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The Power of Intention

Four Steps for Setting an Intention

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Setting Your Intentions

Andy Reynolds / Getty Images

It’s time to change the way we think and speak about our dreams. Transforming a conversation, just like manifesting a dream, begins by setting an intention. Your intentions will assist you in taking greater control of your life.

A working definition for intention is: “to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim.” Lacking intention, we sometimes stray without meaning or direction. But with it, all the forces of the universe can align to make even the most impossible, possible. My intention is to transform the conversation around dreams from fear and doubt, to hope and possibility, followed by action and results.

Some might say this is not the right time to dream. The media and masses say, “It’s time to be realistic.” Consider this. Without our dreams all we have is our present reality. Reality is not a bad thing. We have to know where we are so we can design the appropriate strategy for getting to where we want to be. The challenge is our attitude around “reality” and being “realistic” and what being realistic has cost us. Often that’s our passion and joy, our hopes and dreams.

Given the unknowns and sometimes craziness of life, there’s never been a more important time to dream and setting your intention is the first step. When should you set an intention? You could set an intention every day. Your intention could be to work less and make more, or to find a new career that you are passionate about. It could be to get healthy and physically fit, or to spend more quality time with loved ones or alone. It can be specific and about something in particular or more like a quality, such as to be more relaxed or involved with life.

At seventy, Bessie set an intention to become a world famous photographer. Although many thought she was too old, she didn’t. She entered a photo contest where she won the first prize of $10,000. Her prize-winning photo toured around the world with a Kodak exhibit. She told me, “We’re never too old to make a dream come true.”

People set intentions on all kinds of dreams; to get married or have children, to get a job or make a career change, to write a book, lose weight, or move to a foreign country. When you set an intention and then act on it to demonstrate your commitment, amazing things occur. Intention can also give us fortitude for dealing with tough times. I am currently rebuilding my home. I simply wanted to add on a new bathroom, but with all the surprises an old (and charming) house can offer, every turn has been a shock, sometimes even a nightmare. It looks like the entire building may need to be rebuilt. My intention is to live through this process with dignity and grace. I am tested daily. It’s often not easy, but this intention has helped me maintain composure, sanity, and on a good day, a sense of humor. Intention can be used for community or social issues, global events or (literally) in your own backyard.

For example:

  • Before you get out of bed, you can intend to have a fun or productive day.
  • Before you leave the house, you can intend to have quality time with your family or roommate.
  • Before you start your car, you can intend to have a safe ride to work.
  • Before you enter your workplace, you can intend to learn something new or be helpful.
  • Before the meeting begins, you can intend to be brilliant or calm.

Four Intentional Steps:

1. Get clear about something you want and write it down.

2. Share your intention with someone in a way that will supportively hold you accountable to taking action.

3. Do something today to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.

4. Acknowledge that you did what you said you would and then, take the next step.

By setting an intention, you make it clear to yourself and others, just what you plan to do. Set an intention to redefine what it means to be serious about your dreams.

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