Why Set Intentions?
You have an idea of what you want your day to look like, what you want to get done, how you'll handle juggling your needs with those of your family, and what work projects you'll complete. But somehow you get to the end of the day and you realize nothing went as you had hoped. Why not?
It's so easy to get swept up by the day to day activities and put off what you really need to get done. I'll play dinosaurs with Noah tomorrow. I'll call my mom after dinner. I'll finish that book next week. The laundry's done but you don't feel satisfied with your day when your head hits the pillow.
Instead of feeling unfulfilled, frustrated, and overwhelmed that you're not living each day in a way that fuels your soul and connects you with the people you love, wouldn't you rather smile as your head hits the pillow at the end of the night, satisfied with how you spent your time?
Studies show that just wishing or fantasizing about achieving your goal make it less likely you'll realize it, where expecting it to happen, being intentional with your thoughts made it more likely you would achieve it.
Setting intentions is not just about setting goals for the day, it goes much deeper. It is deciding why you want to do something and how it will make you feel. An intention can help you more closely align your goals with purpose in your life. Finding meaning and purpose, particularly during difficult times is one way to improve your emotional well-being.
How to set intentions
Start by asking yourself questions:
What do you want to accomplish today? What matters to you today?
What brings you joy and purpose?
What would you like to create and nurture in your life today?
How can you make today great?
Then set your intention. Say it out loud, write it down, draw it, sing about it, dance it out. Whatever makes you happy. Your great day is infinitely more likely to happen if you plan to make it great rather than just wish it happens.
Sharing it with your family
Setting intentions can work for your kids, too! Part of deepening your relationship with your children is understanding their goals and desire for their lives. You can help them develop skills to help them stay focused, have feelings of accomplishment and build confidence in their abilities. You can celebrate the small wins together, bringing more joy to both of your lives.
Here are a few ideas to guide your child in setting intentions:
As them questions.
What do you want to accomplish today or this week.
What will make you proud?
Who do you want to spend time with, who do you want to help?
Make it real.
Go further by asking it would make them feel to fulfill these intentions
Put it in writing.
If they are able, have them write it down. If not, you can write it down for them. Celebrate each win and adjust a timeline or goal if needed. Biew each unattained intention is an opportunity rather than a failure.
Create a family habit through encouragement and celebration. It can be part of your morning and bedtime routines.
Share your intention setting tips and ideas with us in the comments.
Disclaimer: I do not diagnose, treat, or prescribe for medical or mental illness with my online content. My views are my own and are not associated or representative of my employer(s). This blog is for educational purposes only and not medical advice.
Oettingen, G., & Wadden, T. A. (1991). Expectation, fantasy, and weight loss: Is the impact of positive thinking always positive? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 15(2), 167–175. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173206
Oettingen, Gabriele and Doris Mayer. The motivating function of thinking about the future: expectations versus fantasies. Journal of personality and social psychology 83 5 (2002): 1198-212 .