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The Power of Intention Setting

03 July 2023

So, it’s halfway through the year and an obvious time to do some reflecting — this time on something I’ve found can be one of the most beneficial activities people can incorporate into their days.

I’ve said before that I don’t think the word “journalling” is helpful — to me it sounds a bit fluffy, woolly and just a buzzword that’s thrown around leaving people wondering “I know journalling is meant to be helpful but what should I actually be writing down in my journal?’.

For me, journalling means setting your intentions for the day ahead (as well as reflecting on these at the end of the day — but i'll cover that in another post!). Without taking the time, even just a couple of minutes, each morning to think about our day ahead, how can we possibly expect to get what we want from our days? We spend the day getting buffeted from event to event, not getting the time to really consider our options at every choice point and, before you know it, another day’s gone and you’re left wondering “Where did it go..? I didn’t get the opportunity to change the things that I want to in my life”.

Setting your day’s intentions every morning is a great opportunity to focus on what you want to get out of your day, and what you’re going to do and how you’re going to make it happen. So every morning I ask myself the following questions, and write my responses in my notebook/journal: “How do I want to feel today?”, “What am I going to do today to achieve this?” and “What challenges might I face today, and how do I want to handle them?”.


Using a recent example, my morning intentions looked a little like this…

I’d been out at a social event the night before and had got to bed very late (by my standards), then I’d had a poor night’s sleep and felt horrific when I got up. With all this in mind, my main intention was to feel as healthy, energetic and positive as possible. Despite feeling like wallowing all day, I was going to do some exercise outdoors, in the hope that the movement and fresh air would perk me up. I was going to limit my phone use (specifically, scrolling mindlessly on social media) and to enable this I was going to leave my phone out of reach when working, watching TV and when reading in bed at the end of the day (combining this with an early bedtime). Lastly, I was going to just eat nutritious meals and not succumb to eating junky snacks because I “felt tired” and reaching for sugar can often, momentarily, feel like it takes that tiredness away (though it never does!). I also acknowledged that my main challenge that day was being overly tired and not feeling great, making it harder to make choices that actually me me feel better, and that by making choices aligned with the intentions I’d laid out earlier that day would take me towards feeling better and less tired as opposed to further way!

Now the above is just one example of one of my days — some days I set intentions around work and productivity, or relationships with people, or managing stress and feeling overwhelmed or working towards being more present. It varies from day-to-day and will look very different from person-to-person, depending on the areas of people’s lives that they want to make positive changes to, and so requires giving it that focus. But the more consistently you set intentions for your day, the more powerful they become, and you’ll realise how much choice you have about your own thoughts, feelings and actions if you take the time to consider them before you get swept up in to the chaos of daily life.

Published: 3rd July 2023

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