How To Set An Intention & Why I Like Intentions More Than Goals

 Guide to Intention Setting

Before we dive into the fun stuff, I just want to put it out there that I’m by no means the end-all-be-all expert on intention setting. I’m not following anyone else’s method or saying that my way of setting an intention is any better than anyone else’s.

My goal is that if you’re new to intention setting and curious about it, this post is a handy guide for getting started. I hope you customize this process to your own life as much as you’d like. That’s what puts the power and magic sauce into these mindfulness practices. It’s about making them fun, making them your own and truly believing in what you’re doing, not because “Georgie said so” or any other expert is telling you what to do.

And if it feels good, feel free to apply that same mentality to any personal growth or spiritual practice. Again there are no brownie points for the person who does everything by the book. All these tools are just tools trying to help you be more YOU. (So to do them your own way is awesome.)

What is an intention?

Ok, first things first, what’s an intention? Webster’s Dictionary defines an intention as “a determination to act in a certain way.” I define an intention as a purposeful awareness of how you want to experience something. It’s about how you want to act and also how you want to feel.

Long story short: an intention is purposefully deciding how you want something to feel.

Quick example… maybe you have a meeting with your boss to negotiate a raise. You could set the intention of “I intend to own my value.” Intentions aren’t about denying or pushing away real feelings, instead, they are about choosing what you want to focus on. It’s ok to feel nervous and worthy at the same time. You’re not denying the nerves, you’re just directing your focus on how worthy you feel.

Why I’m Drawn to Intention Setting

It’s like a post-it note reminder for our brain

I like to think about it kind of like picking a Spotify playlist. You want to be surprised by the songs and maybe discover some new songs but you know the kind of music you like and want to hear more of. Instead of shuffling every song in the universe and accidentally listening to death metal when you love pop, it’s saying “hey universe I love me some pop and I’d like to listen to more of that.” You’re choosing the mood you want the music to be and you’re aware of how that music makes you feel.

An intention is like that. It’s setting the mood and the vibe for your brain.

I like to set intentions for the day or month or a specific experience because it reminds me to be present versus going on autopilot. It helps me make the most of a situation versus reacting to default programming.

Goals vs Intentions; What’s the Difference

The difference between setting a goal versus setting an intention is that a goal is about achieving a specific outcome, whereas an intention is about setting a specific mindset or feeling. The reason I stopped focusing on goals so much is that I realized, the reason I want to achieve a specific goal is that I want to feel a certain way. For example, say I want to earn $80,000 in a year. The reason I want that specific goal is because I want to feel secure, have fun, feel abundant, and be able to be generous with my money.

But guess what? I can focus on feeling that outcome and totally skip over the specific number. How? By setting an intention. The best part? When you’re not so focused on the specific achievement you open the door to so many more possibilities and outcomes. You might make more money, you might be able to find all those feelings through other opportunities that aren’t tied to a dollar amount that actually make you much more joyful.

If you stick to a specific detailed goal you might be able to achieve it without achieving how you want to feel. What if you got that $80,000 and were miserable the whole time? Or do you get there in an unsustainable way? Or have you compromised your values?

Why do we need to narrow down our desires and joy to such specific goals? Another reason I love intentions so much more than goal setting is that the focus is always on how you’re feeling throughout the process. It isn’t about hustling and being miserable just to get to the end. Because I can tell you from experience as a former serial goal setter that I usually busted my ass then got to my goal and many times I felt totally let down after that initial high.

If we don’t feel good on the journey, usually a specific outcome isn’t going to magically make us feel better. And if it does, it’s usually a fleeting feeling. Intention setting is fun, and sustainable and opens us up to so much more surprise, delight, and magic in our lives.

How To Set an Intention

1.) CHOOSE THE SEGMENT OF TIME OR EXPERIENCE YOU WANT TO SET THE INTENTION FOR

For example, one day, a meeting, the month, a moon cycle. Whatever feels right to you.

2.) VISUALIZE THE PROCESS AND THINK ABOUT HOW YOU’D LIKE TO FEEL

Think about what areas of your life are going really well. Why is that? How do you feel about them and why? Would you want that same feeling in other aspects of your life? That’s a great place to get started.

