on setting intentions


May 25, 2020

Intentions, goals, habits, or whatever you like to call them, goal setting is a powerful habit that can help you find a direction for your everyday life. It’s only been within the past year or two that I’ve started setting intentions for myself on a regular basis and checking back on them later. For me, it’s a habit that keeps me mindful of my everyday actions to make sure I am using my time and energy towards becoming a person that I truly want to be.

One of the places that I learned a lot about the power of intention is Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. The fifth law, the law of intention and desire, explains that it is through the setting of intentions that the universe will align spontaneously to help you achieve your desires. When you set your intention out in the open, that intention automatically becomes part of your consciousness, and you and the universe around you start working towards that goal, whether you notice it or not.

So although he does make it sound a bit mystical, the idea is that that intention then becomes a part of your consciousness, and just by being more mindful of that intention, you begin moving your everyday actions towards that higher purpose. For me, this extra attention to the goal that is sitting in the back of my head pushes me to pursue the things that support these intentions. I should mention that these intentions are not the same as a to-do list! They might start to influence your to do list, for example if you have a goal to establish your own business within the year, your to do list will start to reflect that intention as you take steps towards it. However, the difference is that intentions shouldn’t be so easily checked off, they are something to continuously work towards as a way to better yourself, rather than a list of responsibilities that you feel you need to accomplish. So with that in mind, this is how I use intentions on a daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. I keep track of it all in my bullet journal as a way to keep it all together in one place. This is just how I do it and we all have different ways of doing this. I would love to hear about how you set goals and keep yourself accountable for them in the comments!

daily intentionsHannaDotzenroth_habittracker.jpgDaily intentions for me come into play in the form of a habit tracker and wellness goals. My habit tracker has become a consistent goal setting tool for me as I can set it up at the beginning of the month with habits that I want to develop over that month. Then every morning when I wake up, I already know that list of goals right off the bat because it doesn’t change everyday. Along with that, I’ve started using a daily wellness goal to place a focus on one of these habits everyday, because sometimes, trying to complete every single habit everyday can be a bit much. By focusing instead on just one, as long as I’ve completed that one goal by the end of the day, I feel like I’ve accomplished all I needed to.

Building your list of habits at the beginning of each month seems like a lot as there might be so many things you want to work on. What I’ve started doing is looking at my larger yearly or monthly intention and setting habits that reflect that intention. For example, my larger intention for this year was to work on mindfulness in my everyday life, so every month so far, I have set meditation and journaling as a daily habit to track. Because although yearly intentions can seem large and broad, they are accomplished through everyday actions.

monthly intentionsHannaDotzenroth_monthlyintentions.jpgWhile setting up my bullet journal for each month, I usually set three intentions of things I want to work on or think about during this month. Sometimes they reflect the season that we are moving into like taking more walks outside in the spring, or sometimes they are things that I noticed I didn’t do much of last month. What works best for me has been setting this page up opposite to my habit tracker so that at the end of each day as I am filling out my habit tracker, I read my monthly intentions as well in order to keep myself responsible for them. Reading your intentions before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning helps keep them at the front of your mind so that you continuously move towards your goals throughout your day.

quarterly intentionsHannaDotzenroth_quarterlyintentionsIn my own journal, I keep a future log for 3 or 4 months at a time and have started setting intentions within this time frame as well. What is good about this for me is that it doesn’t mean looking at the whole entire year at once, it allows me to break it down in to the foreseeable future in which I have a better idea of what is going to happen already (except for when a global pandemic hits welp). So that as the year progresses and things change, I can change these goals every couple months instead of being stuck to a goal that might not suit the season we are in.

For this set of intentions, I break them up to specific sections of my life, for example school, work, relationships, creativity etc. This is the only place that I put area specific goals because I find it usually takes me a couple months to complete a full project or learn something new. Within these areas, the goals might be as broad as “work on opening up more” or as specific as “make a certain amount of paintings.” What’s important is that they reflect the season and can change throughout the year as I grow and learn more.

yearly intentionsHannaDotzenroth_yearlyintentions.jpgWithin the past couple years, I’ve started using yearly intentions more broadly. This means setting a word or maybe a phrase that I want to bring into all aspects of my life on a broad scale. As I said earlier, the word for this year was mindfulness. Around this I set one or two things that I could do all year long to reflect this word, but other wise, I left it up to my monthly and quarterly goals to make more specific habits that would incorporate mindfulness into my intentions.

By making it like a funnel effect where the longer the intention, the broader it is, I find it reflects the nature of the intentions as they are put into action on a daily basis, not always on a yearly or quarterly basis. By putting your intentions into practice on an everyday scale, it eliminates the tendency to just put it off until tomorrow or next month, and it makes you responsible for your everyday actions. Because it is these small actions that come together to make up the larger steps towards your big goals.

I hope this gave you some insight into how setting intentions has helped me and how this might be able to help you reach your goals as well. Let me know how you use intentions within your life! From the small everyday actions to the larger yearly intentions, they all start from the mindset of growth. Keep growing!

Take care till next time!