Setting Intentions: The Powerful Secret To Living Your Dream Life

Setting intentions is a great way to help you achieve your goals and improve your life. 

The emotional and mental act of setting intentions can help you clarify what you want out of life and get you in the right mindset to achieve it.

Why Setting Intentions is Vital

Setting intentions is essential because they give you a roadmap for how you want to live your life. They help condition your conscious mind to a particular way of thinking and living. 

The very act of saying “I will be happy today” as a daily intention will help you choose things in your everyday life that correspond with that intention – happiness.

Setting intentions will help you reach the right frame of mind to begin working towards your goals. 

It’s about purposefully resetting your mindset, shifting your thinking, and being intentional about your everyday choices.

Setting Intentions Vs. Setting Goals

People often confuse intention setting with goal setting. Although the two practices are similar, they do differ in crucial ways. An intention is a plan for how you want to be and live your life in general.

You don’t need a measurable achievement when setting your intentions. 

A goal is an achievement that you wish to attain. Once you achieve that result, You’ve accomplished your goal. 

Setting intentions comes before setting goals, but the two are closely related. Setting your intentions gives you an overview of what you want, and the goals provide actionable steps to get there.

Intentions vs. Affirmations

Intentions are similar to affirmations, but they have slight differences. Both are essential to daily life, but the difference is in doing vs being. 

An intention is something you set out to do, while an affirmation is an undeniable truth. Intentions may start with the words “I will,” portending what you “intend” to do. Affirmations begin with something like “I am” because they aren’t something you have to do, they just are. 

The subtle difference is vital. 

How Do You Set Daily Intentions?

There’s no unique trick to setting intentions. All you have to do is tell yourself you’re setting it. 

However, mindfulness is vital. Saying that you will be happy today when you do not intend to do anything different won’t work. 

Here are the best ways to set daily intentions. 


The physical act of writing your intentions down will help your mind absorb them. Dedicate a few minutes each morning to journal writing, and use that time to list out two to three daily intentions. 

Say it Out Loud

While writing, say your intentions out loud. Get as many senses involved as possible. See it, hear it, vocalize it, feel the vibrations of the intention dancing on your tongue. 


The more we say something, the more our subconscious minds absorb it. Repeat your intention three times while journaling, and repeat it throughout the day. Take intention breaks to sit with your intentions and repeat them to yourself. 

Whatever Works

Some folks don’t like journaling, and some feel weird about talking out loud to themselves. That’s okay. There’s no right or wrong way to set an intention. These three methods work really well, but simply saying it quietly to yourself works too. 

Do whatever works for you. 

What Are Some Good Intentions?

An essential component of setting intentions is knowing which ones to set. 

Consider your life goals, and contemplate how an intention might help you achieve them. Setting an intention that doesn’t align with your ideal life may hinder rather than help. 

Intention setting will help you live your best life, but you must know what your best life is before setting them. Only you can answer that. 

Remember, an intention isn’t specific like a goal. 

For example, you may have a goal to lose 10 pounds. That’s measurable and achievable, correct? 

It isn’t an intention. 

A good intention that might go hand in hand with that goal is to live a healthier lifestyle. A daily intention to set might be something like “I will make healthy choices today.”

Five Examples of Intentions You Can Set

With an understanding of what makes a good intention, let’s explore some that you might want to set for yourself daily. 

“I will choose happiness today.”

Sometimes being happy is a choice. You can’t control what happens around you, but you can control how you react to it. You can try to be more optimistic about what you have in your life and let go of the things you can’t change. 

Set an intention to see the positive side of things and try to choose happiness.

“I will do my best today.”

Whether your best is running a marathon or just getting out of bed doesn’t matter. It is vital to set an intention to do it, whatever that may be. Perhaps your best is someone else’s poor, but that’s okay.

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly. And if your best isn’t all that great, that’s okay too.

“I will live authentically today.”

Do you ever do things because it’s expected of you rather than because you want to do them? 

Maybe it’s time to live your life for you.

 Set a daily intention to live authentically, the way you want to live.

I will allow myself to be human today.”

Nobody is perfect. There is no shame in making a mistake. Allow yourself to be a real person with real flaws. Allow yourself to make those mistakes and learn from them.

Set an intention to give yourself a break if you need one.

“I will be open to success today.”

Sometimes we don’t see opportunities that are right in front of us. This intention can help us keep an open mind about new possibilities and permit ourselves to achieve success. 

These are just a tiny handful of intentions that you can set for yourself – there are so many more. The best intentions for you depend on what you want to achieve.

Setting and Achieving Goals

Although not the same, goal setting is closely related to intention setting. Setting intentions is the first step towards setting and achieving your goals.

Let’s return to our example of the intention “I will make healthy choices today” and see how it relates to setting specific goals.

I Will Make Healthy Choices Today

You can set several goals that would align with this mantra. You might aim to do 10 minutes of meditation to relieve stress and help you achieve inner peace. Another goal might be to work out for 30 minutes or to make a healthy lunch. These specific goals align well with the intention of making healthier choices.

When you are setting goals, you should remember the smart goals acronym. Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. You can use this method for both short- and long-term goals.

Your intentions aren’t any of those things, but knowing how you want to live can help guide you when you are making goals. That’s why starting with setting intentions is vital to goal setting. 

Resources For Setting Goals and Intentions

Although you don’t need anything to set intentions, a few things can be helpful. My favorite tools for setting intentions are a journal and colorful pens. It’s old school, but it works for me. 

I also love to write my intentions out on Post-it notes, attaching them to my mirror or something else I see daily (the fridge is a great place to remind yourself that you will make healthy choices!). 

Another great resource is a vision board. You can create a collage of the life you want to live and keep it in a place where you can see it regularly. This will help you visualize your dreams and make it easier to set intentions and goals for achieving them. 

Using Intentions to Live Your Dream Life

Now that you know how to set intentions and why they are essential, start using them! Start setting daily intentions today, and work towards living the life of your dreams.  


2 thoughts on “Setting Intentions: The Powerful Secret To Living Your Dream Life”

  1. I will allow myself to be human today is an excellent intention — really like that one a lot.

    I actually did something kind of different this year re: intentions…I’ve had one that I’ve kind of stuck with. It’s actually a line from a book (I think it was in Cold Tangerine’s by Shauna Niequist). “I choose to believe there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day.” I have it written on a post-it note in my bullet journal (it travels from weekly spread to weekly spread) and I have it written on my whiteboard at the office. It’s interesting how even just seeing those words every day encourages me to shift how I think…well, about the day.

    Anyway, great post!

    • Thank you! I think people often forget that they are allowed to make mistakes. I love that intention! It’s an elegant way of saying to be present in the moment. Thanks for reading!

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