How to Set a Daily Intention

I’m coming at you with one of my favorite habits: set a daily intention. Does it sound hokey? I thought so, too, when my friend told me she does it every day. But I trust my friend, so I decided to give it a whirl. And you know what? It rocks! So let’s talk about daily intentions!

What Daily Intentions Are and Aren’t

First, let’s do some definitions. Daily intentions aren’t a to-do list! That’s very important. Your intention isn’t, say, to clean the kitchen or get to work on time. (But maybe your intention is to be productive or respectful.) Those are just tasks that need to be done. The point of your intention is to set the tone for your day and keep you focused on the result and feeling you want to achieve. A few other notes:

  • Your intention should be positive. Reframe your negative thoughts — “I have to get my act together!” — into positive ones — “I am calm and controlled.” (source)
  • Stay in the present tense. Again, we aren’t doing a goals worksheet. We’re thinking of a quality we want to embody every day and then claiming it for ourselves. We ARE that thing already — aka, fake it ’til you make it! (source)
  • “Detach from the outcome.” (source) This is hard but so important! Just like in yoga or artistic expression, an intention is about the process, not the product. You are not ticking boxes off a to-do list; you’re cultivating a way of thinking and feeling and being.

Benefits of Daily Intentions

So this may sound silly or New Age-y (does anyone still say New Age any more??), but there’s research on the topic! Even Forbes has a new article all about the importance of daily intentions rather than just goals! It’s no secret that mindful meditation has been shown to have huge benefits on our brains. It helps to make us happier and better able to handle stress. Intentions are kind of like bringing mindfulness into everything we do, while also giving us a little boost of positive energy.

How to Set a Daily Intention

Here are three easy ways you can incorporate intentions into your daily life.

  1. As soon as you wake up, sit up in bed, close your eyes, and pick a focus for the day.
  2. If you bullet journal, start tracking your daily intentions. Create a page just for them, or include them in your habit or other health trackers.
  3. Here’s my preferred method: every day, I pick an intention and write it in my planner (i.e. my brain). Writing things down helps me remember them, and seeing the words accumulate throughout the week is a nice little boost of positive energy. I usually stick with a single word or phrase to keep it simple.

If you try setting a daily intention, I want to hear about it!

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