In today’s post I want to share with you a simple yet surprisingly effective way to meaningfully set, build, and achieve what you want. It’s a self-created ritual I have been practicing since late last year. At the beginning of each quarter of the year, I set a list of intentions and check back at the end of the quarter to see how I did. The first time I did it, I was floored by how effective it was.This method brought me more money, gave me key career opportunities, allowed me to travel, and even brought me a few dates ;).
Now, I look forward to each time it and it has actually become a fun process. I’ll walk you through the steps that I took in a minute but first I want to tell you why it works.
I love this method because it is based on the idea that everything you set out to do first starts with an intention. Whether it’s leaving your job, making more money, or traveling across the country, it is the intention that precedes and supports the action. I believe in setting intentions as opposed to goals because for me, goals brings on a certain element of rigidity and constriction where as intentions feels a lot more fluid and organic. Setting an intention allows us to concretely determine the action or result you want and do so while invoking the belief that a benevolent higher power is supporting you in carrying out those intentions. It relieves the pressure of getting it “perfect” or going at it on our own.
Ok so here it is, the intention setting method I use to fulfill my dreams:
#1 - Schedule a date. Set a time on your calendar to do this exercise. It should take you about 2-hours or less. Honor and stick to this appointment with yourself as you would a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with your boss.
#2- Pick a location. Choose a location that you have a special connection to where you can do this alone and won’t be distracted. This place should hold meaning for you and can be regarded as sacred. Some suggestions would be outdoors in nature like the park or the beach where you’re near water.
#3 - Grab a notebook. This notebook shouldn’t be any ordinary notebook. It should be one specifically designated for your career plans, dreams, goals, ideas, and notes.
#4 - At the top of a blank page write: My Dreams for _______________________ (enter a date 3 months from today) i.e. My Dreams for September 30th, 2016. I find it easier to do this exercise every 3 months in alignment with the quarters of the year.
#5 - Write down your 5 intentions for the next 3 months. Now this is the most important part of the exercise. As you write your intentions: Choose your words carefully, keep it simple, and Be specific.
Choose your words carefully: Word your intentions as if they already happened. The best way to approach this is to visualize yourself 90 days from now and you’re recounting the goals you’ve attained. Use words that are in the past tense. I like to start my intention statements with the words “To have…” so an example of my list would look like:
- To have delivered 3 speaking engagements
- To have brought in an additional $5k a month in business revenue
You get the idea. By the way, I set the above intentions a few quarters ago and they each have come true.
Be specific. Tips to making your intentions more specific are to include numbers and percentages where possible, names if relevant, titles, locations, etc. The key thing to remember is to make sure your intention is not vague.
Keep it simple. Keep your intentions to one sentence, straight forward, and uncomplicated. It should be easily understood such that a toddler would understand it.
#6 – State your intentions out loud. Vocalize your intentions and hear your own voice declare the results you intend to create.
#7 - Release the Outcome. Resist the urge to overthink it or to figure out the how. This breeds uncertainty and fear. Remind yourself that everything will work out naturally as it should and possibly better than you could have planned it yourself.
#8 - Let the Universe do it’s job. This is where you take a step back and let a higher power orchestrate putting the pieces in place. This is possibly the most difficult part of the exercise but it is good practice letting go of the need to control or force things.
Some additional tips to consider
Revisit your intentions regularly throughout the three months. You may want to post your 5 intentions where you can be reminded of them. But be careful not to obsess over them.
You can do this in a group or individually. I do it alone but doing it with a group of your trusted peers or mentors can work really well.
Stay aware. Opportunities will begin to present themselves even if things look the same as they did yesterday. It’s in the ordinary and mundane that hold the most opportunity for change.
Act in accordance with your intentions. If one of your intentions is to travel, you may want to start looking at travel magazines, download the Air BNB app and look at listings, and even look up airfares. This reinforces the commitment to your intentions.
I’m excited to hear how you use this formula. Play with it, test it out and have fun in the process. What is the worst that can happen?
Let me know how it goes.