setting intentions

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Once upon a time there was a little site called “Spring” with monthly video discussions among four lovely creative ladies. Think The View mixed with helpful and inspiring content in blogland.

I just so happened to be one of these ladies. And this summer, two of the lovely Spring women, Jessica and Michelle, have launched their own book, The Declaration of You!

I’m beyond excited for them and cannot be happier to be a part of their Declaration of You Blog Lovin’ Tour today.

Plus, this leg of their “tour” is all about intention, so it’s right up my alley!


When it comes to designing my life with intention, I often get a lot of questions about how I actually go about setting my own personal intentions for my life during the Life with Intention workshops.

So today, I’d like to talk a little bit about how I go about setting a intentions for myself. 

(I will also say that this is simply what has worked for me after seven years of trial and error. I encourage you to being your own journey and find what is best for you and your life.)

The first thing I always do is start with a vision. You could obviously use a vision board for this, but my personal method is to write myself a future letter and explain in detail the life I’d like to cultivate in the next year as well as what I’ve accomplished in the future (shared in past tense, as if it has already happened).

Once I have a vision of what my optimal, but not “perfect” life, I then go about uncovering the intentions that would help me to achieve the lifestyle I desire.

Mind you, I try to stay away from “goals” (my perfectionist streak takes those things waaaay too seriously for my own good), shiny pennies, or metrics.

True intentions, to me, are enduring and flexible with changes in my life and feel doable immediately, in every moment.

As you might guess, I do my best to come from my gut with my intentions, not my ego.

This means if I’m thinking about my health, my ego might want to create some perfectionistic version of what I should eat, weigh, and do. Intentions from an egoic place in my life included “losing x pounds,” “running a marathon (to lose weight),” “eating six servings of fruits and veggies a day,” etc.

Though there is nothing truly wrong with having goals like those, they are not really intentions that I now strive for.

For 10 years, my ego tried to control my actions and outcomes with these kinds of tactics and I never had much success keeping them up. What if I became pregnant and could weigh “x pounds” anymore? What if I got injured and couldn’t run a marathon? What if I was travelling and didn’t have access to six servings of veggies?

In each of these cases my egoic intentions failed me. They were not principled enough to last me through setbacks, exceptions, and left me with a thinly veiled list of rules to live by. 

Now, with my gut in charge, my intentions are much softer, gentler, and powerful.

My intention for my health? To listen to my gut and eat what it desires until I am satisfied. To move my body for my mental and physical wellbeing.

Sure, I can choose to run a marathon one year if I feel like it. But the marathon is not the intention, it’s an action I’m taking because it supports the intention to move my body for physical wellbeing and to enhance my mental determination.

If I get injured? No big deal. I didn’t fail – I still pushed myself mentally and physically and did what I was capable of given the circumstances.

I could also work to include more fruits and veggies if my gut was telling me that I would feel better doing so. In fact, my gut did tell me that not too long ago, and I started to eat raspberry and kale smoothies regularly.

All in all, I’ve been simply amazed at the difference in my life when I shifted to intentions based on my peaceful gut’s nudging.

I never would have believed it, but many ego intentions I used to have – which went unmet for so many years – have now actually happened in my life as a natural outcome from following my gut’s gentle intentions. It turns out I never had to force rules (ego intentions) on myself to reach the outcomes I sought.

So though I might be a more extreme case than some in this whole perfectionist/ego thing, I do believe that there is so much wisdom to be gained from within ourselves that we often never seek. But when asked, our guts can lead us to the life we truly want.

Actions must be taken but they need to come from a place of peace in order to be effective.

For me, gut intentions really do make all the difference.


(PS – Since I am on vacation there will be no Wish I Knew Wednesday tomorrow. A new WIK season will begin next week!)


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  1. Adriana

    Hmmm…I assume you have a better gut than many.:)

    1. From the studying that I have done on the spiritual side of things, I have come to feel/understand that we all deep down have a gut/intuition/spirit from the same source which is wise, calm and peaceful. It does not lead us towards what is bad for us, only our ego (the belief that we are separate and incomplete) is able to lead us towards what is not truly in our best interest in the hopes that we will become connected or complete through exterior means.

      With this in mind, I believe we all have the same, wise gut. It’s wether we choose to slow down and learn to hear it that varies from person to person. : )

    1. It’s pretty simple: I put chia seeds (that have soaked in water for a few minutes), flax, frozen raspberries, frozen kale, and almond butter in a blender with some water.

      For me, it’s the best tasting smoothie that gives me the nutrients I don’t get from weekly nachos and other fun meals.

  2. Kendra Murphy

    This rings so true for me! I have recently begun trying to do this, but hadn’t put a name on it yet! Thanks for that 🙂

  3. Kim Smith

    I love the guidance to follow my intuition (gut) when making intentions. I always feel at goals and resolutions and they absolutely do end up feeling like a stronghold, which causes me to resist because I don’t want to be told what to do, apparently even from myself! ; )

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