When you’re first starting with intention setting it can be hard to find the right words or feelings. We’re so conditioned in our society that feelings only occur because of circumstances. However, that doesn’t have to be true. If we set the “vibe” first, then the circumstances will occur in a more meaningful positive way. Why should we have to wait to feel how we want?

3.) CREATE A LIST OF WORDS THAT ALIGN WITH THAT FEELING

I think it can be helpful to write a master list of intentions to help when you’re feeling lost or stuck. Trust that everyone’s desires are allowed to be different and they’re also allowed to change and evolve. Having a list to draw from adds ease to the process.

4.) NARROW IT DOWN TO ONE OR TWO INTENTIONS

I would recommend choosing one or two intentions at a time. I know it’s so hard to narrow down sometimes. However, I’ve found over and over again when I try to focus on too much a.) I can’t remember what the intention I wanted to set was and b.) I get overwhelmed.

Part of the process is narrowing and focusing so if you start with a list of 10 things don’t throw it away, keep it for the next month or moon cycle and see how you feel without needing to do everything all at once.

Another benefit with fewer intentions is that you can see the power of them more easily. If you focus on one word for a whole month it’s much easier to see how that worked for you than spreading yourself so thin.

HELPFUL TOOLS TO SUPPORT YOU:

These tools are here to support you. They are not mandatories for setting an intention. You don’t need to do any of these practices, only do them if they feel aligned and fun.

1.) CHOOSE A CRYSTAL TO INFUSE WITH YOUR INTENTION.

When you hold it repeat your intention. Every time you pick up that crystal or look at it remind yourself of that intention.

2.) MEDITATE FOCUSING ON YOUR INTENTION.

3.) JOURNAL YOUR INTENTION

You can do a full journaling exercise about your intention or simply write it down somewhere important every day so you can see it and feel the act of writing it.

4.) REFLECT

After your set amount of time or experience reflect on how that intention colored what you went through. Did it help? How? Do you want to update your intention moving forward or stay with that same intention?

Need a Little Inspiration to Get Started?

I love this deck: Affirmations… and I also love using angel cards: Make them for free

There are no right or wrong ways to use these cards. They are great tools to guide you whenever you might need them. Personally, I spread the deck out and use my left hand (the receiving energy) and choose a card based on how I feel – allow your hand to choose versus overthinking it. I find that it’s extra powerful to keep the card with me and write the word down.

Source: init4thelongrun.com ~ By: ~ Image: QuoteFancy

Why setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals

Intention is more than wishful thinking. It's willful direction. Jennifer Williamson

It’s that time of the year…where everything is about goals (and reindeer!).

Career goals, life goals, business goals, and, of course, resolutions.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I lived by goal setting — and told others it was the way to go.

But I have to tell you a secret. I found something better to help achieve whatever you want to do and go wherever you want to go.

Setting intentions.

Sure, nothing beats a goal when you want to get things done. But an intention goes way deeper than that: it’s a powerful tool to boost your inner strength. And if you’re determined to grow through your actions, then an intention could be the key to unlocking a lifelong habit of excellence.

Here’s why setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals.

Goals or intentions?

Let’s have a look at definitions.

Goal: “An aim or desired result”.
Simply put: what you concretely achieve.

Intention: “Something that you want and plan to do”.
In essence: the process you go through until you get to “what you concretely achieve”.

I like to see goals as a practical, efficient way to see the future. Want to stay on track and hit a result? Then set a goal!

Setting goals works so well because it’s part of a cognitive process of planning and analyzing. It gives you full control over how you’re going to move from A to B. And your brain loves that. It rewards you with feel-good hormones such as dopamine each time you engage in the process.

Sounds great? But in the meantime, life happens. You find it hard to increase willpower and self-discipline and stick to the plan. When the time comes to evolve from motivation to resilience, it’s difficult to follow through.

If you’ve ever been stuck and found it difficult to embrace a positive perspective, then setting intentions could be a magic shift for you. Because your intentions support goals from the inside.

