One of the things I work on with clients and use in my own personal process is intention-setting. Setting intentions is different from creating goals. When we create goals, we have an idea of what we want to make happen in our lives and we map out a plan with action steps for moving that idea to fruition. With intentions, the focus is less on process and more on how we want to feel. It is our feelings, our intuition, which guide our intentions, rather than our minds. We release the need for control and our ideas about how things happen, and open ourselves to the possibilities of our experience.
Often, in our day-to-day lives with to-do lists of things we want to accomplish, our intuition can get lost in the shuffle. Especially when we have a lot of goals we want to achieve, our moment-to-moment experience of our lives can lose its immediacy. There are days when even though I’ve laid out what I want to do, things come up which disrupt my plans. They may be external factors which I have no control over or my own personal emotional and mental state. I’ve found it helpful to be flexible, pull back a little from my plans, and take a more intuitive approach.
The wonderful thing about setting intentions is that we can do it at any time, whether we have clear goals or not. We can bring our attention to where we may have gone off-course in our planning and actions. We can tune into what our intuition is telling us and allow it to guide us. This process also helps us stay connected to our true needs and desires, and bring them into our awareness. We can use our intentions to create the lives we want to live.
Some ways of working with intentions:
Be present. Stop for a moment and take a breath. Get still in your body. Get grounded. How are you feeling? Where are you physically, emotionally, mentally? What words or phrases are coming up? Bring them into your awareness and experience them fully. Is there tension in your body? Where is it located? Are your thoughts in the future or past? Is there a loop or narrative running in the background? What feelings are these thoughts creating? Ask yourself how you would like to feel in this moment. Listen for the answer.
Choose. You get to choose how you want to experience this moment. If in a situation which causes tension, you can choose to let go of resistance and relax. If feeling confusion, you can choose to release the tightness of trying to “figure things out” and shift your focus to something else. Remember that in every moment, you have the power to choose where to place your attention.
Pick an emotional destination. Sometimes it helps to set an intention around how we want to approach a situation. If going into a meeting is causing you to feel anxious, maybe set the intention of being calm, focused, and responsive. Use that intention as a guide for your experience. Keep coming back to it.
Set an intention for the day. When you first wake up, before doing anything, breathe and get present in your body. How do you want to feel today? What would you like to experience? Creativity and connection? Focus and flow with a particular activity? Do you intend to be open to the opportunities and gifts that the day presents to you? Be specific with your language. Feel it, say it, write it.
Set intentions for the month. How do you want to experience this month? What is most important to you now? What are your priorities? What are some actions or activities which are in alignment with those things? How would it feel to do those things? Feel it, say it, write it.
If you want support and tools for the intention-setting process and creating a more intentional life, I look forward to connecting over a session.