Becoming an Intention Setting Superstar

If you’ve been wondering what all the hype is about intention setting and intentional living, this blog post is for you.  I’m a big proponent of intentionality. I write on this blog about setting intentions every month at the New Moon. I do a tarot spread each New Moon specifically to set intentions for the moon cycle ahead. I then do another reading at each Full Moon to see how we’re all doing with our intentions, what course corrections we need to make, and how we fulfill our intentions.

But what actually is an intention? What is all the fuss about? Why should you sent personal intentions? And how do you even do that? Well, that’s what I’m here to write about today.

Flowers along Lake Nipissing in North Bay, Ontario on a beautiful spring day.

Flowers along Lake Nipissing in North Bay, Ontario on a beautiful spring day.

What Even Is An Intention?

An intention is a goal or objective and the personal value underpinning that goal.

An intention is something that you intend to do. You plan on it: it’s your aim, your target, your purpose. Equally important, an intention involves the way in which you will go after that goal.

For example, your outward goal may be to write a book. The underlying intention behind that goal is to share, to teach, or to serve people with your writing. Or perhaps your goal is to lose 10 lbs and the intention behind that goal is to treat yourself with respect, to nourish yourself, to be a healthy example for your kids. Setting an intention takes your goal setting one step further and examples why you set that goal.

When you set an intention, you are determined to act in a certain way to get a certain result.

I think of this as aligning your actions with your values. Your actions are the things you will do to reach that goal. Your values are the way you will be to reach that goal. Both aspects are important, but if you go after your goal in a manner than breaks with your personal values, you could find yourself unfulfilled when you get to that goal. The journey is just as important as the destination. The means must justify the ends.


Why Should You Set Intentions?

The main reason to set intentions is to know what you’re trying to accomplish. Taking the time and effort to explicitly state what your goals are is the big first step to actually reaching your objective. Most people never take the time to do this type of reflection and determination. They just go through life with a vague dream of where they would like to be, but never state it outright or acknowledge the steps it would take to get there.


When you set an intention you give yourself the gift of clarity. It feels good to have purpose. It can also be such a relief to have that inner knowing when the difficulties of taking action present themselves and you want to give up. When you ask yourself, “Why am I putting myself through all these challenges and doing all this work!?” You will have the clear answer, “This is how I reach my intention.”


Setting intentions also has positive effects outside of yourself. You can articulate to other people what you are trying to do and how. Then they can hold you accountable, cheer you on, understand where your behavior is coming from, and give you the space, support, or love that you need to succeed.


Beyond the realm of perception, you are also telling the Universe your intention and the Universe loves that. When you state your intentions to the Universe, you attract that specific outcome through the Law of Attraction. When you are clear about you want and your why, you make life easier for yourself by living in alignment with your authenticity. The Universe will mirror back to you what you are putting out to it.

A path around Lilypad Lake in Ignace, Ontario.

A path around Lilypad Lake in Ignace, Ontario.


So How Do You Set Intentions?

If you’re picking up what I’m putting down here, you might be wondering if there are some best practices for setting intentions. Honestly, I believe you can set intentions however you would like, as long as you do it and it works for you. I will offer some suggestions that work for me, that you can take or leave, up to you.


You may want to pick a certain prescribed time that holds intention setting energy in order to set intentions on a routine basis. Personally, I like to set intentions with the New Moon. Traditionally, this is a time when the Moon begins to light up again in the sky, growing in strength each passing day. I find out what zodiac sign the New Moon is in and set intentions that are supported by the strengths of that sign.


I wrote a whole guidebook about how to set intentions with the New Moon according to the zodiac signs. I use it every month and I invite you to use it as well. You can download it for FREE here.


Another time that work really well for intention setting is the start of the calendar year. New Year’s Day can be a powerful intention setting day to make a plan for the year. You can also use the first day of each month or the first day of each week. A lot of people like to set intentions on Monday for the week ahead. You can even set an intention each morning, or develop a simple morning routine to remind yourself of a weekly or monthly intention and recommit to it each day.


I find that an important aspect of intention setting is to write your intentions down. There is power in putting pen to paper and laying out your intentions in your own words. Also, when you have that piece of paper with your goals on it loud and clear, it is easy to go back and see what you wrote. Sometimes our memories can distort a goal but generally, words on paper do not change over time.


You can also spend time visualizing your intentions. What will it feel like, look like, sound like, smell like, when you reach your goal. Imagine it playing out in your head, the steps you will take, and what it will look like when you succeed.


It is important with intentions to check in on them and see what progress you are making. If you set a goal and then never go back and assess what you are doing and what steps you are taking towards it, it isn’t really a very useful intention. This is why writing down your intentions can be so helpful, it makes it easy to check in on them later.


You can also use these check in times to reassess or readjust your goals. Perhaps new developments have changed what outcomes you are looking for in the long run. Perhaps the methods you are using to reach your goals aren’t producing results and you need a new roadmap. Checking in with your intentions is an essential aspect of the intention setting process.


Lastly, it is important to celebrate your successes along the way. You could even set many small goals so that you can see wins over time. For example, if you have the overall intention to write a book, you could set a monthly goal to write 50 pages or a chapter, or something like that. Then at the end of each month you can check in, see if you completed your 50 pages, and give yourself some kind of reward or celebration for completely this reasonable small goal.

If you hold out on any celebration or reward until the entire book is done in a year or two, you miss out on all those opportunities to shower yourself with love and appreciation in the meantime. Us humans need lots of positive reinforcement and good feelings in order to continue working towards tough goals. Build in little shots of happiness along the way to keep yourself motivated.


So in a nutshell: Setting an intention is making a mindful decision to state your goal. This provides you with clarity of purpose and helps you set actions steps to reach that goal in accordance with your values. Writing your intentions down, checking in with your intentions often, and building in small rewards for big goals will help you reach those intentions with motivation and joy!


Let me know how you like to set intentions in the comments below. Weekly? Monthly? With the New Moon? And don’t forget to grab your Guide to Setting Intentions with the New Moon if you would like some more information about that concept.


Oh, and don’t forget you can always get a tarot reading to help you outline your intentions. The tarot cards are my number one go to for advice when I’m not uncertain of what I’m trying to accomplish or how to do it!


This looks like a good place to rest and contemplate intention settings. Wye Lake in Watson Lake, Yukon.

This looks like a good place to rest and contemplate intention settings. Wye Lake in Watson Lake, Yukon.

Deirdre Doran