You’ve heard about “living with intention” everywhere right? Being present, mindful and intentional. It all sounds great. But what does it actually mean and how do you do it?
Living with intention is getting off the hamster wheel. It’s what happens when you focus on what’s important to you so you don’t miss out on life bouncing from one responsibility to the next.
Start everyday with an INTENTION SETTING RITUAL.
A daily intention setting ritual will take approximately 3-5 minutes and NEEDS to be done first thing in the morning.
Keep in mind that you can’t be all things at all times. However, if you focus on one intent everyday, the days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and pretty soon you will be all things.
Intention Setting Ritual:
Step 1: Write down your top 2 priorities for the day.
These are “to-do” list items that you MUST get done that day. These are not necessarily things you want to do.
Examples of these “priorities” could be paying the bills, grocery shopping, a doctor appointment, completing a work project, dealing with an insurance claim, returning items, getting car serviced, etc. The point is these things need to happen today.
Pick 2 priorities and write them down. Knowing you are going to take care of business will allow you to move forward with your intent.
Your mind is free to engage in your intention setting once your priorities have been written down. This is the same phenomenon as keeping a notepad by your bed at night. Have you ever had insomnia with a to-do list running through your mind? If you jot these items down on a list, then you won’t forget and your mind can let it go. Hence, this is why you should write down your priorities FIRST!
Step 2: Set your intention for the day.
Set a singular intention for the day. What do you want out of life today? Decide on 1 thing you would like to be that day.
Your intent could be to be present, loving, patient, kind, compassionate, empathetic, forgiving, healthy, fit, organized, spiritual, contemplative, wise, introspective, self-aware, abundant or ___________ (enter intention here).
Example: Today I intend to be a present mother.
Step 3: Pick a word of the day.
Select a word that supports your intention.
Example: “Patient” ,”loving”, “kind” or “present” would all work with the above intention.
Step 4: Write an affirmation for the day
An affirmation is a positive statement you want to manifest in your life. You will repeat your affirmation throughout your day. Think of the affirmation as your daily mantra. An affirmation should always be a positive statement.
The affirmation needs to support your intention for the day.
Example: I always have time to connect with my children.
An affirmation is only effective when you can see and feel yourself as if it were already true. Create a picture in your mind that represents this affirmation and attach the visualization. Connect feeling with the affirmation when you act in accordance (step 5).
Don’t forget to state your affirmation throughout the day. Are you sitting in traffic? Waiting for the bus? Waiting for a doctor appointment? Getting your haircut? Say (either out loud or to yourself) your affirmation. Focus on your mental image while you repeat.
Step 5: Select one supporting action for the day
How do you actually feel an affirmation? Action needs to be present in order to FEEL. Pick one action for the day that directly supports your affirmation. Performing this action is HOW you will FEEL your affirmation.
If your intention is to be fit a supporting action would be going to the gym. If your intention is to be patient then a supporting action could be meditation. An intention to be organized could be backed up by cleaning out a junk drawer. The possibilities here are endless.
*Bonus if your supporting action is an act of SELF-CARE. Don’t know what good self-care looks like? Then read THIS ARTICLE.
Following along the example above, unplugging for an hour and taking the kids to get ice cream or playing board games together are both easy ways to be present and have connection with your kids.
The key while you are engaged in this supporting action is to bring your affirmation to mind. Can you see the affirmation? While you are acting in direct accordance with your affirmation feel it. It is easy to feel your affirmation because you are living the affirmation.
Step 6: Write a statement of gratitude for the day.
Gratitude works. What are you grateful for today? Find something that can support your intention for the day. It is easier to feel gratitude when it is congruent with your thoughts and actions.
Continuing our example, I could practice gratitude for a number of things. I am grateful for having an hour of uninterrupted time to spend with my children. You get the picture?
What if you are overwhelmed with priorities?
There will be days you will feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of your responsibilities. Here are some strategies to help keep you sane!
- Prioritize all the tasks in order of most important to least. Take the top 3- is it possible to get the top 3 accomplished? Knock those out. What to do with the remaining?
- Delegate anything possible. Can your spouse pick up RX on way home from work? Use a delivery service for groceries. Order take-out for dinner so you don’t have to cook to free up some time.
- Can anything be done tomorrow? Really?
- Use your intention for the day to get off the hamster wheel. Your word of the day could be relaxed, calm or productive. Build in breathing room (a supporting action) during the day- even if it’s 5 minutes to just breathe. Use your actions and affirmations to reassure that you have the ability to meet all of your obligations.
Would you like a simple checklist to guide you through your intention setting ritual each morning? It’s a great reminder to use while you set your intention (and it’s free).
Put this somewhere you can see it and remember to reflect on your affirmations throughout the day.
I would love to hear if you implemented this ritual below!