Setting intentions is the act of stating what you intend to accomplish through your actions. It’s a commitment to what you want the journey to be about as you move on or move up.

When you are intentional about something, your focus is in the moment: who you are, what you do, why you do it. And it requires presence along the way, checking inside as you work on the outside.

This is why setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals. Intentions bring a special quality of focus. They act as a powerful reminder of the bigger perspective. And they trigger introspection: result aside, what am I hoping to gain from the process?

The difference between setting intentions and defining goals

Let’s be practical. I will use one of my favorite examples (because I hear it every week): “I want to stand on my head”.

[If you’re not into yoga, believe me, people do want to do that. Badly.]

Let’s set a goal: achieve Shirshasana (aka headstand) and balance on your head for a good 30 seconds.

With that end result in mind, you’re going to practice hard, try (and fall, many times). Experience frustration (why others and not me) or even fear: what if the upside down is full of monsters? (Not kidding. For your brain, body upside down = scary thing).

Weeks, months or years later, high fives and champagne out, you’re finally upside down, noticing that (1) there are no monsters out there and (2) you need to carefully adjust your eyesight otherwise you squint.

How many of you would say “I made it!”? And think of the next thing to run after?

How many of you rejoice and then deconstruct the process: building upper body strength, overcoming fear, or developing the grit to stick to something that matters to you?

Now, let’s see what setting an intention would look like: simply to know how it feels to balance on your head.

You’re likely to pay attention to each moment where you get one inch closer to the end result. Notice that split second where you could lift your feet off the ground? What was missing to do more than 1 wobbly second? Is it balance? Strength? Lack of focus? Fear of monsters in the upside down?

Bear with me: we haven’t achieved the full 30-second headstand yet. But part of the result is real already. You’re in it. You have a high degree of awareness of the whole process. You integrate the benefits as you work on your target, no matter what the end result looks like, no matter when it becomes real. Your intention supports your goal 100%.

I’ll say it again, goals are great to get things done. But I know human nature well enough to tell you that they can be a trap. A trap where you focus so much on the outcome that you ignore the journey, its lessons, and the joy of going through it.

That’s why I think setting intentions is the way to achieve your goals.

How to work with intentions

Let me share with you how I do it for myself. Usually, setting intentions is for me a process that follows 4 principles:

    • Always a positive affirmation
    • Always on the back of a wider goal
    • Always at a regular frequency
    • Always part of a small ritual

Each month, I have a bit of quiet time (check this infographic 5 minute mindfulness rituals for leaders to know what to do). Then I have a look at my goals and I get to work with my intentions.

As my holistic view of life is to align whatever I do with body, heart, mind, and soul, I tend to do that with intentions, too.

Goal: go to bed at 10 pm 4x / week.
Body intention: I am rested and energized.

Goal: end a relationship with a partner in business who doesn’t meet my standards. Nicely.
Heart intention: I am compassionate towards people who don’t share my values

Goal: secure a new contract with a wellness supplier.
Mind intention: I am focused and address one obstacle after the other.

Goal: stop for 5 minutes each day and do some breathing work.
Soul intention: I am in tune with my feelings.

___________________________

I remind myself about my intentions every day. I review progress on my goals every week.

Setting intentions on the back of your goals can act like magic. Because you bring a wider perspective of growing through your actions. You get into a self-exploration routine. And you do so each time you analyze your results.

How? By giving your inner leader a voice to ask ”is there another way to do this?” each time you feel stuck.

How Being Intentional Can Improve Your Life

How Being Intentional Can Improve Your Life

Living intentionally is more than just a trend. Being intentional with your actions, words, and lifestyle can help you get off autopilot and work towards achieving your goals.

Daily life is full of tasks, and work-life balance is hard to keep up. Living intentionally can help you take time for yourself and avoid the types of stressors that set you off. Think about your actions and how they’ll affect your well-being — and the well-being of others around you.

Over 50% of employees say they have a moderate stress level, and this number rose between 2016 and 2020. Being intentional is one way to mitigate that stress. No matter what life stage you’re at, approaching tasks and decisions with intention is a great way to be more present and build a life that you feel proud of.

