Living in Gratitude: The Power of Intentionality

Our intention creates reality.

– Wayne Dyer

Studies have proven that happy, successful individuals have a set routine and habits that keep them focused. One of these practices is taking time each morning to set a daily intention.

Harvard Business School Professor and author Francesca Gino, has conducted considerable research on the science of intentions. She says that setting daily intentions creates a ritual that moves people toward accomplishing their goals. by increasing self-discipline and self-control. And, when we commit those intentions to paper, not only do we remember them, we set ourselves up for action.

Practicing intentionality helps alleviate stress, creating a feeling of inner peace and assuredness that provides a fresh perspective. An intention is simply a promise we make to ourself. Setting aside time to contemplate our purpose for the day ahead allows for the opportunity to collect our thoughts and make a commitment regarding what we want to achieve. It is also about thoughtfully stepping into our attitude and behavior. This positive intention can involve our health and wellbeing, self-care, our career, education, hobbies, social activities, family time. 

An intention is a simple statement and should focus on one thing each day. Setting a daily intention starts with the statement, “Today I will…”

Today I will begin a habit of setting daily intentions.

Today I will inquire about enrolling in XYZ class.

Today I will cook and eat healthy meals.

Today I will focus on the positive.

Today I will reach out to three important people to let them know I’m thinking of them.

Today I will complete the outline for my paper.

Today I will practice letting go of things that don’t serve me.

Today I will develop a draft for next year’s marketing plan.

Steps to setting a daily intention practice

  1. Dedicate time every morning to set your daily intention. A good time might be as soon as you get up, before your workout, while you sip your coffee.
  2. Keep track of these intentions by writing them in your day planner, noting it on your phone or calendar, or jotting it in a notebook.
  3. Welcome any discomfort or unmet expectations you may feel. Be gentle with yourself. Rather than turning away, face the discomfort head-on. Give it a name: frustration, fear, uncertainty…. By facing it and calling it out, you help mitigate its power. And, the bigger the unease, the most significant the intention surrounding it.
  4. Ask yourself, “What do I need most right now?”
  5. Write down what personal promise you will make today to bring you what you need. 
  6. Strive to keep your feelings and intentions positive, but if what you really need today is to let something negative go, that’s okay. Express this intention: “Today, I am done with…”  Worrying about the future. Dwelling on past failures. Letting others take advantage of me. Feeling like I am not good enough. Tomorrow, try to counterbalance the previous day’s negative with a positive affirmation, “Today I will ….” Express my gratitude to others. Live in the moment. Re-connect with an old friend.

Setting daily intentions is a powerful, personal way to look inward and give ourselves what we need. Intentionality can help us reach our goals, both personally and professionally. It is a rudder to steer life in the right direction – day by day.

For more information on the power of using intentions, setting goals, and embracing rituals, read this article by Thrive Global, or read Francesca Gino’s book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan.

May your day be filled with gratitude and good intentions.