It may seem obvious, but setting your intentions is the most important part of intention journaling.
Intentions are meant to focus your thoughts, and therefore your behavior, throughout the day, so choosing well-worded, actionable intentions is crucial for your success.
Here are some prompts and ideas for how to make the most effective intentions that work to help you achieve your goals.
How to Write Effective Intentions
Intentions need to have the most powerful, active, positive words that you can believe in and act on. Here are some ways to write intentions that work.
Focus on What You Want
Don’t phrase your intentions with a focus on what you don’t have. Avoid words like ‘can’t,’ ‘don’t,’ and ‘won’t.’ Instead of ‘I won’t get stressed out by my boss today,’ try ‘I will remain calm at work today.’
A negative intention just puts more of your focus and energy on the negative aspects of your life.
An intention to remain calm under pressure helps you in a wide range of life situations and opens your intention to greater relevance and meaning.
Start With ‘I will’
Starting with ‘I will’ is the most powerful way to begin an intention. It’s stronger and more assertive than ‘I intend to,’ and more believable than ‘I am.’
Choose Strong, Active Verbs
As much as you can, avoid weak verbs like ‘try,’ ‘make an effort,’ or ‘do better.’ Those kinds of intentions distract you with the behaviors of effort and trying, rather than behaviors of doing and accomplishing. As Yoda said, ‘Do or do not do. There is no try.’
Focus on Things You Can Control
You may be tempted to write intentions like ‘I will make Jimmy love me,’ but you can’t control Jimmy’s feelings. You can only control your behavior.
And perhaps the universe has better plans for you. A better intention might be ‘I will pursue the happy, loving relationship I deserve’ or ‘I will show Jimmy how important he is to me.’
Make intentions you can believe in. Some of our biggest goals and aspirations may seem out of reach, and we aren’t sure how to accomplish them. If you feel like you can’t (yet) believe in an intention like ‘I will achieve financial security,’ make the intention more manageable, like ‘I will pay off my debts’ or ‘I will save money for future goals.’
Make the biggest, most ambitious intentions that you believe you can act on and work toward. Revisit these intentions and make them bigger over time, as you gain confidence.
Some Ways to Envision Your Intentions
When thinking about what kinds of intentions to set, here are some questions to ask yourself. You may want to revisit these questions periodically, as your answers may change over time:
- What do you have in your life right now that you want more of? Is it love, success, enjoyment, money, peace, health, meaning, connection?
- What do you have in your life right now that you want less of? Is it stress, confusion, pain, worry, isolation?
- What do you need that you don’t have in your life right now?
- What would a perfect day for you be like? Imagine it in detail, from waking to sleeping.
- What do you want your life to look like in five years? Ten? Twenty?
- What would you do with your time if you could afford it?
- What do you love?
- What inspires you?
- What did you love when you were younger that you haven’t done lately?
- What do you stand for?
- When was the last time you took a risk? How did it work out?
- What are your good habits? Your bad ones?
- Where are you spending your time and energy? Is it worth it? Are you wasting your energy on things that don’t benefit you?
- When was the last time you showed love? Felt loved?
- What motivates you every day?
- When do you feel most productive? Most empowered? Happiest?
Exploring these kinds of thoughts and memories may take a long time. It’s engaging in a process of better understanding yourself, your wants and needs, and your dreams and goals in life. It doesn’t happen overnight. Take your time, and enjoy this journey of self-discovery.
Intention Prompts and Examples
It’s always important to come up with your intentions. They should grow within you so that you recognize them as familiar and part of yourself seeking expression.
Your intentions are about pursuing your vision and recognizing your own, unique self, rather than living up to someone else’s standards or ideas of what life should look like. However, here are some prompts that may help you craft your intentions:
- I will write in my journal every day
- I will manage my finances promptly and effectively
- I will practice self-care in my life
- I will remain positive in the face of setbacks
- I will be patient when I am frustrated
- I will show love and care for people in my life
- I will be calm and present
- I will succeed at my tasks
- I will be open to the abundance the universe has for me
- I will learn to receive love and praise from others
- I will spend my time in positive ways
- I will listen before reacting
- I will enjoy my life to the fullest
- I will lead by example
- I will forgive others, and myself
- I will make someone smile today
Intentions can cover every area of your life, every period, and goals and visions that are large and small.
Finding your intentions and then making them a part of your daily life is an incredibly powerful way to set your path forward, working in harmony with the forces around you, rather than in conflict.
Intentions work in unexpected ways, so stay open to the process, keep your mind positive, clear, and focused, and use your intention journal twice a day to keep yourself working toward your goals.