If you want to become more intentional as part of your self-improvement journey, here’s what you need to know.

What does it mean to be intentional?

Intentional choices are deliberate and purposeful decisions. Living intentionally means thinking ahead and making choices based on your values, beliefs, and goals. People who live with intention try not to act on impulse, but instead, think ahead and choose things that affect their lives positively.

To start living an intentional life, you need a clear understanding of your purpose and passions. Then you can set goals to guide your choices. These could include anything that affects your life positively: improving your relationships, working on your financial wellness, or getting the promotion you’ve been working toward.

Being intentional could also mean writing in a journal instead of scrolling on your phone, or choosing to move to a new city when the old one stops feeling like home. Intentionality looks different to everyone, and it’s up to you to set your goals and decide what’s important to you.

It’s impossible to be intentional and make the right decisions every time, but putting in the effort can get you on the right track. Making intentional choices helps you build good habits and find your purpose.

Why is being intentional important?

Making intentional choices can improve mental fitness and help you surround yourself with the things that matter to you.

Living intentionally can also:

    1. Reduce stress: Making value-based decisions can help improve well-being. When your decisions focus on goals, you’ll get closer to achieving them — and usually, that means avoiding the things that stress you out.
    2. Boost resilience: One study showed that when college students practiced intentional decision-making, they experienced increased levels of resilience.
    3. Improve focus: Being intentional means making actions that matter to you, and removing distractions from your life — like people with toxic traits — can help you focus. Clear your mind and concentrate on the people and things that are truly important to you.
    4. Become more present: Intentional decisions center on what’s happening in your life right now and how you want to improve it, instead of worrying about what-ifs.
    5. Encourage optimism: Being intentional also means focusing on the good things you already have. Practicing gratitude can help you develop a positive perspective and build hope for the future.
    6. Set healthy boundaries: An intentional mindset helps you to say no to people and situations that drain your energy. When you protect your energy, you choose experiences that bring you joy and comfort.

Skills for intentional living

Being intentional in your daily life requires consistent effort. Making intentional actions a habit is easier said than done, but those little decisions will add up. Here are some skills to focus on for an intentional lifestyle.

    • Self-awareness: Examine your behavior to see whether your actions match your core values and priorities. Self-reflection techniques can help you develop the insight you need to get in touch with your emotions and decisions.
    • Gratitude: When you’re grateful for the things you have, you can better recognize and later prioritize them. Setting up a regular gratitude practice is a good way to start.
    • Organization: Tidying your space and scheduling your time intentionally leads to a more purposeful day-to-day routine. Staying organized boosts concentration and helps you get more done to reach your goals.
    • Determination: Building an intentional life can be challenging, and everybody makes mistakes. Determination and resilience are important skills on the path to intentional living — especially when things don’t go your way.

10 ways to be more intentional

Challenge yourself to incorporate one or two intention-building habits into your schedule. Even small steps can improve your life. Here are a few simple ways to learn how to be intentional and create practices that help you reach your goals.

1. Set measurable goals

Knowing your values and setting clear goals based on those values will help you live more intentionally. If you want to become more generous, find ways to involve generosity in your daily choices, and set measurable intentions. Try doing at least one generous thing every day or for a different person in your life every week.

Think about times you’ve been generous in the past: being there for an upset friend, volunteering your time on the weekends, or donating money to charity. Reflecting on these events visualizes your progress and gives you an idea of how to improve.

2. Establish a daily routine

Create consistent, intentional morning and evening routines to bookend your day. Intentional habits that structure your day around your goals will move you closer to them. If one of your priorities is to develop healthier eating habits, you could prepare a healthy breakfast before getting ready for bed.

Making this part of your routine matches your intention to eat healthy. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making breakfast in the morning and can instead focus on another intentional action, like practicing gratitude or exercising.

3. Strengthen your relationships

Finding time to invest in your most important relationships can be tricky when you’re feeling overwhelmed with day-to-day living. But strong, healthy connections with supportive people are a great way to stay accountable and feel encouraged when it comes to intentional living.

