Defining Intention Setting
Setting intentions is widely used in a variety of ways, before meditation, psychedelic journeys, and yoga, just to name a few. While intention setting is most commonly used in mind-expanding activity, it can be used in daily life for any experience that has a potential positive outcome in mind. Many confuse intention setting with goal setting but it’s actually the intention that can lead to the attainment of your goals. Unlike goals, intentions do not carry expectations or evaluations. We often set goals for our career, health, education, and more but what we often overlook the fact that the intention is the driving force behind our goals.
In essence, goals are the target or desired result while intentions are the plan to achieve the said goal. For example, if my goal is to achieve inner peace then my intention might be to surrender to chaos. Goals require the cognitive mind, embracing our ability to analyze and execute actions while intentions align our thoughts, acting as the motivating factor enforcing our objectives to be met. Goals and intentions complement one another, making intention setting an integral and necessary aspect of mind expansion.
The Importance of Setting Your Intention
Our brain literally rewards us when we achieve our goals. The brain releases hormones such as dopamine each time we engage in this goal-oriented cognitive process. This is one of the many reasons goals depend on powerful intention. Intention setting goes beyond establishing motivation. It can be a life source when all reservoirs are depleted. At some point, you may find yourself lacking the willpower or discipline to move forward, meeting somewhat of a fork in the road. A time where you may have the option to give up. Without intention, you may choose to raise your white flag, and surrender to the unforeseen obstacle that fate has thrown to you but with intention, you have the ability to transform difficulties into resilience. Because an intention is our purpose, an internal alignment we are connecting to, it allows us to perceive the positive even in stagnant or undesired situations continually directing us towards our intended path like an inner compass determined to lead us to personal growth.
Peter M. Gollwitzer, a psychologist at New York University conducted a study displaying how intention setting plays a vital role in achieving your goals. The study asked University students to identify two goals for the upcoming winter months. Students chose goals based on settling family issues, academic targets, and sports-related objectives. Half of the students were asked to draw upon a specific implementation plan to accomplish their goals. More than half of those who set implementation intentions achieved their desired specific outcomes. While most of those who didn’t set intentions failed to meet their goals. The intention setting process can very well be the catalyst for our pre-determined goals and therefore our reality. Wayne Dyer, author of The Power of Intention, stated, “Our intention creates our reality”. The fabric of our reality is based upon our thoughts. What we think becomes us. So, as we focus our thoughts on our specific intentions, we are bringing ourselves into alignment with our desired reality.
The Intention Setting Process
Knowing when to set an intention is just as important as setting an intention itself. Intention setting can be done at any given moment but the most beneficial period of time is before or during a transitional phase or in preparation for psychedelic experiences. For example, many chose to set intention during the New Year as it is a period of time where one phase is ending while another is beginning. Setting powerful intention when the outcome is unknown, during a time of change can empower us to align with an unchanging value within ourselves. So, during these times of several moving pieces, we are able to remain in balance with our inner self which can promote an increase in overall well-being. Similarly, mind expansion is a period of internal change and as with any external transitions, staying true to our inner compass allows us to stay focused on our goals. Once set, using your intention is a continuous process. Intentions act as a reminder, alerting us when we go off track. Check-in on your intention as needed to balance yourself back to center. Using deep breaths while revisiting our intentions, not only keep us focused on our goals but allow us to use intentions in our own way as a tool for guidance and self-care.
There are a few general guidelines to follow when setting an intention. First and foremost, focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. Setting your intention from a state of abundance is much more useful than concentrating on dearth. Having a clear and specific intention will alleviate any confusion, distraction, or obstacles along the way. It’s best to center your intention around a particular goal rather than a broad or vague objective. Your intention should be tied to a goal that is meaningful to you. Get connected to your personal thoughts, values, and perspective on life when setting an intention. Ask yourself questions that stimulate deep thought. What matters most to you? What fears would you like to overcome? When do you feel your best self? This ensures that your intention holds personal value making your commitment to it much greater. Finally, get out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to take risks and to navigate parts of yourself that encourage you to face your fears. These testing intentions more often than not bring about the greatest clarity and sense of purpose.
Create Your Reality
Intentions generate an automatic response when faced with obstacles or distractions attempting to remove you from your most-aligned self. Setting intentions are the foundation that your goals depend on to become a reality. In the moments when you feel fear or a lack of control during your experience, or are confronted with emotional challenges, lean on your intention as that supportive force paving the way to your intended path. Prepare for your consciousness-expanding journeys with intention setting, this will fortify your connection with your deepest goals and it is the first step towards manifesting the reality you desire.