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Guide to Setting Intentions & Embracing a Purposeful Life

Guide to Setting Intentions & Embracing a Purposeful Life

Setting intentions can be a powerful tool to help us focus on what truly matters.Setting Intensions - Someone meditating on a mountain.

Unlike resolutions, which often focus on specific outcomes, intentions are about aligning our actions with our values and aspirations. They guide us in making choices that resonate with our true selves, it's about nurturing a dialogue with our inner selves, discovering what truly matters to us, and inviting more of that into our lives.

In this guide, we'll explore various ways to set intentions, understand their importance, and discover how to incorporate them into our daily lives. Whether you're new to this practice or looking to deepen your existing routine, this guide will offer insights and practical steps to help you on your journey.

Why Set Intentions?

Setting intentions is more than just a practice; it's a mindset. It helps us:

  • Stay focused on our goals and aspirations.
  • Align our daily actions with our deeper values.
  • Cultivate a positive and purposeful approach to life.
  • Enhance our self-awareness and personal growth.

How to Start Setting Intentions

Before diving into the different types of intentions, let's look at some general steps to begin this transformative practice.

Reflecting is important in setting intensions

Embrace reflection -  Reflecting on your desires and aspirations is key. What brings you joy? What values do you wish to embody? Who do you want to become, and what steps will it take me to get there? Let these questions be your guide. 

    Tip: Reflect and write in a journal your thoughts on joy, values, aspirations, and the steps needed to set your intentions. Use this as as starting point.

    Be Specific, Yet Flexible - While it's important to be clear about your intentions, remain open to the journey and the lessons it brings. Life is an ever-unfolding journey, and our intentions can shift and grow with us.

    Setting intensions through writing

    Manifest through writing - Documenting your intentions can make them more tangible and serve as a reminder of your commitment. It gives your intentions weight and presence in the physical world, serving as a way to guide your path.

    Tip: Buy a journal for your journey. Set a ritual—place it on your nightstand, not lost in your bag, to make it a key part of your daily routine.

    Cultivate rituals - Whether it's a morning meditation, a weekly reflection, or a simple nightly gratitude practice, rituals can anchor your intentions, turning them into touchstones throughout your day or week.

    Start a small, daily ritual linked to your intentions. It could be a morning mirror affirmation, a gratitude note before bed, or a weekly goal review. Let this ritual become your intention's anchor.

    Be kind to yourself

    Stay Committed, Be Kind - Be committed to your intentions but also practice self-compassion. Remember, it's a journey, not a destination. Celebrate progress, learn from detours, and remember that each step, no matter how small, is part of your journey.

      How to discover your path

      Setting intentions can sometimes feel confusing, and let's face it some of us aren't great at starting, and that's ok.  To help you find your starting point, we can explore various types of intentions.

      Spiritual Intentions -  Embark on a journey of spiritual enrichment, whether it's deepening your meditation practice, fostering a sense of gratitude, or forging a stronger connection with the universe or your spiritual beliefs.

      Health Intentions - Prioritise your physical and mental well-being by adopting healthier eating habits, engaging in regular physical activity, or dedicating time to mindfulness and mental health care.

      Manifestation Intentions - Attract abundance, opportunities, or specific achievements into your life, such as securing a dream job, finding love, or reaching financial goals.

      Personal Growth Intentions - Commit to self-improvement by learning new skills, expanding your knowledge through reading, or overcoming personal obstacles and fears. 

      Relationship Intentions - Enhance the quality of your relationships by investing in quality time with loved ones, improving communication, or nurturing new friendships.

      Career Intentions -  Set your sights on professional aspirations, from climbing the career ladder to launching a new venture or honing your current skill set.

      Creativity Intentions -  Unleash your creative potential by initiating new projects, dedicating time to your artistic pursuits, or seeking inspiration in unexpected places.

      Better Me Intentions -  Focus on becoming a more engaged community member or environmental steward by volunteering or adopting sustainable living practices.

      Tip: To kickstart your intention-setting journey, choose one area that resonates most with you today. Dedicate just 10 minutes to reflect on a specific action you can take this week to move closer to that intention. Small steps lead to big changes.

      We'd love to hear about your intentions.  Share them in the comments, or join the conversation on our Facebook or Instagram pages.