Spend time with the family and friends who support you, and distance yourself from the people who stress you out.

4. Make a vision board

Creating a visual representation of your goals reminds you of what you’re working toward. Build a vision board that focuses on your goals, whether they’re career-related, financial, or extracurricular.

Add images and quotations that match to remind you what you’re working toward and why. Even a sticky note on your mirror can be enough to remind you.

5. Declutter your space

Think about the items that populate the spaces you use the most, like your office or bedroom. If they don’t add value, pass them along to friends or donate them to charity. You’ll free up space for things that make you happy.

The knick-knacks on your desk might look nice, but they could distract you from being intentional at work and entering a good flow state.

6. Make deliberate spending choices

It can be fun and exciting to buy new things, but spending too much can drain your finances and clutter your home. Instead, spend money on items and experiences that match your values.

If you’re focused on improving your office space, treat yourself to a better desk chair instead of new clothes you’ll never wear. This will improve your financial wellness and let you spend on what really matters.

7. Don’t waste time

It’s easy to stretch yourself thin. There are only 24 hours in the day, so use them wisely, and remember to take time for yourself. Try not to say “yes” to things that don’t serve you and your goals. If you’re tired and want to prioritize rest, it’s okay to say no to a late-night party.

Spend your limited time on the things that matter most to you: your relationships, goals, and priorities.

8. Monitor your mental health

Be aware of your emotions and state of mind. Automatic thoughts and feelings shouldn’t be ignored or repressed. They’re a sign that something is out of balance, and you need to address that.

If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, try to find the root of the problem and seek help if you need to.

9. Focus on yourself

Your life is your own, and your opinion is the most important one. Try not to worry about disappointing others or what people think. It’s okay to ask friends, family, and mentors for advice. But if you’re too worried about their words, or their opinions taking you further from what matters, refocus.

Remind yourself that your needs and goals take priority.

10. Stay positive

You can’t make lasting changes if you’re always thinking in the negative. Change your mindset and start looking for the positives. Even if you made a mistake, you learned something from it, which is a good thing. You don’t have to be happy all the time — nobody is.

But even when facing challenging times, a positive mental attitude can make a difference, especially when it comes to intentional living.

Start living intentionally

Being intentional every day takes practice. Keep your end goals at the forefront of everything you do, from making breakfast in the morning to accepting a job offer. The more you make intentional decisions, the easier it becomes.

It’s never too late to focus on the actions that matter to you. Start small and build up from there, Tidy up your office, replace an old appliance, or do a digital detox — whatever it takes to focus your energy and place yourself on a path that excites you.

Source: betterup.com ~ By Allaya Cooks-Campbell ~ Image: Canva Pro

10 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
If you’re gearing up for a new year — and a “new you” — in 2024, you’re in good company. Even top health experts admit they want to take better care of their bodies and minds. Wondering how they stay on track? You’re in luck. We asked nine experts, from doctors to dietitians, how they stay motivated to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Here are their top tips.

1. Get your priorities straight.

Every year, I set a few goals, but I use a tier-like system. At the top are goals I absolutely have to complete (this year, it’s being more mindful). Next are those I want to complete, and finally, I set a stretch goal that would be nice to complete by the end of the year (like completing a century ride or marathon). Often, I choose goals based on the previous year and how I can make my life easier or more enjoyable the next year. I recommend taking the time to write down what you want and why. (For example, being mindful helps me re-center and remember what counts in my busy life.) Keep that list somewhere visible, read or look at it daily, and remember the reason you’re taking this journey.— Brunilda Nazario, MD, associate medical director at WebMD

2. Go easy on yourself.

I view all new habits as an experiment rather than a judgment on my worthiness or skills. Meaning, I don’t beat myself up if something doesn’t stick the first time I try it. Instead, I ask myself: What worked? What didn’t work? And what could I do differently next time to achieve better results? I do this until I have a clear understanding of what stops me from doing something and what keeps me from doing it, then I make sure those conditions are met. If I can make it so action is easy and rewarding enough to do regularly, then I win.— Darya Rose, Ph.D., author of Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting

3. Take small steps.

Scheduling small steps toward goals is the key to success. For example, I have set the goal of having dessert only 2 times per week (down from 4 times!) and going to yoga twice per week. For yoga, I will look at my calendar at the beginning of the week and see where I can fit it in. Even though sometimes this is challenging as a working mom, I will try my hardest to get it done. The hope is that after several weeks, it will become a good habit.

