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6 Steps to Set Intentions

Posted by Laurie J Cameron

This new year is an opportunity to take a more conscious role in your life. One way to do this is with the practice of setting intentions. Intentions exist behind every thought and action. They guide you in optimizing potential and focusing your energy. Intentions bridge our core values to our daily actions and drive us to live authentically. Learn how to integrate setting intentions into your life with these 6 steps.

1. Make it a daily practice. Choose a time in your morning to set intentions. Make it a habit by doing it just after something you already do, such as after you are sitting in stillness or as part of journaling.

2. Listen to your inner wisdom. First settle your mind with a few calming breaths and ask yourself: What matters most today? What matters most this week? What does my heart long for? These answers will point to intentions you can set.

3. Mine your joy list for intentions. Create a short list of activities that make you feel alive—times when you feel the most aware and vibrant. Some of my joys are being present with my daughter, creating art, swimming in open water, connecting deeply with clients, and teaching mindfulness. You can set an intention to create time for one or more of the activities that gives you a boost, and be open and present when you do it.

4. Set intentions for seeing, being, and doing. What do you want to see more? Beauty, wonder, acts of kindness, good news, humorous moments, the glass half full? How do you want to “be” today? Calm, focused, open- minded, patient, generous, accepting, gentle, forgiving? What do you want to do more? Stop and breathe, listen deeply to others, do one thing at a time? Keep it short and simple.

5. Use ink. Write down your intentions on a small card or sticky note for your desk or refrigerator to bring your focus back and inspire yourself throughout the day.

6. Share intentions with loved ones. At breakfast, talk about what your intentions are for the day. This ritual not only supports the habit of setting intentions, but also lets you connect with your roommates, partner, or kids in a deeper way, and find ways to support them as they live out their own intentions.

These 6 steps come from an entry in my first book, The Mindful Day, published by National Geographic in 2018. Learn more about the book here.

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