How to set daily intentions that improve your overall wellbeing (and productivity!)
You know how when yoga class begins, the instructor tells you to set an intention for your practice?
The instructor then guides you to bring awareness to a certain idea or quality — like gratitude, self-love, or strength — that you want to focus on during your yoga practice. Throughout the flow, you’re reminded of your intention and continue to go back to it throughout the rest of the class.
Setting an intention in yoga is a powerful way to connect your mind and body to a virtue you want to cultivate. But did you realize that you can apply intention setting to your daily life — not just your yoga practice?
Setting daily intentions is a great way to guide your mind and choices throughout the day. Daily intentions help you get closer to achieving your goals and living your values every day.
What is an intention?
Intentions are positive and purposeful phrases that guide you throughout the day. Daily intentions manifest a sense of focus and empower you to create the kind of day you want to have because you’re stating from the get-go how you want to feel. For example, your intention for the day may be to practice self-kindness, to stop taking things personally, or to act in a way that benefits the planet.
Daily intentions are different from goals, though, because they focus on the here and now. Goals are more future-driven and often take us out of the present moment. On the other hand, intentions are geared toward your state of being and how you go about things rather than actually getting things done.
With that said, intentions do help you work toward your goals. Because they bring awareness, purpose, and vision to your intent for each day, your daily intentions can serve as stepping stones along the way to achieving your goal. They guide how you achieve your goals and interact with the world around you rather than completing the goal itself.
Examples of daily intentions
While your daily intentions will ebb and flow depending on what’s on your heart and mind that particular day, here are a few daily intention examples you can reference when ruminating on yours:
- Today, I intend to be kind.
- Today, I intend to lead by example.
- Today, I intend to eat healthfully.
- Today, I intend to be the best partner I can be.
- Today, I intend to live gratefully.
- Today, I intend to be forgiving.
- Today, I intend to bring joy to someone else.
- Today, I intend to enjoy my own company.
- Today, I intend to practice mindful living.
- Today, I intend to be patient with those around me.
- Today, I intend to show myself unconditional love.
- Today, I intend to do the right thing when no one is watching.
Benefits of setting intentions
Daily intentions help you carve out a roadmap to the person you want to be and the goals you want to achieve. Through setting them daily, you are able to train your mind to focus on single qualities at a time. This focus ultimately helps you become more productive because you’ve learned how to tune out distractions and focus on what matters most.
Business coach Marla Tabaka wrote in Inc. that setting intentions open your eyes to things you may have missed. She wrote:
“For instance, I often work outside in my garden and I set the intention of maintaining an awareness of my beautiful surroundings. As a result, while I am focused on my work, I remember not to get so lost in it that I neglect to observe and appreciate the very thing I’m outside to enjoy. Every hummingbird, butterfly, and new bloom boosts my energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.”
Setting intentions helps us to mindfully experience our surroundings and overcome our self-imposed limitations.
How to set meaningful & impactful daily intentions
Want to start setting daily intentions? Here’s how you can easily set an intention every single day:
- Set your intention as early in the day as you can.
- Bring awareness to your breath, and breathe consciously and mindfully.
- Ask yourself how you want to feel today, what role you want to succeed in, how you want to affect others, or what core value or quality you want to honor. Your intention should have a positive tone and be a phrase that motivates and uplifts you.
- Write down your intention in a few words.
- Revisit your intention throughout the day. Whenever you’re tasked with making a decision, consider how your choices align with your intention. Your intention should stay at the top of your mind so you can go back to it when you’re feeling busy, stressed, frustrated, or down.
- At the end of the day, think about how you lived your daily intention and how it affected your day.
Are you interested in more resources on mindful living? Check out these posts:
- A Judgment-Free, Beginner-Friendly Guide to Mindful Living
- 20+ Affirmations for Cultivating More Self-Love, Today and Every Day
- 14 Beautiful Ways to Promote Peace in Our World Right Now