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By: Arena Ellis

The act of intention setting is quite simple – but what are intentions and why do people do it?

Intentions activate an energy that allows action to take place. They help create an awareness of your habits and surroundings, allowing you to be in the present moment, and can help you manifest certain outcomes in your life. Basically, these are simple things you set out to do that help you live your life more purposefully.

So, how can this practice positively impact your life?

Intentions help you create a vision that is truly your own.

We live in a social media world of influencers, Instagram models, and the portrayal of perfect lives. This is something that can not only rob us of our happiness but also creates a false truth for us – in turn, we become unhappy with our own lives and constantly strive for something that isn’t attainable (because it’s not always real!). Setting intentions can help you stay present in your own life and not get lost in others. Most importantly, these are meant to be true to you. If your intentions are aligned with your own values, this can lead to wiser goals and a life lived with integrity.

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Intentions help you to be mindful.

Mindfulness puts us in touch with aspects of our lives that are often overlooked. Intentions help you live your life on purpose. These two go hand in hand with each other. How many times do we reflect on things and ask ourselves, “why on earth did I do that?!” Intentions help take you off autopilot and helps create an awareness of what you want to put your attention and energy into in the present moment. How many things do we do each day that requires little to no thought? Brushing your teeth is a perfect example.

Guiltily, I am one that leaves the sink running while I brush my teeth. This was not something I was mindful of until my husband came and scolded me, then turned off the faucet. By setting the intention of being mindful of my water usage, it helps trigger a reminder for me to turn off the faucet. I am thankful to live in a place where fresh water is of abundance, but that’s not the case in other countries or even other states. Water is precious and should not be wasted; the intention that I set for myself helped remind me of that.

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Intentions can be key in shifting your mindset.

Just like how music or food can influence your mood – intentions can as well, creating the tone for whatever it is you set out to do. If you are constantly talking to yourself negatively, that will manifest in your physical life. Where does your negative self-talk automatically go to? Setting an intention to compliment yourself on something you’ve done right will help you stop being so critical on yourself for when something goes wrong. This can help you have control over your thoughts vs. your thoughts having control over you.

Intentions can be set daily, weekly, monthly, at each new moon, before any yoga practice – really whenever you want! There is no special number of intentions you should set for yourself. Just do what feels right to you. Keep them realistic. Write them down. Get creative with colors, hand lettering, and doodles. I’m hoping this will inspire you to start setting intentions for yourself. Setting an intention to start setting intentions can even be your first step.