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Setting Powerful Daily Intentions: 15 Examples and Tips
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When beginning each day there are a few powerful techniques that can dramatically improve your overall experience of life. If you’re seeking goals like fulfilling relationships, physical wellness, less stress, and creative achievements, daily intentions can help you focus your thoughts, cultivate positive attitudes, and take meaningful actions.
All too often we find ourselves going through the motions at work and home. We’re seemingly floating from one mundane task to the next and distracting ourselves in between.
Creating a list of daily intentions can generate a positive, growth-oriented mindset while helping you stay accountable to your deepest values and highest self.
What are Daily Intentions?
A daily intention is both a goal and a commitment to yourself.
Where goals on their own can be measured from the outside, intentions are aimed at promoting well-being along each step of the journey towards your goals.
A common goal mindset can follow the SMART framework which is very task orientated. SMART stands for:
Each part of this framework is abstract and quantifiable–you can see them all from the outside. And they’re all important keys achieving your goals. However, when hyper-focusing on these ‘goal’ factors it can be easy to lose connection with the deep callings and needs of the body and the heart.
Intentions bring balance to a goal-oriented mindset. They help you focus inward and embody the sense of well-being and wholeness that no outward achievement can provide on its own.
Intentions of Religions
Looking back in time you can see intentions as a central part of major religions. Christians are taught to be kind, loving, and accepting in the example of Jesus Christ.
Buddhists intend to reduce personal desires and become more compassionate towards others in order to end the suffering inherent in the inevitable cycle of desire, attachment, and loss.
The common thread here is the intention of being a certain way or embodying a quality rather than getting something.
Why Set Daily Intentions?
Intentions can bring greater satisfaction into every moment. For example,
“I deserve to feel good” can help you notice and reduce shaming or critical internal voices that lock you in familiar patterns of feeling bad about yourself.
And here’s the key to why we set daily intentions–we use them to break patterns that are no longer serving us, and to create new patterns of self-perception and experience that lead to greater life satisfaction and joy.
Intentions and Goals
Intentions come in many forms and they will be different for each person depending on your life experiences, your values, and your visions for the future.
And though intentions focus on inner experience, they generally align with and can hasten the achievement of outward goals.
For example, “today I aim to focus on the quality of my work more than the quantity” can help you enjoy your work more while doing a better overall job that’s recognized and rewarded by colleagues, clients, and superiors.
Daily Intentions and Flow
When our intentions align with our goals they guide us into challenges that we have an interest in and aptitude for.
This special place where values, abilities, and challenges meet can result in a deeply satisfying experience called a “flow state”
Flow state is a term coined by positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s defined as a state of absolute absorption within an equally enjoyable and challenging task. 
But to get there, defining the goal is not enough. The goal has to resonate with our deeper selves–our values, pleasures, and abilities. And that’s where daily intentions are essential.
By intending to stay true to your inner experience, you can become attuned to your true calling. This results in a greater chance that you will make life choices that will lead you to achievable and truly satisfying goals that you chose for yourself.
With powerful daily intentions, it’s less likely that you will chase goals that others think are valuable but that doesn’t resonate with you.
The power of daily intentions is expressed in the quote by world-renowned author and motivational speaker, Fabienne Fredrickson: “When you have clarity of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen.”
Neuroplasticity: The Science of Intention
Let’s dive deeper into the actual science and power intentional mindsets.
These seemingly intangible actions have the ability to reshape our brains in ways that reinforce certain thoughts, actions, and experiences. The process behind this is known as neuroplasticity.
The brain is made up of very complex circuits or ‘neural pathways’ which act like a freeway of nerve cells transmitting messages. The more often a pathway is used for a specific behavior or action, the more consistently shaped and solid it will become.  Through cultivating healthy intentions, we are teaching our brains to be more adaptive to these actions in beneficial ways.
In short, neuroplasticity is the physiological ability of our brains to turn intentions into enduring habits.
Setting Powerful Intentions
The key to realizing intentions is consistency. This means finding a time each day to state the intention before you step onto the rollercoaster of your habitual thoughts and actions.
For most people, this can be as little as a 5 minute period after you wake up and before drinking your coffee and scrolling on your phone.
It can also be effective–especially at first–to write your intentions down, rather than just keeping them in your head. Seeing them in front of you can increase your accountability. Try writing them in a journal, daily planner, or in the notes section of your phone.
You can even write them into your calendar and set a reminder before a meeting or event that you anticipate being stressful or challenging.
The following examples can help you bring the power of intentions into your life at this very moment.
Setting intentions: Examples
Today, I intend to:
- Feel and express gratitude to strangers
- Lead by example
- Take rest seriously
- Bring my awareness to my breath and the sensations in my body when I’m feeling stressed, angry, and overwhelmed
- Understand where others are coming from before judging them
- Make someone smile!
- To be kind under pressure
- Notice the goodness in and around me
- Notice when I am feeling judgmental and ask myself what in me feels threatened
- Find something to love in the people around me
- keep my workspace free of clutter
- notice my five senses at least five times through the day
- give thanks for something in my life once every hour
- be more empathetic towards my partner
- Take at least 6000 steps
- Remember to unclench my jaw, let my tongue relax from the top of my mouth, and let my shoulders drop, again and again
Tips and tricks for Powerful Intentions
Here are a few tips to help your powerful intention become reality:
- Keep your list of intentions close and accessible
- Set a daily alarm with ‘intentions’ as its name to remind yourself.
- Take five minutes of silence to meditate on your intention—visualizing the scenarios in which you achieve that intention and imagining what it feels like in your body.
- End your day reflecting on your successes and re-imagining scenarios where you didn’t fulfill your intentions in ways where you were in better alignment with them.
Setting Powerful Daily Intentions: The Takeaway
Setting daily intentions is a mindfulness strategy for everyday life.
Intentions have the power to break maladaptive habits and create new, positive patterns of thoughts, actions, and attitudes.
Daily intentions can bring you into harmony with your authentic self, help you connect more deeply and lovingly with others while refining your life goals and aligning them with your innate talents and interests.