      Methods to Set Your Intentions

      Finding the right approach to setting your intentions can amplify their impact. Here are some ideas on how you may do that, you can combine them, do one or many - it's up to you, these methods are designed to help solidify your words and thoughts. 

      Vision Board

      Visual Intention Setting

      Ideal for those who think in images. Create vision boards, indulge in drawing, or practice goal visualisation, they can even be doodles on a post-it to serve as a reminder. 


      Written Intention Setting

      For those who find solace in words. Try journaling, crafting affirmations that you can put on your screen saver on your desktop or mobile phone, or outlining detailed action plans.

      Verbal Intention Setting

      Perfect for auditory processors. Speak your intentions aloud, repeat affirmations, or share your goals with someone you trust, even a mirror will do. 

      Meditative Intention Setting

      Connect with your inner self through meditation or mindfulness, setting intentions with each breath, you can use smudge sticks, and incense to tickle the olfactory to set a reminder. 

      Active Intention Setting

      Combine movement with intention, whether through yoga, mindful walks, or dance.

      Digital Intention Setting

      Leverage technology with apps, digital journals, or online vision boards to track your progress.

      Community-Based Intention Setting

      Engage with like-minded individuals in workshops, support groups, or online communities.

      Nature-Inspired Intention Setting

      Draw inspiration from the natural world by setting intentions during outdoor activities like hiking or gardening.

      "Intentions are the seeds of dreams—plant them with mindfulness, water them with action, and harvest them with persistence." Pixie

      Understanding Intentions vs. Goals

      In our journey toward personal and professional growth, distinguishing between intentions and goals can profoundly impact our success and fulfilment. While they both guide our paths forward, they do so in complementary ways.

      Intentions are about the 'how' and 'why'. They represent our mindset, values, and the manner in which we wish to live our lives or conduct our business each day. Intentions are rooted in the present and focus on the immediate quality of our actions and attitudes. For instance, setting an intention to approach challenges with optimism or to foster kindness in interactions sets a tone for how we navigate our day.

      Goals, conversely, are the 'what' and 'when'. They are specific, measurable achievements we aim for in the future. Goals are the milestones we set for ourselves, such as completing a project by a certain date, losing weight, or hitting a savings target. They provide direction and a tangible endpoint to strive towards.

      When to Use Each:

      • Use intentions when you want to focus on the process and embody certain values throughout your actions. Intentions are powerful in daily practices, helping to cultivate the qualities and mindset you desire in your personal and professional life.

        • Example: Let's say you're a business owner aiming to build a more inclusive workplace. An intention could be, "I intend to listen actively and create space for all voices to be heard in meetings." This focus on inclusivity guides how you conduct meetings, impacting your company culture daily.
      • Use goals when you have a clear outcome you want to achieve. Goals are essential for planning and progress, providing clear targets to work towards and a way to measure success.

        • Example: Continuing with the inclusivity theme, a goal could be, "To increase diversity in leadership positions by 30% within the next two years." This goal gives you a specific target and timeframe, making it possible to plan actions and measure progress towards a more diverse leadership team.

      By setting both intentions and goals, you ensure that your actions are not only purposeful and value-driven but also directed towards achieving specific outcomes. This dual approach fosters a balanced and holistic path to personal and professional development.

      Practical Examples of Intention Setting

      1. Intention: To advance in her career by mastering new skills.

      How They Set It: Sarah identified that learning digital marketing could significantly impact her career. She enrolled in an online course and set aside two evenings a week for studying.

      Staying on Target: Sarah kept her motivation high by setting small, achievable goals for each study session, and set aside any distractions. She also joined a study group with fellow course participants, providing a sense of accountability and shared learning. By the end of six months, Sarah had not only completed the course but also implemented successful marketing strategies at work, leading to a well-deserved promotion.

      2. Intention: To lead a healthier lifestyle by incorporating daily walks and monitoring carb intake.

      How They Set It: Inspired to make a change, Jamie decided to focus on two key areas: increasing daily physical activity and eating healthier. To tackle the first, Jamie aimed to increase their step count by incorporating daily walks. For the second, they downloaded a carb-counting app to keep track of their dietary habits. To reinforce these intentions, Jamie placed abstract signs on a post-it consisting of triangles and lines in prominent places, every time they passed the post-it they smiled and remembered their intention. 

