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Intention-setting as a spiritual practice

As a regular practice, intention setting is a powerful tool for changing behaviors and ingraining new habits. Intentions help you gain control of your life by giving meaning to your daily actions. They’re like stepping stones that you’re consciously laying down to create a path forward.

Clear intentions help you focus on your goals and give you the confidence to accomplish them. They're personal and internally motivated for a reason. When you set intentions that align with your own beliefs, and are not influenced by what others are telling you, committing to them will feel more rewarding and less like a chore.

When thinking about your intentions for yourself, begin with these basic questions: Who do you want to become? What will it take to get there? How will the new version of yourself differ from the person you are right now?

Once you have the vision, you’ll need to create intentions that are specific and achievable. Here are some other examples:

Today I will:

  • Open myself to new possibilities without fear of failure

  • Be present in the moment without living in the past

  • Embrace my challenges instead of running from them

  • Focus on what I can control and not on what’s out of my hands

  • Do something that brings me joy for at least one hour

We encourage patients and the families we work with to make intention setting a daily practice. Say them to yourself in the morning, then make time at the end of each day to revisit them. Did your behavior align with your intentions? You can even set time aside to examine them in the middle of your day. If your actions are not meshing with your intentions, see what you can shift so you can get closer to the mark.

Build on the intentions that are working, and modify the ones that aren’t bringing you a sense of accomplishment. If meeting them isn’t satisfying, or requires more than you’re capable of giving, they’re not worth keeping. The idea is to set intentions that add to your life, not take away from it.


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