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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.
Setting Intentions Vs Setting Goals
People often confuse intention setting with goal setting. Although the two practices are similar, they do differ in key ways. An intention is a plan for how you want to be and live your life. There is no measurable achievement.
A goal is exactly that though, an achievement that you wish to attain. Once you achieve that result, your goal is accomplished. In my opinion, 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 give you actionable steps to get there.
Why is Setting Intentions Important?
It’s important to set intentions 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 chose things in your daily life that correspond with that intention – happiness.
Setting intentions will help you get in 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.
How Do You Set Daily Intentions?
Setting daily intentions is actually really easy. There’s no special trick to it. All you really have to do to set an intention is tell yourself that you’re setting it. But you must do it with mindfulness. Saying that you’re going to be happy today when you have no intention of actually doing anything different isn’t going to work.
I’ve found that writing my intentions down in a journal really helps me see them as real. Repeating the intentions to myself out loud also improves my ability to follow through. These two acts prepare your mind and body to follow through on your intentions, and get you in the right headspace to work towards your desires.
What Are Some Good Intentions?
The main question you are probably asking yourself is what are some intentions that you should set to help you achieve your goals? The answer depends on what your life goals are. Intentions will help you live your best life, but you need to know what that looks like before setting them.
Remember, an intention isn’t going to be as specific as a goal is. Perhaps your goal is to lose 10 pounds. That’s measurable and achievable, correct? It isn’t an intention. But 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 every day.
“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 happier about the things you do 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 make an effort to choose happiness.
“I will do my best today”
It doesn’t matter if your best is running a marathon or just getting out of bed. The important thing is 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 that you actually want to do them? Maybe it’s time to live your life for you. Set a daily intention to live your life 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.
These are just a small handful of intentions that you can set for yourself – there are so many more. The best intentions for you really depend on what you want to achieve.
Setting and Achieving Goals
Although not exactly the same thing, goal setting is closely related to intention setting. I see setting intentions as a first step towards setting and achieving your goals. Let’s go back to our example of the intention “I will make healthy choices today” and see how it relates to setting specific goals.
You can set a number of different goals that would fall in line with this mantra. You might make a goal to do 10 minutes of mediation 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. All of these specific goals line up well with the intention of making healthier choices.
When you are setting goals, you should remember the smart goals acronym. Smart goals are goals that 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 it’s more important to start with setting intentions than to start with setting goals.
Resources For Setting Goals and Intentions
I also love to write my intentions out on post-it notes, and attach them to my mirror or something else that I see everyday (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 for you 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 important, start using them! Start setting daily intentions today, and work towards living the life of your dreams. That’s the entire point of financial independence, isn’t it?
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.