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What Is Intention Setting?

March 17, 2023 | The Aerial, BVI

Intention setting is common in personal development and spiritual practices, as well as in professional capacities such as for goal setting and strategic planning. On the surface it might sound like wishful thinking, but intention setting is about more than just setting goals—it’s about commitment and purpose. 

Defining Intention Setting

Intention setting is the process of creating a clear and focused mental or emotional intention for a specific goal or outcome. 

It involves consciously directing your thoughts and energy toward a desired outcome or experience, with the aim of increasing the likelihood of achieving it.

But while intention setting might seem strictly cerebral or spiritual, there’s a practical element to it as well. And that element makes all the difference. 

intention setting ceremony

How Does Intention Setting Work? 

There are many ways that you can approach intention setting; common methods include meditation, visualization, and personal affirmations. The important thing is to identify a specific goal or outcome and then focus your thoughts and energy accordingly.

When you hear of intention setting in this way, you might think of the law of attraction, or The Secret. But while there are certainly parallels (the law of attraction does encourage you to focus on and “manifest” the outcomes you hope to achieve), intention setting has wider-reaching implications than that. 

For some, intention setting is indeed a spiritual practice. However, you don’t have to be a spiritual person to benefit from intention setting. Even the most analytically minded individual can benefit from the practice. You can look at it as making a covenant with yourself. You’re declaring what you want to achieve, reflecting on what you must do to realize the goal, and committing to building the life you’ve dreamed about. It’s goal setting on a much more visceral and meaningful level. 

For those that are spiritually inclined, intention setting can be a transformative way to communicate your deepest desires and heartfelt needs. For instance, cacao ceremonies incorporate intention setting in a communal atmosphere as part of a broader spiritual exercise.

The intention-setting practice, combined with the consumption of ceremonial cacao, brings you into closer alignment with your goals. 

What Are Some Examples of Intention Setting? 

When it comes to setting intentions, the most important thing is that the intentions are specific and achievable. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach for the stars. You absolutely should establish challenging goals that others might think are out of reach. “Achievable” just means that the goal can conceivably be reached with a plan of action, regardless of the odds. 

Intention setting can be a type of personal affirmation: I intend to be kind to myself and those around me.

Intention setting can be a launching pad for self-improvement or personal growth: I will increase my income by 20% this year. 

Intention setting can help you to manifest your deepest heart’s desires: I will become the best version of myself to attract the partner of my dreams. 

Intention setting can help bring your immediate priorities into focus: I will be fully present with my family on this vacation. 

Intention setting can be a way of conquering negative emotions and prioritizing self-care: I am replacing my limiting beliefs to attract more purpose and abundance into my life. 

You can set daily intentions for your relationships, self-image, behavior, health (both physical and mental), workplace, short- and long-term goals, and just about anything else in your own life that matters to you and is in your control.

group of people learning intention setting at the Aerial BVI

The Benefits of Intention Setting 

At The Aerial, BVI Elevate Summits and Deep Wellness Weeks, we have found intention setting to be a powerful way for people from all walks of life to articulate and manifest their deepest desires. That’s why we prioritize intention setting as a key activity at the beginning of the retreat. 

Consider just a few of the core benefits: 

  • Intention setting can help you to better understand your own goals and priorities. And once you visualize and verbalize them, you’re more motivated to achieve those goals. 
  • Intention setting serves as a type of deep introspection. You begin to better understand your own needs and priorities, and you’re able to make more intentional choices in every aspect of your life. 
  • Intention setting can ease stress and anxiety. It helps you to reclaim control and authority over important aspects of your life, particularly those aspects that cause you unrest. 
  • Setting intentions can help you to think outside the box and explore ideas and possibilities that you might not have otherwise considered. It’s a way to tap into your creativity and find new, innovative ways to approach your goals. 

Setting an intention is all about restoring direction, purpose, and motivation. There are spiritual components, but there are also practical elements from which anyone can benefit. And it’s not simply a self-fulfilling prophecy or wishful thinking. Research shows that human intention can have a profound impact on physical reality. So let your good intentions prevail! 

infinity pool at the Aerial BVI

Set Your Own Intention

You don’t need a formal intention-setting experience to benefit from the practice. Intention setting can be as simple as closing your eyes, reflecting on your heart’s desire, and articulating your goal. Then it’s up to you to manifest that heart’s desire. Set intentions, and then bring them to fruition.

The intention-setting process can be especially effective when incorporated as part of a larger personal growth journey—whether that be a retreat, a prolonged journey of personal development, or a simple process of small but meaningful wins in your day-to-day life. So speak your best intentions, and watch as your life is transformed.

group of people performing yoga exercises