How do we begin our journey to create a happier, more fulfilling life for ourselves? You can create a list of things you want to accomplish, skills you want to learn, goals you want to reach, etc. But the first step is really about how to set intentions.
What are intentions? How are they different than goals?
Intentions and goals may at first seem like the same thing but there is a difference. Goals are meant to be a desired result that you spend a certain amount of time to accomplish.
An intention is a lifelong goal in that there is never a true point where you reach it and then move on. You try to always keep your intention in mind and stay true to it. Because of this, all of your goals should align in some way with your intentions.
If you have been setting goals without setting your intentions, you may want to take a moment to figure out what your intentions are. Most likely you already have a subconscious intention but it’s good practice to state it and even record it for yourself.
So, goals are more of a concrete achievement and intentions are overarching themes in your life.
Ideally, you’ll want to set your intentions first so that your goals can help you work toward or keep in line with your overall vision of what you want your life to be. And I think for most of us, that’s happier.
Why you should set intentions
If you don’t feel happy with your life, if you don’t feel like you have a sense of purpose, you would probably benefit from setting intentions for yourself.
In a similar manner to setting goals, setting intentions can be helpful for making you happier in your life and feeling more fulfilled at the same time.
“Achieving our goals brings a sense of accomplishment and makes us feel more positive about the future” We are happy when we are working toward something in our lives. This is because we have
something to look forward to. When we accomplish our goals, we have a basis to build our self-esteem and self-efficacy on.
There is no reason for intentions to be overly ambitious or difficult. You could have an intention to live a simple, relaxing life. No one can tell you that your intentions are too small or
If you don’t set intentions in your life, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have a good life or direction, but you may allow other things and people to “distract” you from your life.
We are all responsible for our actions and ourselves. So, coming up with your intentions for your life not only help you be more focused but it will also send a message to everyone in your life. what you’re about and how to treat you?
How to set intentions
Do you feel stuck where you are? Do you have trouble meeting your goals? Perhaps it’s time to sit down and evaluate your intentions for your life.
There are a couple of ways you can go about this. You can journal or meditate.
I like to do a combination of both. I find it’s helpful for me to write down my thoughts but I need to calm my mind to hear my inner thoughts and desires.
At first you may start to think of goals like losing weight, eating healthier, getting more sleep, or going on dates are your desires, but these, again, are not intentions.
“INTENTION IS MORE THAN WISHFUL THINKING. IT’S WILLFUL DIRECTION.” – JENNIFER WILLIAMSON
Expand to broader ideas that incorporate your goals. For example, ‘I want to live a healthier and in a more wholesome way.’ or ‘I want to find love in the little things and spread love and kindness to others in my life.’
Ask yourself what motivates you? What are you passionate about? Try to envision what kind of life you want in the next ten years and how you’re going to get there?
Your intentions should be the answer to these questions. It will be your overarching theme to your goals. It will be your guide to your decisions and actions. The frequency of how often you set your intentions are up to you. I personally like to set my intentions each morning to give me good drive for the day.
I have been trying to study for the MCAT so I wake up and set my intention along with encouragement by telling myself, ‘Okay, today is a new day. I believe I can accomplish a lot today. I want to move forward in my life in a career that is fulfilling and meaningful to me. Let’s
This way I am focusing my efforts on productivity and setting an optimistic tone that makes me excited and hopeful for the day. My intentions may not be this every morning. It depends on what I need to focus on.
Sticking with your intentions
Keeping to your intentions will take willpower and discipline. There will be times we stray from our intentions so don’t be hard on yourself. Just get back on track and continue from there.
You are what you do consistently. That’s why it’s good to remind yourself of your intentions and to try to do it as often and incorporate it as much as you can into your life.
Don’t just create goals around your intentions; create habits so it really helps integrate your intentions into your life. You can learn how to create new, better habits here.
When you first create your intentions, you want to have motivation or passion to drive it.
However, since intentions are ongoing throughout your life and don’t truly have an end date, keeping up with your intentions can sometimes be difficult.
Therefore, you may have to occasionally re-motivate yourself. It’s good to initially record your intentions somewhere so you can read them again and remember why you started in the first place.
Motivation is tricky as it naturally ebbs and flows but if the motivation to set your intention was true in the first place then reminding yourself of it should be re-invigorating enough to keep it going.
The key to living a happier life is to feel like it’s a life you are in control of and while there are many things outside of our control there are still many other things that are within our power to
affect. Giving yourself the power to live the life you want is just the start that will enable you to live happier.
Setting intentions is truly the first step toward not only recognizing what kind of life you want but also giving yourself the “okay” to go for it.
Creating intentions and then habits and goals that support your intentions will give you purpose.
You will have something to strive for.
Intentions help you focus in on what’s important in your life. While it’s true that “not all who wander are lost,” there is something pleasing about a person who has confidence and knows what they want in life.
And the great thing is that setting intentions means that you have the power to adjust and change them accordingly. If you decide that the direction you are going in no longer suits you, create new intentions to alter your course.
If you don’t set intentions for your life, you may happen to stumble upon something great, but I find that it’s more often the case that if you want something, you need to go get it.
“As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.”
– Katharine Hepburn
You are entitled to ask for what you want. Setting your intention is like asking for what you want in your life.
This decision to actively choose what you want will empower you to make that next decision for yourself, start that better habit, and work on that ambitious goal. One thing leads to another and it starts with setting intention.
When you start to ask for what you want and believe that you can get it, you’ll find that through your actions, the world will, in a way, give you what you want. But you have to want it in the first
So, let’s set today’s intention: “Today is going to be a great day. I’m looking forward to all that I will get done. I feel energized and capable.”
Off you go! Good luck, Live happier,
About the author:
I have a background in Cognitive Science, have worked in many psychology research labs, and am applying to be a physician. I blog about the many problems that people face on a daily basis – problems that hold people back from having a happy and successful life. I believe through a better mindset, we can overcome these issues and in each post, I discuss just how to do this.