— Hansa Bhargava, MD, medical editor and expert pediatrician at WebMD

4. Remember the real goal.

People tend to forget what health is for. Health is not the prize — a better life is the prize. Healthy people have more fun: more vitality, more energy, more capability, more time. Once you understand how abundantly investments in health pay you back, staying motivated simply isn’t an issue.— David L. Katz, MD, founding director, Yale University Prevention Research Center

5. Make it a joint effort.

I do my best when I link my health goals with someone else. I exercise in the mornings with my husband. I don’t like to cancel on him, so it helps me drag myself out of bed. I want my kids to have healthy eating habits, which motivates me to make good choices with them when we’re out to dinner or snacking at home. And at the office, I like to walk and do yoga with co-workers. If I put it on my schedule, I have to go just like any other meeting!— Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, medical editor at WebMD

6. Track your progress daily.

I write my resolutions in a daily planner, then review and re-read them every day when I sit down to check my calendar. Each of my resolutions is quantifiable on a day-to-day basis, and I have direct control over my progress toward achieving them. For example, the common New Year’s resolution of “weight loss” is not actionable: You can’t wake up and “do” weight loss, but you can wake up and have eggs with a side of fruit. — Mike Roussell, PhD, nutritional consultant and author of The 6 Pillars of Nutrition

7. Thank your body.

Research shows that our mindset and overall approach to life have significant impacts on our health and well-being. Every time you hear a negative thought in your head (“I am fat, I am awful”), counter it with a positive one (“I am beautiful, I am wonderful”). It may feel weird at first, but over time, nurturing a positive voice strengthens it. Once you realize how hard your body is working to keep you alive 24/7, it makes sense to support it, giving it the tools it needs to be healthy such as eating a mostly plant-based diet, exercising, and managing stress.

— Samantha Heller, registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, and author of The Only Cleanse

8. Schedule it.

In 2017, I will include at least 10 minutes of daily meditation, as well as deep breathing exercises throughout the day. The best way I’ve found to keep myself accountable is through a regular schedule. So I include 10 minutes of meditation at the end of my daily physical activity. That way, I can ensure I work on both a healthy body and a healthy mind on a daily basis.— Michael Smith, MD, chief medical editor at WebMD

9. Find what’s fun for you.

Instead of making exercise a chore, I do what makes me happy. For me, that means a twice-weekly dance class at my gym. It’s fun, and that motivates me to show up each time!— Michelle Gielan, positive psychology researcher and author of Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive ChangeSource: webmd.com ~ By: Locke Hughes ~ Image: Canva Pro

What To Do if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

If you’re not in control of your iPhone or Android, here’s what to do.

    • Phones can be hacked through malware, phishing, and malicious code, just to name a few methods.
    • Jailbroken iPhones or rooted Android phones are easier to hack, as it removes most built-in safety guards.
    • Read our TotalAV antivirus review to learn how it can protect your phone from being hacked. It’s way more than just an antivirus.

The mere thought of someone else gaining access to our smartphone can be downright terrifying. In movies, we’re shown hackers as these mysterious figures in hoodies, capable of wreaking havoc with just a few keystrokes. But in reality, a hacked phone doesn’t have to be the end of the world. There are effective ways to regain control of your device and ensure your data stays secure.

So, what should you do if your phone has been hacked? Even better, how can you prevent hackers from gaining control of your devices in the first place? In this guide, we’ll answer these questions and more as we give you practical tips and insights to help you stay protected in the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape.

Top Prevention and Solution for a Hacked Phone

Using antivirus software is one of the best ways to not only kick a hacker out of your phone but also to prevent hacking in the first place. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing dozens of antivirus software, and from detecting trojans and backdoor programs to cleaning up trackers, these are the best options for the job:

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