What is Intention?
People often use the word “intention” in conjunction with lots of other things. When it comes to goals, for example, people may say, “my intention is to write a book” or “my intention is to travel to a foreign country.” We use intention often when we’re speaking about goals, wishes, or action steps.
Intention is the rudder that steers the course of our lives. We use intentions constantly throughout the day as we make lists of things we need to do, and for future planning as well throughout our lives. In fact, intention can be one of the most critical tools in making our dreams reality. What’s most important about intention is that intentions are set before the action is taken. Before getting in the car, the intention is set to arrive safely and on time. Before picking up the phone to make a very important call, the intention is set for whatever outcome is desired from that call. Intentions can apply to both how one wants to handle something as well as the desired result or outcome.
Using the phone call example, a Dream University ® Certified Dream Coach ® will decide, before they pick up the phone, that their intention is to create a positive rapport and relationship with their client. But they also have the intention to reach the desired outcome that the phone call is about, say success in having the client reach their own goals as a result of their discussions. There is a certain respect and value that a Dream University ® Certified Dream Coach ® will experience from their clients when they tell them upfront what their intention is and—this is important—make space to hear theirs.
Intention in Dreams vs. Fantasy
Often, when people are discussing their dreams, they seem so quick to abandon what they want after describing it. They often say something like, “Well, it might be nice, but it will probably never happen, so why bother?” Unfortunately, it’s become more common for people to not believe their dreams will come true unless something miraculous happens: if they win the lottery, if Mr. or Ms. Right rides up on a white horse or if the stars are aligned in the heavens. Intention can be a key factor in deciding if something is a dream or a fantasy.
Here is a simple and powerful distinction between a dream and a fantasy. With a dream, like owning your own business or traveling the world, you can design a strategy for making it happen by setting intentions. With a fantasy, like winning the lottery, there is nothing that you can do to make sure it happens. Sure, fantasies can occur, but again, there is nothing you can do to ensure it. Individually, we are the only ones who need to make the distinction for our lives and each of our goals. Can you set a path for achieving your goal? Then it’s probably a dream, and you should get started on creating a strategy for getting there. Sometimes we encounter people in our path who will try to be obstacles by saying our dream is a fantasy—you know the truth of your path, so don’t let them interfere with your strategy and intention to succeed.
Often, we also can get confused by thinking that dreams have to be glamorous or exotic. But your dream can be anything from simply spending more time with your family to starting or growing a business. It can be to become healthier and more physically fit, or to write a book. It could even be as simple as having a great connection with a friend today, or taking a whole day to pamper yourself. Dreams can range from the mundane to the esoteric, and sometimes what you truly want may come as a complete surprise.
Use Intention to Achieve Those Dreams
Start putting intention to work for you. Get a notebook and write down a single sentence that is the essence of what you’re committed to achieving, getting, doing, or attaining in your life. What changes do you want to make in life? It doesn’t matter if you can’t define all the details; they’ll come as you move forward. At this early stage, it’s important to not get hung up on whether or not the goal is possible or specifically how to achieve it. The important part of this step is just imagining that time, money and other life circumstances are not an issue. By imagining that all the required support is there surrounding this dream, it’s more likely that the goal will be reached. With this structure in mind, it’s time to bring in the intention.
The key is to get in touch with what you feel passionate about, what excites and motivates you. This could be as simple as, “My intention is to have a dream.” This isn’t as rare an intention as one might think. Some people just haven’t been able to identify their goals and desires yet, and that’s ok. Everyone has to begin somewhere.
This process will work to lead dreamers down the right path. It may help to imagine a time you spoke to others about an idea, and your idea turned into something more concrete. Perhaps the more you talked about your concept, the more real it became. Essentially, getting your intention out of your head gets the ball rolling.
The following are some examples of intentions that fit within the paradigms described above.
My intention is:
To know what I want and how to get it.
To find a new job that is more fulfilling to me.
To get out of debt.
To have a more intimate relationship with my family.
To feel more inner peace.
A Simple Exercise for Setting an Intention
To get started with solidifying your process of identifying your intentions, here is a small, quick exercise that can quickly show you the value of setting your intention. Sometime today or as soon as possible, write down one intention you actually have for today. It can be big or small, just as long as it’s for a short-term goal today. When it really comes down to how to accomplish our goals and dreams, it’s the intentions that we have each day that basically add up to the intention of our entire lives.