I’ve heard many people say, “I intend to… stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, eat more vegetables,” when they actually mean, “I’ll try to…” In this sense, “intend” simply means, “If it’s convenient and easy for me, then I’ll do it.”
That’s not a strong commitment to a goal. It’s more of an empty wish. It communicates a weak desire to the subconscious, and your inner mind won’t act on that level of strength.
Setting an intention means you have to be intensely focused on your objective. You bring all your power, strength and clarity to that one point. To have a laser-like focus, it’s like putting blinders on and eliminating any distractions. You have to be dedicated to that goal and follow through on any actions or behaviors that are necessary to bring it into reality.
To develop this level of intention, you have several stages of investigation and clarification to address.
1. Decide on your goal. Figure out what you want. It could be just a general improvement in your life, to be less judgmental, eat healthier or open a business. Or it could be as detailed as, “I want to lose five pounds in the next ninety days.” Consider and describe what it would look and feel like to have it in your life.
2. What are your motivations for this change? This step gives you the power and energy to do what’s necessary. For instance, why do you want better health? What would that do for you? Answer the “why” question and make sure it’s a powerful incentive. This is probably the most important piece. If you don’t find one or more strong reasons to make the effort to change, you won’t follow through on it.
3. Make the importance of your new goal more desirable than your old pattern. You have to change your attitude towards your current position. It’s been familiar and comfortable. For permanent success in creating a new model, you have to alter your attitude towards your present situation and make it objectionable, unfavorable and detrimental. To do this, you could imagine where you’ll be in five years without altering your path. You could be 50 pounds heavier, have greater illness, or be more discontented.
4. What beliefs and/or behaviors need to change and how? What do you need to believe about your ability to meet your goal? You may need to know that you have the skills, and the assurance, that you can accomplish it. A new behavior that you might need to eat healthier is to choose fruits over chocolate cake for dessert.
5. What steps do you need to take to bring this new goal to pass? List each stage, step, activity, idea, and thing you need for your objective. Break it down into smaller and smaller chunks to make it easier to work with. Set small, attainable goals.
6. What obstacles might you encounter and how can you overcome them? This includes blocks in your environment and ones in your own beliefs. For instance, how will you deal with procrastination?
7. Focus on your objective. Before you can set your intention, you need to commit to putting your attention on your goal. Have a clear idea of what your objective is. Then you can decide what other resources, internally and environmentally, you need to bring it about.
The tension between your motive to change, and what could happen if you don’t, increases the incentive for your commitment. It also helps develop the quality and intensity of your intention.
Whenever you think of your goal, switch to focusing on your new intention and beliefs about it. You can change. To do so, you need to be consistent and persistent. It may take some time, but you’ll reach your goal. You, and the rewards, are worth it.