Setting Intentions

You’ve been doing the hard work–developing self-awareness, good boundaries, and self-care. It’s time to put these things together in a way that shapes your day rather than merely helping you be resilient in the face of things that come at you. This is the perfect time in the season you’re in to start the day by setting intentions for how the day will be and what each day will look like going forward.

It’s Important to Be in Agreement With God

Setting intentions allows you to choose where you want to go based on what you see while sitting at the feet of Jesus. Once you’ve chosen your intentions, you can set healthy boundaries around yourself and everything you need to get there. Intentions will keep you anchored to the bigger picture without triggering overwhelm and scarcity.

Having clear intentions makes it easier to sort out what does and doesn’t belong in your life. Intentions are powerful because they’re an agreement with yourself instead of an argument with the saboteur about your worthiness. Intentions are in agreement with where God is taking us. Instead of becoming distracted by side conversations, you clearly focus on how God is moving you.

How Setting Intentions Differs from Goal Setting

Setting intentions is choosing the direction you want to go, the feelings you want to have, or the type of experiences you’re working toward. The focus is broader than goals, as intentions aren’t always as measurable in a traditional way but you’ll feel them when you’re in alignment. You get to choose what you want for the day, week or year in a way that allows it to shift and move with you as you grow. Another way to think of it is that goals are results focused and intentions are energy, experience, or attention focused.

Another way to see it is when you set an intention, you then set a goal that aligns with the intention. For example, I could set an intention to serve my clients well within a group membership course, and a goal to release content at a certain rate so that it would serve the clients well at all intervals through the duration of the course. If I were to become ill and cancel a week’s worth of content, I could still fulfill my intention but would not be able to achieve my goal due to outside factors. Adjusting the goal is less likely to trigger shame if we are still honoring the intention that gave birth to the goals.

Practice to Develop a New Habit

It takes about thirty days to develop new habits, so in the beginning it may be best to select only one intention to focus on for about thirty days. The morning is a great time of the day to start a new habit, because it’s the beginning of the day when you are setting the stage for how the day will go.

When you wake up in the morning, consider starting with a calming prayer in a peaceful space you create for yourself. Even if it’s just for a few moments, it’s important to make this time for yourself no matter what else is going on in your life. You are worth it. This time is holy and sacred because you spend it in the presence of the Lord and begin to guard your heart and prepare your mind for the day ahead. Empty out any fear, anxiety or emotions that make it hard to sit at the feet of Jesus.

Spend about five minutes focusing on your intention for the day and then jot it down in your journal. Then spend about five minutes imagining what the day might look like if you set this intention. Create a one or two sentence reminder of the vision and then jot it on a Post-It® note or put it in your phone to keep with you all through the day. Each time you check in with yourself during the day, look at your visual reminder and spend a few seconds reconnecting with that vision. You could ask yourself, “What would this be like? Where am I now with this?

Support You and Your Growth

Don’t beat yourself up for what you have not done. Setting intentions is for you and your growth–not a source of shame. There is abundance and love as a child of God and you have full access to it! There is always more time in the day to try again. If you get to the end of the day and find that you did not fully honor your intentions, that’s okay. You get to wake up tomorrow and start again. Remember: setting intentions is a way to support you and your growth. You are a loved child of God. Keep going–you are worth it!

Would you like to join a diverse, supportive group of Christian women who lead as we grow and live in the awareness of the fullness of God? Join us in Christian Women Who Lead.