      Staying on Target: The signs served as visual reminders of Jamie's commitment to their health goals. Each time they saw a sign, it acted as a prompt to reflect on their intentions, keeping them grounded and accountable. The carb-counting app provided a practical tool for making healthier food choices, while the daily walks became an important part of Jamie's routine. This dual approach not only improved Jamie's physical well-being but also instilled a sense of discipline and mindfulness in their daily life.

      3. Intention: To cultivate a daily practice of gratitude.

      How They Set It: Emma decided to start each day by writing down three things she was grateful for. She chose a beautiful journal specifically for this purpose, making the act feel more special and intentional.

      Staying on Target: To ensure consistency, Emma placed her gratitude journal on her bedside table, making it the first thing she saw each morning. On days she found it challenging, she simplified the task to just one thing she was grateful for. Over time, this practice significantly improved her outlook on life, making her more positive and resilient.

      4. Intention: To deepen spiritual connection and cleanse negative energy.

      How They Set It: Sam, seeking a deeper spiritual connection and a way to clear negative energy from their space, decided to combine meditation with the ritual of smudging using sage sticks. They set aside a quiet corner of their home as a dedicated space for this practice. Before each meditation session, Sam would light a sage stick, allowing the smoke to cleanse the area and themselves from any negativity.

      Staying on Target: Sam committed to this ritual every evening, viewing it as a way to unwind and reconnect with their inner self. The act of smudging became a powerful symbol of letting go of the day's stresses and negativity, while the meditation that followed allowed Sam to set intentions for spiritual growth and inner peace. On days when it felt challenging to maintain this practice, Sam reminded themselves of the tranquility and clarity it brought into their life. This combination of meditation and smudging became a cornerstone of Sam's spiritual practice, enhancing their sense of connection and well-being.

      Integrating Intentions into Daily Life

      After identifying your intentions and choosing a method that resonates with you, the next step is to integrate these intentions into your daily life. This section offers practical advice on making your intentions a lived reality, ensuring they guide you towards the outcomes you desire.

      Creating a Daily Ritual - Establish a simple, daily practice that allows you to reconnect with your intentions. This could be a morning meditation, a few minutes of journaling, or repeating affirmations as you start your day.

      Setting Reminders - Use physical or digital reminders to keep your intentions at the forefront of your mind. Sticky notes, phone alarms, or calendar events can serve as prompts to refocus on your intentions throughout the day.

      Practicing Mindfulness - Cultivate a mindful approach to your daily activities. By staying present, you can make choices that align with your intentions, whether it's choosing healthier foods, responding calmly in stressful situations, or dedicating time to your creative projects.

      Reflecting and Adjusting - Regularly reflect on your progress and the impact of your intentions on your life. Be open to adjusting your intentions as you grow and as your circumstances change. This flexibility ensures that your intentions remain relevant and empowering.

      Celebrating Progress - Acknowledge and celebrate the steps you've taken towards your intentions, no matter how small. Recognizing your progress reinforces your commitment and motivates you to continue.

      Seeking Support - Share your intentions with supportive friends, family, or community members. They can offer encouragement, accountability, and insight as you work towards your goals.

      Overcoming Obstacles - Understand that challenges are part of the journey. When faced with obstacles, use your intentions as a compass to navigate through difficulties, learning and growing from each experience.

      "Integrating intentions into daily life transforms every moment into a step towards your true aspirations, turning the ordinary into a journey of purposeful strides." Pixie

      The Journey of Intention Setting

      Setting intentions isn't just a one-off task -it's a journey that encourages us to live more present. It's about making sure our everyday actions resonate with our core values and dreams. Keep in mind, it's not about getting it right every time but about deepening our bond with ourselves and the world we're a part of.

      As you begin, remember that every little step you take is a step to make your life better and more purposeful. Let your intentions be the compass that guides you, fuels your passion, and encourages you to feel more motivated.

      We'd love to hear about your experiences with setting and living by your intentions. Share your stories in the comments below or connect with us on social media. Together, let's inspire and support one another in this journey of purposeful living.

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