intentions help you to see the person you are now and the person you want to be. They help you to visualize the best version of yourself and help you to see who you need to be to reach that person. They help you manifest the experiences you need to become and grow into that person.
Intentions help you to get in alignment with yourself and the person you want to be, to take inspired action and manifest experiences into your life, and guide you to live the life you truly want full of purpose, fulfillment, and joy.
They help you feel grounded and recenter yourself. They remind you what is most important to you and why you take the actions you take and what you want to walk away with from the experiences you go through.
Intentions are about being vulnerable and open with yourself, to think less about reaching goals and crossing off tasks and more about how you want to feel in your life and why you want to feel that way.
Consider taking a break from setting goals and sit down and try writing out a few intentions of your own. See how you feel, do you feel more inspired and encourage to work towards these intentions than you would goals?
How can you start setting intentions today? What are some intentions you are setting for yourself?
Share with us in the comments below!