A Guide to Setting Intentions that Work
If you’re like lots of people, you use affirmations or resolutions to help you make a change and attain personal fulfillment in some area of your life. You adopt appealing affirmations from the internet, write them down on reminder notes, incorporate them into your vision board, or speak them aloud from time to time. If this sounds like you, have you had success? If not, follow this guide to setting intentions that work.
What’s An Intention?
The question “what’s an intention?” isn’t trivial. While most people can define the word, it’s much harder for them to accurately articulate what they want because their limiting beliefs with respect to what’s within their control and range of possibilities hold them back. Also, underlying many intentions is a felt sense, feeling, or desire: all of which are hard to articulate.
As an example, when people come for an energy healing session with me, they often have only a vague idea of what an intention is in practical real-life terms or what type of aspiration can be turned into a suitable intention for energy healing. They often need to ponder it.
Similarly, coaching clients who seek greater personal fulfillment tend to have lots of ideas about what’s wrong and what they’d like to change, but only a vague notion about what they want or what’s within reason from their current point of view or mindset.
In fact, the content of intentions is wide-ranging. It can entail physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or energetic issues. While intentions are always self-referential because you can only really change yourself and your circumstances, they can address your role in a relationship, which in turn, can affect someone else.
7 Principles For Setting Intentions That Work
The touchstone of this guide to setting intentions that work is how you express your intentions because it reveals a lot about your clarity and commitment.
Additionally, how you form an intention invariably influences the energy you bring to it and the energy you attract. Both are critical for personal fulfillment.
The reason for this is obvious. If you don’t really know what you want, can’t articulate what you want, or don’t think you deserve what you want, how will you ever get what you want?
So, if you adhere to these seven principles for creating intentions, you’ll harness the right energy for the highest and best outcome.
1. Say what you want, not what you don’t want.
Word your intentions such that you orient yourself to where you want to go rather than move from where you are without any specific direction and destination in mind.
Using positive rather than negative language is an effective way to express this principle. For instance, say: “I get a good night’s rest every night,” instead of: “I want to stop waking up during the night and feeling tired all day.”
The former phrasing specifies what you want the outcome to be: adequate rest. In contrast, the latter phrase leaves you open to lots of different interpretations and outcomes. In fact, some of those outcomes could even be detrimental. For example, you could stop waking up at night, but continue to feel tired throughout the day.
2. Be bold.
Go for the fullest expression of what you want, not just a portion of what you really want. For example, “I’m pain-free” rather than “I feel less pain.” Or, “I ace my exam,” as opposed to “I pass it.”
3. Be Clear.
To be clear, be explicit and avoid vague or complicated language.
To illustrate, don’t say “I intend to meet a ‘nice’ guy” because everyone’s version of nice is different. If you don’t specify what you mean by nice, you may find that you manifest lots of guys who someone else thinks are nice, but you definitely don’t.
Do some personal reflection first to identify what are the key attributes you associate with nice and explicitly include them in your intention. Make sure that what you seek will lead to personal fulfillment. And, avoid the temptation to include superfluous attributes.
4. Be specific.
To be specific refers to declaring, when relevant, who, what, when, and where. A couple of examples will help clarify. Let’s assume you have two daughters, and you have difficulties communicating with the one named Debora. Therefore, you’ll want to mention her specifically in your intention. Otherwise, you may find that you improve the good communication you already have with your other daughter and that with Debora remains unaffected.
Similarly, if you want to land a new job within the next two weeks, say: “I get hired within the next two weeks.” Of course, this language doesn’t insure you’ll start the new job within that time frame. If this is what you desire, adjust the language accordingly: “I start my new job within two weeks from today.”
5. Don’t ask. Tell!
To bring the appropriate energy and commitment to your intention declare it. The words want, wish, hope, pray, and beg are not up to the task.
Instead, use declarative language: “I pass my exam,” “I weigh 120 lbs and maintain it,” and “I have a fulfilling job.” This helps you really own and become the intention.
6. Leave an opening to fate.
This attribute might seem contra-intuitive or even contradictory at first. But, it isn’t. The idea here is to account for the possibility that you may not actually know what’s best for you or how your life will unfold.
In this way, the focus is on the state of being rather than a particular plan or rigidly detailed outcome.
To accomplish this you might alter your intention to meet a ‘nice’ guy to something like: “I meet a guy with whom I feel heard, respected, and loved and acts in my highest and best interest.”
In this way, you get your cognitive brain out of the way and open to more. In other words, you don’t try to strategize and plan your way to success, which has alluded you thus far.
You can still take action and make decisions that align with the intention. But, feel into it and allow your sixth sense to guide you onward. Don’t force it or rationalize the steps.
7. Be committed to living the reality of what you say you want — manifest!
This principle of the guide to setting intentions that work is an extension of the preceding one, i.e., “living the reality of what you say you want.” It also requires patience and openness, even though you’ll be more proactive. But, do not obsess about it, try to control the process, or simply leave it completely “up to the universe.”
Instead, what you’ll be doing is encouraging the process of neuroplasticity. In practical terms, this means bringing more of the quality and attributes of your intention into your life and your being. That is, surrounding yourself with the possibility.
For example, imagine who you will be when the intention manifests. What does personal fulfillment feel like for you? Try on attributes of the person you will be. Sense into your choices and whether they bring more of that fulfilled quality into your experiences and life.
You might daydream, journal, or choose some other means to express this vision. You could educate yourself on its different aspects. Also, take opportunities that seem to relate to it even if only marginally: be curious and explore.
Follow the bread crumbs and stay open.
Applying The Guide To Setting Intentions That Work To Everyday Living
Apply this guide to setting intentions that work for all that you intend throughout your day. By doing so, you’ll create a practice of being conscious, clear, articulate, and intentional with all you do.
Now, that’s not a bad intention in and of itself!
Patricia Bonnard, PhD, ACC is an integrated life coach, embodied practitioner, and energy healer. She offers virtual and in-person sessions and numerous short workshops on personal growth, natural healing, and wellness. For more about Patricia, visit her website Starchaser Healing Arts.