Do you find yourself reacting to your life these days as opposed to creating your life?
Maybe you long to be less scattered, less cranky, or more present, but then just end up being tossed around on the relentless waves of the day?
Well, the practice of setting daily intentions is a simple way to reclaim the direction of your day and the energy of your life…and it’s something you can easily start TODAY.
Here’s how it works… First thing in the morning, take a look at your day ahead and write down 1-3 intentions of how you’d like to show up for some of the happenings you anticipate in your day.
We’re not talking about creating another “to do” list here, but more of a “how to be” list. Setting intentions is like aiming yourself towards the energy you’d like to cultivate more of in your life.
For example, my intentions the other day took my current desire to be more present and deeply connected to others and married those qualities to activities I knew were coming up in my day:
Intention 1: I will savor the simple meditative task of cleaning today instead of wishing the chore away.
Intention 2: At the party tonight, I will focus on each person I talk with as if they are the only person in the world at that moment.
Intention 3: I will connect to the feeling of relief that the meditation I’m recording today will bring to the people who listen to it.
The more you can focus your intention on a specific aspect of your day, the better. That’s because if you just make a general intention like “I’m going to be joyful today”, this will probably go out the window within 5 minutes. But if you set an intention that you will cultivate joy on your walk to work today, then the act of the walk itself will jog your memory around the joy you’re trying to create.
So, look at what is lined up for your day ahead, consider the specific energy you’d like to cultivate more of in your life, set an intention accordingly, and make sure you write it down.
If you have a potentially volatile business meeting scheduled, you could set an intention to: really step into my power and use use voice. Alternatively, your intention could be to: sit back in the meeting and just soften and let go around any conflict. These are two very different energies you could bring to the same exact situation, and whichever energy you choose will absolutely determine the quality of this experience for you, and often impact the outcome for others.
I remember applying for an industry fellowship I wanted awhile back that I’d already been rejected for 3 years in a row. The morning of the deadline I decided to make my intention: “To bring a sense of PLAY to doing this application today.” Because of that intention, I approached the application in a totally different way than I had in the past. Instead of it being all formal and information-heavy, I made it breezy and cheeky. Well, lo and behold, I finally got the fellowship!
Here are some other examples of daily intentions:
– I’m going to bring compassion to the phone call with my mother
– When I open the fridge today I’m going to think about the vitality I’m trying to cultivate
– I’m going to truly listen to my kids at dinner
– I’m going to bring a little wildness to my presentation today
– Every time I hear a text come in, I’m going to stop and take a deep centering breath
You could just start with setting one intention per day and add another one or two next week as you get the hang of it. You can even keep your intentions at the forefront of your mind by putting them on post-it notes in your environment or putting a reminder on your smartphone.
Just a caveat: Try not to become attached to the outcome of these intentions. If they don’t come to fruition, that doesn’t make you a big ol’ loser. Just reset and try again tomorrow. It’s better to set a destination and go temporarily off-course, than have NO idea where the hell you’re heading and end up stuck in a ditch.
Alright my Lovely…have a wondrous time CREATING your day ahead!
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates