What if I told you that you have the ability to decide how you will feel and function throughout your day? You will no longer have to go with the flow and take what comes to you. And you don’t have to let other people’s behavior guide your thoughts and feelings.
You can achieve this by simply setting your intentions for the day.
By setting an intention before you start your day you will feel calmer, focused, and present. Being intentional means mindfully choosing how you want to show up in the world. You can then take that energy into the day with you.
Let’s explore how to choose your intention and how to use it to guide your day.
What Is an Intention?
First, let’s talk about what an intention is. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines it as “what one intends to do or bring about” and “a determination to act in a certain way”.
I’d like to add that an intention is always deliberate, and we set our intentions to keep us headed in the direction we truly mean to go. Daily intentions can support you in developing a positive outlook and bring more clarity into your day-to-day life.
Living an intentional life can also be a way to get closer to achieving your goals.
Here’s one example of how an intention can improve your day. Maybe you have a report due and you are feeling stressed about (1) getting the report done and (2) doing your best work. That morning you could set the intention of “Today, I commit myself to feel calm and efficient”. With this intention, you are choosing to feel calm and prepared instead of allowing outside pressure to make you feel nervous and on edge.
How to Choose Your Intention
So, let’s talk about how you can choose your intention for your day. The great thing is that these few minutes you spend in the morning will have a positive impact on the rest of your day.
1. First, find a comfortable sitting posture and relax your body as much as you can. Then, with your eyes closed, if that helps you to focus, take three to five deep, diaphragmatic or abdominal breaths.
2. Once you feel settled, contemplate the following questions:
3. Narrow down your thoughts to a specific intention. It can be helpful to use this simple sentence:
Today, I commit myself to ____________________.
You can finish this sentence each morning however you choose.
Above all, don’t pressure yourself to feel like you need perfect wording to complete your intention-setting sentence. Intention setting is more about how you feel and believe, not how it sounds on paper. And you can change your intention daily or use the same intention for a few days before moving on to the next one.
How to Use Your Intention
You can practice this intention-setting exercise first thing in the morning if that is convenient. Or, if you work in a quiet office, you could do it sitting at your desk before you get into the day.
Throughout your day, look for opportunities to check in with your intentions. You can do this by repeating your intention a few times when it feels right to you.
Then, before you go to bed or as you lie in bed before sleeping, reflect on your day. Review the events of the day (moods, feelings, activities) and reflect on your morning intention. Consider how much your day matched your morning intention. The idea is to not keep score or develop guilt over whether you did or not fulfill your intention. The goal is to broadly review to see the synergy between your intentions and your life that day.
Daily Intentions Worksheet
I’ve created a printable worksheet to help guide your daily intentions. Click here to download your Daily Intention Reflection worksheet.
Setting daily intentions is one of the most powerful techniques you can use. It is so easy to roll out of bed and live on autopilot. Yet, daily intentions can help you feel focused and purposeful. Talking to a counselor can also help you develop ways that will help you to be intentional and live your life to the fullest. If you would like to speak with a professional, please reach out to schedule an appointment.
As a therapist, Jorie Miklos enjoys helping people reach a level of personal happiness and satisfaction that they didn’t think was possible.
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