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INTENTION SETTING

HOW-TO | SETTING INTENTIONS

September 24, 2021

You’ve chosen your WORD, so what's next?

Choosing a WORD means that you have an idea of a change that you want to implement in your life (i.e. you want to be brave, show more love, have more confidence, take control back, be more grateful…etc.).

But how do you implement these changes? How can you actively incorporate your WORD into your daily life?

In this blog, we’ll break down all the elements of intention-setting and help you discover how:

- your WORD and intention are interconnected

- setting goals are an important part of understanding your intention

- establishing productive routines help you to form good habits that push you toward your goals

- this cycle leads back to the WORD you’ve chosen - helping you to live your WORD

For a more interactive practice, download our Intention Setting Worksheet and fill out your answers as you go through each step:

Download Worksheet

What's Your WORD?

You’ve chosen your WORD, so you have an idea of what change you want to implement or what connection you’d like to strengthen. (i.e. you want to be brave, show more love, have more confidence, take control back, be more grateful…etc.)

Now it’s time to set that intention. Ask yourself: Why this WORD? Why now?

You set an informal intention when you chose your WORD, but it’s important that you clarify to yourself what you want this WORD to help you with. According to the MindTools Content Team, it’s important to note that intentions have no real time frame, unlike the goals and habits you will create; an intention is something that you want to become more aware of.

So, what’s your intention? Take a moment to think about this.

Here is a recurring example that will be used to help guide you through the process of your own intention-setting journey:

Deepak Chopra mentions that “like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.”

While it is important for us to set our intentions and be conscious of what we want to work towards, it is equally important that we do not force outcomes or expect immediate results. By putting a conscious intention out into the world and letting go of expectations, you’re allowing yourself to be open to new possibilities as they enter your life. 

Set Your Goals

Now that you know your WORD and intention, it’s time to set goals that will help you work toward that intention. This is another conscious way that you can help your intention to grow without forcing immediate results.

There are two types of goals in this practice:
Lifetime Goals and SMART Goals (MindTools)

Lifetime goals are what you see when you’re looking at the BIG PICTURE. These can be anything relating to school, work, relationships, health, or personal aspirations.
(i.e. you want to be CEO of a company, find your spouse, or graduate college...etc.)

These "bigger" goals require smaller, more attainable goals to be set first.

These smaller goals are SMART:
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-Bound

View the graphic below to see how a Big Picture Goal can be broken down into smaller SMART goals:

Forming Habits & Creating a Routine

According to Leon Ho, CEO of Lifehack, a habit consists of a cue that triggers a routine that leads to a reward. 

Use your new MyIntent token as your cue that reminds you of your intention. Your cue is not meant to overwhelm you or make you feel like you’re not accomplishing enough - it is simply meant to encourage you as you work towards your goals.

The British Journal of General Practice lists five main steps required to form a healthy habit (Gardner, et al.)

Form Healthy Habits:
1. Note what your goals are.
2. Decide what action you want to take to work toward that goal.
3. Choose a time and place that this action will take place on a daily basis.
4. Complete the action at the decided time and place.
5. Within about ten weeks, this action will have become an automatic action - a habit.

View the graphic below to see how creating a routine can help you form good habits that help you work toward your goals:

Being conscious of what you want to change, and following the steps to make those changes will take time and effort, but with consistent and daily practice, it will become your routine.

Once you’ve formed good habits and have practiced them on a regular basis, you will find that they’ve become a part of your daily routine. Now, this is not to say that you won’t ever have obstacles or that you will follow your routine perfectly every time. This is where your MyIntent token can serve as a daily reminder and visual cue for you to stay on track and focus on your goals.

Wendy O'Leary, from Mindful, highlights the importance of checking in with yourself periodically. Ask yourself whether your intention still resonates with you.

Are you still actively living your WORD?

If your WORD no longer resonates with you, that’s ok. Maybe you’ve fulfilled your intention; maybe it is something that no longer serves you. Let the cycle begin again and choose a new WORD for the next chapter in your life.

Intention-setting isn’t supposed to make you feel forced or locked-in to the same goal forever. It’s a personal journey made just for you. At any time, you can change your intention, find a new WORD, and “recommit” to a new process. 

What's Your WORD?

There is no set time limit on your WORD or your intention.
Choosing to be more kind, more courageous, more confident are timeless intentions.


You might feel overwhelmed - how will I know when I’m the kindest or the bravest or the most self-assured person?

Don’t worry. This is not a competition;  your journey is solely based on how you feel as you check off your goals. Maybe you’ll find a new WORD in the middle of the process that speaks to you more than your previous WORD and helps you to narrow down your goals even further. Maybe your WORD will stick for a week or a few months - or maybe it will be WORD that remains ongoing over the years.

No matter what your journey looks like, celebrate the small victories along the way. Find people that will support you, hold you accountable to your WORD, and cheer you on along the way.

You’ve already taken the first step - you’ve chosen your WORD - now, it’s time to do the inner-work. You’ve got this. 

SOURCES

For more information on Intention Setting and Forming Good Habits, check out the sources below:

Chopra, Deepak. “5 Steps to Setting Powerful Intentions.” Chopra, Chopra, 2 June 2021, https://chopra.com/articles/5-steps-to-setting-powerful-intentions.

Gardner, Benjamin, et al. “Making Health Habitual: The Psychology of 'Habit-Formation' and General Practice.” British Journal of General Practice, British Journal of General Practice, 1 Dec. 2012, https://bjgp.org/content/62/605/664.full.

Ho, Leon. “The Psychology of Habit Formation (and How to Hack It).” Lifehack, Lifehack, 27 Aug. 2021, https://www.lifehack.org/889303/habit-formation.

Mind Tools Content Team. “Personal Goal Setting: – Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.” How to Set SMART Goals - from MindTools.com, https://www.mindtools.com/page6.html.

O’Leary, Wendy. “A 4-Step Practice to Awaken Your Intention.” Mindful, 17 Aug. 2020, https://www.mindful.org/4-ways-to-awaken-your-intention/