This is a massive topic. It’s one I’ve been reading around now for about five years. And I’ll tell you what—when you see it working, it’s like magic just appeared in your life. So let’s start with three basic questions:
What is an intention?
An intention is a desire to be, to do or to have something. It’s an aspiration for progress. It’s an expectation that your life is going to be different, more enhanced, in some way in the future.
Intentions are not things you can get from someone else. They come from inside you and are often aligned to your “higher purpose”; that’s the unique thing that you were put on this planet for—only you have it! The challenge is to find it, define it, and live it.
If an intention that comes to you, you’ll know whether it’s going to fit with your next life chapter because you’ll have a sense of peace and excitement about it—usually at the same time. (How weird is that?)
I remember when the thought first came to me that I was going to set up Successful Single Parenting. I was going to use my experiences, my knowledge, my contacts, and my vision to serve other women (and men) who were parenting alone. I was excited, nervous, and confused—yet peaceful—all at the same time.
How do you “hold an intention”?
There are many ways that we hold intentions—some we have to learn, some we do without even knowing we’re doing it.
Here are three simple tools to keep the dream alive:
- Keep thinking about it: Whatever the thing is that we dream of—the job, the new business, our child at university, the book we’re going to write, the person we want to bump into—set aside some time to picture the thing happening. It might just be five minutes per day. But, create that new habit—commit to that time! It can become the most powerful five minutes of your day!
- Write your intentions down on a piece of card that you carry with you and read often. The intention should be written in the present tense like you’ve already achieved it AND with an emotion attached to it. So you might write: “I’m so happy and excited that my book is written and sitting on the shelves of every major bookshop in the country, and is scheduled for a re-print. Yippee!”
- Tell someone you trust. The important word here is “trust.” Only tell someone about your dreams WHEN you know they will believe in you, build you up and encourage you every step of the way. Even if your mum or your best friend loves you, they may not be the right person to share an intention with. It can be shattering to have someone mock your dream so, if in doubt, just use the first two tools. Or find a mastermind group to be part of (like the Silver Success Circle), where people are mentored about the importance of setting high standards, dreaming big and tapping into their greatest potential.
What do I do when I’ve achieved my intention?
Some intentions can be achieved in days or weeks (like joining a gym or signing up for a course); others can take months or years (reaching a career target, or supporting your child to read competently or be a gymnastics Olympian). Whatever your intention, when you reach it, celebrate! Take some time out, get your nails done, see a movie, take a holiday, or buy some bubbly—whatever you see as the right way to mark the occasion—mark it!
It is a natural and driving human trait to aspire. When we think we’ve achieved all we set out to, think again. Take some time to get comfortable with your level of achievement … then you’ll begin to aspire again (there’s some truth in the “ants in your pants” theory). When we openly acknowledge our achievements and are grateful and conscious of our successes we build up awareness and momentum around our unlimited ability.