Last Updated on June 7, 2022
How often do you start your day without checking in with yourself? Maybe you roll out of bed and get straight to work, or the first thing you do is put everyone else’s needs above your own.
Ever since getting a puppy, my mornings have been less focused on my own needs and more focused on keeping him happy. I soon realized that this change meant I’d fallen out of the habit of checking in with myself before the day started.
If you don’t give yourself time to check in with yourself on a regular basis, you may feel a sense of disconnection from yourself and your goals. The more you avoid your own needs, the more overwhelmed you can become.
Something I find helpful to combat this feeling is to set a daily intention. This means taking a moment to pause before the day begins and asking myself what I want to get out of it.
By doing this, I’m able to stay more mindful throughout the day and focus on the type of energy I want to attract and put out into the world.
Setting a daily intention takes no more than five minutes, and it keeps you connected to your goals, desires, and needs. In this post, I’ll explain more about what daily intentions are, why they’re important, and give you some examples to get started.
What does it mean to set an intention?
An intention is a commitment to yourself.
An intention isn’t necessarily a goal or something that you measure. With goals, we’re often taught to set them using the SMART framework, but an intention isn’t as formal as that.
An intention is a feeling. A vibe, if you will.
Rather than something to achieve, it’s something to BE.
An intention can be:
- A tool to guide you through the day as you’re faced with decisions to make
- A reminder of what you want to focus on (because we all know how hard it can be to focus)
- The act of identifying the type of energy you want to bring into the day
- A reminder to stay mindful throughout the day
Intentions can align with your values or goals. They can also relate to the type of person you want to become. For example, if you value productivity, your intention could be, “Today, I intend to stay focused and avoid distractions.”
Why set daily intentions?
The way we change our lives is through awareness and intentional action. By setting an intention, you bring presence to your own thoughts and actions (because let’s face it, most of the time we’re not truly present 😅).
So why not just set a goal? Of course, goals are important because they get us out of our comfort zone and onto bigger and better things. But the act of setting a goal doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to achieve it.
To achieve your goals, you need to identify the steps that will get you from point A to point B. To stay committed to those steps, you need the right focus and mindset to get you there.
Without the right mindset, it’s easy to get distracted or talk yourself out of your goals. That’s why you need an intention. It’s a reminder of what you’re capable of. It helps you not swayed by your thoughts when they try to convince you that other things are more important.
“When you have clarity of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen.”– Fabienne Fredrickson
How to set daily intentions
I recommend writing down a daily intention as part of your morning routine. You could do this in your journal, daily planner, or simply in the notes section of your phone.
To set daily intentions, I write the following in my planner:
Today, I intend to [fill in the blank].
All you have to do is take a minute to think about what you want for the day. Think about what you want to get out of it. Think about the energy you want to attract.
Here are some other things to think about:
- What kind of person do you want to be today?
- What attitude do you want to have towards other people?
- What do you need to commit to in order to live a meaningful life?
- What do you need to focus on to achieve your goals?
Your intentions might change from day to day, or you might stick to one intention that you use all the time.
Once you’ve set an intention, ask yourself why this intention is important. What bigger goal, value, or desire does this relate to? This helps connect the intention to a greater purpose and better engrain it into your head.
Remember that these are commitments to yourself. Treat them as gentle reminders, not harsh rules.
Daily intention examples
Here are some daily intention examples that I’ve used in the past:
Today, I intend to:
- Stay focused on my to-do list
- Be present in the moment
- Stick up for my own beliefs
- Listen to my intuition and let it guide me
- Enjoy my creativity
- Be intentional and organized with my work
- Open myself to new possibilities without shutting myself down
- Stay in my heart, not my head
- Prioritize what matters most
- Embrace change in all forms
How to fulfill your intentions during the day
You’re probably going to get distracted from your intentions. Our brains respond to whatever gets thrown at us in the moment, so it will take conscious effort to remind yourself of the intention you set for the day.
Here are a few tips to help remember your intention:
- If you keep a planner or notebook at your desk where you can always see it, write your intention there so you’ll be reminded of it.
- Write your intention on a sticky note and stick it to your computer screen.
- Set a reminder alarm on your phone with your intention as the alarm name. You could do this at times during the day when you most lose focus (for me, that’s around 3 pm).
