We all know what it feels like to start the day on the wrong foot to get out of bed on the wrong side! What if you started your day on a better foot? Start your day with purpose. Beginning your day with a clear intention can shift your energy toward the positive.

What Is an Intention?

An intention is like a seed that already contains the essence of what it will eventually become. When you plant your seed of intention and nourish it with your attention, you start to notice all of the people, events, and situations that can guide you to experience greater happiness and well-being.

An intention can be as simple and specific as “get out of bed by 6:30 a.m.” or “meditate each evening for the next week” or “make that doctor’s appointment tomorrow.” Your intention can also be broader, such as a quality you wish to cultivate more of in your life, including present-moment awareness, self-compassion, wholeness, and faith.

Starting your day with a clear intention can set the tone for your day ahead. When you have an intention in mind, you may be better able to stay aligned with your values. Tapping back into your intention during the day can help you remain calm and present as you deal with life’s up’s and down’s.

Here are a few ways to develop your intention, as well as some more tips to prepare yourself to stay on an intentional track throughout the day.

1. Get Clear on Your Values

Getting clear on your values can be a great place to start. Vulnerability researcher and author Brené Brown writes that when we live our values, “We walk our talk—we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs.” Brown supplies a list of values you can consider for your life. Your intention for your day or week or month or year can be chosen directly from one of your values or it can be an action or goal inspired by one of your values.

2. Get Clear on Your Desires

Author and teacher Danielle LaPorte suggests setting goals based on how you want to feel. She writes, “You get to choose how you feel … and shape your reality—it’s the ultimate self-care. Our feelings inform our thoughts. And our thoughts inform our behavior. Feel. Perceive. Act. Change your feelings, and you could change everything.”

Get clear on how you want to feel in all the aspects of your life. Then, set some solid intentions from there.

3. Set Your Intention Before You Get Out of Bed

The morning soon after you wake is a wonderful time to set an intention. Your body is primed for a new day, learning something new or making a big decision, the morning brain is generally receptive.

If you set yourself up for some personal reflection, intention setting, or positive awareness at the start of your day, then you have more foresight about where your day will head. As you move through your day, you will be responding to outside triggers through the lens of your intention rather than simply reacting.

Begin your intention setting practice before you even get out of bed. Upon waking, take several deep breaths and allow yourself a few moments to fully awaken. Place your hands on your body—your heart and belly if that is comfortable for you—and feel your breath. Consider what is present for you this morning. Consider all the demands the day will bring. Carve out these first few minutes of the day for some self-care or positive affirmations. Call in your intention based on what arises for you. If necessary, set an alarm for five minutes before you really need to get up to make this self-care time possible.

4. Stay Focused on Your Intention

Intentions need support to be maintained. This means that even if you wake up with clear, strong intentions, it is crucial to have reminders and tricks to stay on track.

Writing yourself a reminder note in your phone, keeping a little note folded in your purse or wallet can help you stay mindful of your intention throughout the day.

5. Make It Creative and Fun

Here are some other ways to get inspiration for intentions and to make them sustainable throughout your day.

  • Draw an oracle card. Ask the cards what you might need to know for the day ahead and let the message or image on the card guide you from there.
  • Practice guided meditation. Allow the message or insight from a guided meditation to inspire an intention for your day ahead.
  • Be grateful. When in doubt, move forward in your day with the intention to look for as many people and things to be grateful for as possible. You will thank yourself for it.
  • Move your body. Integrate your intention into your cells with yoga, running, dancing, or any mindful, meditative movement.
  • The Orange Dot is literally an orange dot sticker that can be stuck somewhere where it can be seen on a regular basis throughout the day. The dot acts as a cue/trigger to remind you to carry out a particular task or check in with your intention.
  • Make a small note in your phone or set an alarm with a note that reminds you of your intention at certain times throughout the day.
  • Write a small note that you carry in your wallet or your pocket and look at it frequently throughout the day.

Whether your intention is grand or small, personal or professional, set it at the beginning of your day. Starting your day with a clear intention can influence the flow of your day so it is self-determined and nourished with your own positivity. Set your to-do list aside and use your values, core desired feelings, and life goals to inspire your intention for your day.

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