Setting an intention doesn’t have to be relegated to a champagne-fueled lark made on New Year’s Eve, which is then promptly abandoned by January 15th. In fact, I tend to think New Year’s resolutions are kind of pointless. They’re good in theory… but not so much in execution.
But setting monthly intentions… that’s something I can get behind.
Why to set intentions?
It’s a way to focus your mind + heart. It sets a positive tone for the month.
What setting intentions ISN’T:
- a to-do list. I don’t want to see “paint the bathroom” or “get my website up and running” on your list of intentions. Your intentions should bring your peace and joy, not anxiety and pressure.
- a list of quantitative goals. A goal is something you reach and then it’s over. Lose 10 pounds. Run 5 miles. Make your intentions positive behavioral changes that will continue to benefit you and enrich your life.
What setting intentions IS:
- a list of positive aspirations
- reminders to help you live your best life
- a blueprint to help you construct a blissful month + life
How to set your own intentions?
Step 1: Write them down. On a piece of paper. With a pen. Preferably in a journal or something you can come back to and re-read regularly. Or if you don’t journal, maybe you stick your list on your bathroom mirror where you’ll see it everyday.
Step 2: That’s it. Just write them down. Done.
For inspiration, here’s the list of intentions I set for myself this month:
1. Feel your emotions
Many folks, myself included, have a tendency to push emotions aside, especially the negative ones. I’m making an effort to truly feel all of my emotions, good bad, and ugly. It’s okay to be sad, frustrated, or angry. Just like it’s okay to be excited, hopeful, or proud. I want to feel, understand, and honor my emotions… and then I’ll be able to easily let them go when it’s time. No more burying feelings deep inside.
2. Say something nice to yourself every morning
Who doesn’t like to hear a compliment in the morning? It can set the tone for the whole day. I’m not going to wait for someone else to give me that boost. I’m going to give it to myself. “Hey girl, heeey! Dang girl, you sure know how to stretch those strong muscles!” You know… or something along those lines…
3. Make moving my body a priority
Because I know that I feel better about myself when I do. Note: not a quantitative goal. But instead, an intent to make exercise a part of everyday life.
4. Five minute meditation every day
I’m not going to begin to get into the benefits of daily meditation here. That’s a blog post for another day. But I’ve found that even though I know and preach the benefits of meditation, I still don’t have a consistent practice myself. I’d like to change that starting this month. And yes, you could make an argument that this is a “quantitative goal” that I just encouraged you NOT to make… but it isn’t a goal that can be reached really. It’s a behavioral change that just happens to have a time limit attached to it. Hey, this is my list of intentions, and it makes sense to me… just like your list of intentions should make sense to you!
This one might or might not happen in conjunction with my five minute daily meditation, which is why I gave it its own spot on my list. Chanting “om” centers me, grounds me, and leaves me feeling spacious inside. When I do a round of oms before bed, I lie down feeling peaceful and relaxed (it’s incredible what a sound can do!). If I happen to meditate before bed, the oms will be a natural ending to my meditation. But if I meditate during the day, I’ll still om it up before going to sleep. (If you want to know more about chanting om, Yoga Journal has a good beginner’s article here.)
6. Give someone a genuine compliment every day
“Genuine” being the key word here. It makes me happy to bring happiness to someone else. And that can be as simple as telling a person something I admire about them. In a way, this intention goes along with my first intention– to feel my emotions. If I’m with someone and I’m thinking something kind, encouraging, or positive about them… I want to share that with them, not keep it to myself.
7. Believe in myself
Big one here. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’ve recently taken a BIG leap of faith and resigned from my job in order to pursue my dreams (and if you don’t, you can find all the details here). Believing in myself is pretty key for me right now.
Because smiling is my favorite. (Bonus points for naming that movie!)
It isn’t too late to set your own intentions for September. Whether you make one, five, or ten intentions, setting them is the first step in designing a more blissful month.