- Meditate on the intention before you start your day. You can do this for 5 minutes a day and repeat the intention in your head as you sit in stillness.
- At the end of the day, reflect on whether you upheld your intention or not. If not, write down a few ways you could improve tomorrow.
Try it out for yourself and set an intention for the day ✨
I hope this post has inspired you to start setting intentions in your daily life to help you stay connected to yourself and your goals. What intention will you set for yourself today?
Related Post: A Morning Mindset Routine To Start Your Day
Thank you! Will try this
Love hearing that, Nikeisha!
This is just so nice to read. I’m inspired.
Intentions are commitments to yourself! Love that. They really do work. I use them for everything even on the kind of dreams I wish to have at night! :) Thanks for the great post!!!
Ooh using them for dreams is an interesting idea! Thanks for sharing, Natali!
Good article. Mel Robbins says “You are one decision away from a different life.:
I recently discovered your blog and just wanted to say you are doing a fantastic job. I particularly enjoyed this post because your idea of setting daily intentions is brilliant! It is important to take care of ourselves first in order to take care of others. You explained very well how we can feel disconnected and overwhelmed if we avoid our own needs. I can’t wait to start my list tomorrow morning, I am sure I will feel more accomplished, happy, and centered if I can check all my boxes at the end of the day!
Thank you, Andrea! I’m glad you like this idea and that you found the blog!
Yes!! I love this. I always like to say being intentional about what you pay attention to! ashleycardini.com
Beautifully said, dear
It is nice to listen to heart’s sincere whisper
You made the importance of daily programming showcased and clear
Intentions shape our real personality, leaving the necessity of their embodiment obvious and bare.
We become more of what we focus on…very helpful reminders <3
I love this so much I took notes! I’m definitely giving this a try. Thank you!
❤❤❤good job, really helpful post, thanks for sharing your beautiful words with us ❤
Thank you for such an amazing post! You’ve simplified and represented the concept of “intentions setting” in such an interesting way.
Wish you luck! Keep writing.✨
Thank you so much, Varun!
I have a routine around setting intentions for the day. It took a long time for this to become a daily habit and I am not even sure if I can claim it. I do slip up and go straight for work. But for the most part, my favorite part of the day is the evening when I am off of work and I can reflect on what I did to complete my goal (or didn’t). I light a candle and get some comedy on!
Wow, what a good way to put it! That intentions are something to be, a commitment to ourselves. Setting intentions can be intimidating in the beginning, and I’ve felt like I don’t know exactly how to go about it. But this clarification that it’s just something to BE is so helpful :)
So glad you found this helpful, Skye!
This is just what works for me best. I usually regret days I don’t set goals for. Great post Cath…
You explained so nicely.It is amazing.You inspired me to start a new good habit.Thanks
Great tips on how to set daily intentions. This is something I do every morning and I find it a very meaning practice and a powerful way to show up how I want to each day. Great post!
Thank you for providing so much clarity on this, going to be incorporating some of these tips in my own intention setting.
Such an awesome content up there! Thanks for putting this out.
This is great. I’ve recently started getting up 15 mins earlier in the mornings, with the intention of making it earlier…baby steps….. I like to sit with my cup of hot water and this will be a great way to look at what I want in my day. I journal too so will be good to reflect in the evening. Love your posts, they are so thought provoking and useful.
Thank you so much, Vanessa! Love the sound of your morning routine.
I thank you very much! This is the type of information I can use, very well researched. Your personal and professional thoughts are a bonus! Thank you again!
Hi Catherine! This is so inspirational, I have already begun my morning ritual of determining my intention for the day! Thank you so much for this.
I love hearing that, Janet!
Hi Catherine I absolutely love your article on the power and value of setting daily intentions. I’m a licensed mental health professional and focus on setting a daily intention for my own well-being since it helps me feel grounded, secure and stable. I also think that intentions are more powerful than goals in some ways since it helps us reconnect with our values. I believe intentions are also a wonderful way to help us achieve our dreams and wrote a post about it on my blog which is a great compliment to your article!
Thank You for this. This came right on time for me.
This is exactly what I came looking for. Thank you very much and keep up the good work you do to help others develop their amazing lives.
Thank YOU, Gillian!