The power of a morning intention setting practice cannot be underestimated. If you are stressed and overwhelmed or believe you don’t have time, you may need it more than you think. In this article, I’m going explain what it means to be intentional, why your morning practice matters, how it can make a big difference and offer you simple ways to get started that only take a couple of minutes.
It’s so easy to get disconnected from ourselves as we race to meet life’s demands. However, we can lose valuable moments and ourselves. The power of a morning intention setting practice is that it will ground you and re-align you. Your external world may look the same but, how you navigate it may just become way better.
A Life Made of Moments
I learned to live intentionally by having my life fall apart. I had a brutal battle with alcoholism which landed me in rehab on the brink of losing everything. I found the stress of life unbearable and completely overwhelming. I coped with everything by numbing it all out. I also wondered how all the normal people were getting by? I knew I had to get very honest with myself and create a new path.
I’m grateful I got a second chance. As I began to cobble my life back together, I realized that I was generally just reacting to stress in my life and trying to meet a million insatiable demands. Now, I opted to take control of things. I asked myself how I wanted to show up for myself and in my life? I looked at my personal values. I had to carve out serious time to take care of myself. And, if I was going to all of this trouble to turn my life around, what did I want to create?
I came to understand that life is made of moments. Could I be really present in each moment and make an intentional choice what to do in this moment? To me, being intentional means mindfully choosing who we want to be and how we want to show up. From there, we take conscious action in alignment with our most intentional life.
Intention setting has changed my life and is the fabric of my every day. In the next few sections, we’re going to walk through how you can create a super simple yet, very meaningful intention setting practice. I want you to make your moments matter.
How You Start Matters
First off, how you start matters. Your morning routine can set the tone for your entire day. It’s an important time to connect with yourself and choose what you want to create.
If you launch yourself into your day with stress, dread and adrenaline, you’re setting yourself on a crash course.
If you centre yourself, start calmly and nourish yourself, the energy and direction of your day changes. Also, if you think about how you want to show up today and what intention you want to create, you are setting yourself on a mindful course. You’re on your own side and you are taking the first step to consciously create how your day unfolds.
How to Create a Morning Intention Setting Practice
Here are some simple tips to explain how to create a morning intention setting practice. If you have only 2 minutes, that’s perfect. The key is to keep things simple and mindful. Simple practices done consistently make all the difference. Remember that things don’t have to be elaborate and complicated to be more effective. Let’s get you started.
Here are a 3 intentional ways to start your day:
Do not grab your phone right away
This might be the toughest one – I know! Instead, pause when you wake up. Soak in the newness of this day. Breathe deeply. Notice what you feel grateful for. Be present with yourself.
Create an intention for your day
In this calm place before your day has even started, create an intention for your day. How do you want to show up? What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want to create today? Perhaps there’s something specific happening – think about how you want to show up for that event, presentation or difficult conversation. Not sure how to set an intention? We’re going to go into more detail in the next section.
Create a reminder
It can be really helpful to create a reminder of your intention for yourself. The day will get busy and you’ll be pulled in different directions. A reminder is a great way to ground yourself and come back to your intention. You could use intention cards. Writing your intention on a post-it note also works. You can create phone wallpaper that reminds you or you could wear something that reminds you (a scent, a bracelet or something else that represents your intention).
As your intention practice builds, you may want to take more time. Morning exercise, meditation and mindfulness practices are amazing ways to build a strong foundation. Choose activities that inspire you and bring you joy. This should feel like a ritual that you look forward to. It’s a gift from you to you. How fortunate are you that you get to start your day this way?
How to Set an Intention
If you want some help getting started, here are some suggestions on how to set an intention.
Think About Your Day
The easiest place to start may be to think about your day ahead. What will be happening today and how do I want to show up for myself? This can be a great way to centre yourself and reduce the risk of falling into patterns that may not be serving you. Choosing in advance is a great way to align your intention with the experience you want to create for yourself.
Choose an Intention Card
Another great source of inspiration is to choose an intention card each morning. Intention cards can be chosen at random or you can choose one specifically. What’s great about using cards is they may broaden your awareness and encourage you to look at your intentions and your life in new ways that you hadn’t considered. Also, words have power and this intention card can be a powerful reminder to you throughout the day.
3 Foundational Intentions
I believe that there are 3 foundational intentions and these are: love, kindness and gratitude. If you chose one of these intentions on any given day, they will offer you powerful fuel for your actions, your attitude and your mindset. I think we can all agree that if the world was operating from these intentions, we’d be in a lot better shape. These intentions can serve you for a lifetime. If they feel true and aligned, start right here.
What to do Next
You’ve taken a couple minutes to set your intention and you may be wondering what to do next? The key to intentional living is to integrate your intention into your actions and experiences. As you navigate your day, remember your intention and look for every opportunity to show up from this intentional place. Speak intentionally, listen intentionally and take intentional actions.
Will life be perfect now? No. Life is still going to happen and you’re going to get tripped up. Being intentional is all about being mindful and re-aligning. What intentional living is not about is being perfect. Rather, when we’re intentional, we’re curious and we’re adventurous. We’re mindful and we’re really showing up in the world. It may be messy but, we are being active participants in our own lives. Everything we experience will be an opportunity to cultivate our awareness, to learn and to grow.
The end of the day is a great time for self-reflection. Carve out sometime to think back to what happened during your day. How did your intentional practices go? What went right and what do you want to keep doing? What would you like to leave behind? And, what are you grateful for?
Next up, try this intention setting practice for a minimum of 21 days. It takes 21 days to create a habit. What I think you might find is that intention setting is not transactional. For example, just because you set an intention or are intentional doesn’t mean you’ll see instant results. However, as you’re intentional over a period of time, you will see your mindset, stress-level and approach to life change and evolve. This practice of being intentional will become organic to you and it will change the way you operate in the world. The results may not be transactional but, they’ll most likely be exponential.
Why You Should Give This a Try
Here are some reasons why you should give this a try. First, being intentional is making a commitment to yourself. It is coming into greater alignment with your values and who you want to be. This is a powerful place to operate from. Second, it will get you off autopilot and have you being an active participant in your own life. It would be pretty disappointing to get to the end of this journey and feel like you missed the opportunity to live life on your terms. Finally, intention setting is creation energy. What do you really want to create for yourself? You create your life through a million simple and consistent mindful choices. While the choices can seem small in the moment, their momentum over time may just surprise you.
Live on Purpose
This world will be quick to tell you what it wants from you. It might also be very demanding. Being intentional is an act of showing great reverence for this human experience. All of your intentional moments, days and actions create a life on purpose. That is an incredible act of creation. There is an Emily Dickinson quote that says “forever is made of nows”. Embrace your nows with a love of yourself and a love of life. Create joyful moments. Experience this world and create a life you love on purpose!