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Published on June 15, 2020

How to Set Intentions That Set You Up for Success

How to Set Intentions That Set You Up for Success

My body feels tight, and my muscles are sore from sitting hunched over my computer as I write.

“I really need to exercise more,” I think as I feel the tension in my shoulders. “I need to get in better shape.”

We all have those things that don’t match up with how we think our lives should be.

While our instinct might be to put something on our to-do list and muscle our way through making changes (often beating ourselves up with self-judgment when we fail), this rarely works.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” –-Carl G. Jung

Making a change requires self-compassion and knowing how to create intentions that set us up for success.

How Intentions Really Work

Imagine you have a problem in some area of your life where you would like to act differently.

While it might seem counter-intuitive, when setting intentions for success, it’s important to consider why things are the way they are right now.

Assuming that your unconscious mind is always working for your highest good, what benefit might you gain from not getting what you think you want?

While it might not always seem like it, we always have a positive underlying reason for doing what we do, even behaviors that aren’t so good for us.

Ask yourself, “What is a positive reason my unconscious mind might want me to continue this unwanted behavior?”

The answers are always personal and different for each of us.

In the case of my own exercise problem (or lack of exercise), when I asked this question, I realized my unconscious mind might be seeing exercise as in direct opposition to my writing.

I had newly freed up a lot more space to write and I was coveting it. From an outside perspective, it might have seemed obvious that there was enough time to both write and exercise.

However, I had a feeling my unconscious mind saw time spent exercising as threatening to this other habit that was also in the interest of my well-being.

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Writing was good for my soul, and finding time to do it more often was something I had only recently worked back into my life.

The answer?

I needed to come up with a new intention that encompassed both of my needs.

How to Create a New Intention for Success

I like to think of the intentions we consciously choose for our lives as a big safety net, a foundation arching under us, holding our energy, making sure we don’t fall too far from where we want our lives to go.

The more we direct our intentions with purpose, the more successful we become in achieving our desired outcomes.

Integrating the combined power of our unconscious and conscious minds ensures that we channel all our resources—our full self—when it comes to manifesting change.

I have recorded an audio-meditation and checklist to accompany this article, just for LifeHack.org readers, to help you take the information in this article even deeper. You can get your free copy of these tools on my website at LaurieSmith.com.

Here are10 steps for setting intentions for success.

10 Steps for Creating an Intention for Success

The following ten-step process is something I call an Activation Meditation(TM), which I developed and have been using in workshops and private sessions with my clients for several decades.

Activation Meditations(TM) are designed to help you access your own intuitive wisdom and direct your own transformation.

Activation Meditations(TM) incorporate the latest in neuroscience research, NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), Ericksonian hypnotherapy, energy medicine, creative visualization, and meditation techniques to help people activate their own power within to create deep and lasting change.

Step 1. Ask Yourself: What’s Not Working?

(In my case, sitting for hours at my computer without taking breaks or moving my body more was not working.)

Step 2. Imagine: How Do You Want To Feel Instead?

(I wanted to feel more relaxed, strong, and to have better posture.)

Once you have found your new intention, turn it into an affirmation.

An affirmation is written in the first person and present tense. It often begins with “I AM” (for example, “I am strong and relaxed”).

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Step 3. Check In With Your Intuition

What is your gut instinct telling you about the intention you have chosen?

Our intuition is communicating with us all of the time through our bodies.

Is your new intention what you really want? How do you know? How does this new intention make you feel?

It’s important to listen to our intuition since our intentions are so personal.

(In my example regarding trying to exercise more, when I checked the intention “I am strong and relaxed” with my intuition, I didn’t get that feeling in my gut that to me means a definite YES.

When I asked myself what might be an even better intention, the word “open” popped into my mind.

That felt much better.

Previously, I had been believing that there wasn’t enough open time on my schedule to exercise. My muscles were tight, which meant there wasn’t enough open space in my body.

Even though it might not have seemed related to my desire to exercise at first glance, for me the phrase “I am open” was a perfect choice for my new intention.)

Step 4. Imagine a Symbol that Represents the Way You Want to Feel

This is a step most people skip and is perhaps the most powerful one.

As psychologists Carl Jung and Freud both discussed in their work[1], the unconscious mind communicates with us in symbols.[2]

Using symbols can help accelerate our changes and make them stick. When seeking a symbol that represents your intention, trust whatever you come up with. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers.

Research shows visualizing is even more effective when we access all of our senses.[3]

If your symbol had a sound, smell, taste, or feeling associated with it, what might those be? Is it dark or light? Is it large or small? (There are no right answers, trust whatever first pops into your head.)

People see all kinds of different symbols when doing this exercise. Your symbol might be an object, an image, a color, a sign, something you have seen before, or something new you created in your imagination. Some people don’t visualize easily and instead might just feel a feeling or associate their intention with a sound or scent.

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(The symbol I saw was a spot of sparkling white light with a few colors speckled in. It was expansive and silent, calm yet energetic. This is the way I wanted my body, my life, and my inner spirit to feel as a result of exercising.)

Step 5. Visualize Your Symbol in Your Heart

Imagine bringing the symbol that represents your new intention to the top of your head. Then, imagine bringing it down through the crown of your head through your body into your heart.

You can do this very quickly by simply closing your eyes or in the form of a longer meditation, like the one I offer in the “free stuff” section of my website.

Step 6. Choose an Aligned Action

While still in a relaxed state, ask yourself:

“What is an action step—some specific way, a simple change, I can make to manifest my intention?”

(For me, the action step I thought of was to stretch more often. More than anything, I realized my body needed to stretch more throughout the day, especially after long periods of writing. Interestingly, stretching also helps muscles grow and relax, literally helping the body become more open and expansive, which was my intention.)

Step 7. Connect Your Action With an Existing Habit

What is a habit you already have that makes you feel the same way?

The idea is to start slowly and build upon areas where you are already experiencing success. Instead of finding a new window on your calendar to add a new habit in, add it to something you already do.

(For example, I decided every time I sat down or stood up from my computer or notebook, I would take a few minutes to stretch.)

Step 8. Brainstorm More Ideas

Brainstorm new ways you can integrate your new intention into your life. As you do, imagine your symbol. This will help bypass any inner resistance you might have to the new behavior.

(Brainstorming helped me to come up with many other creative ways to work small sessions of exercise into my day. I realized hiking could be a great time for coming up with new ideas for my writing.

By continually building on the success I had already experienced with my writing, I allowed my two positive habits to support each other, rather than being in opposition to my unconscious mind. As a result, I retrained my mind to see exercise as improving my writing practice, rather being in a separate compartment of my life.)

Step 9. Connect With Your Symbol and Intention Often

Imagine your symbol and repeat your affirmation/intention to yourself when you first wake up and right before you fall asleep. Research shows focusing on our intentions before sleeping can increase our ability to achieve our desired outcomes.[4]

Imagine your symbol also as you go through the actions of your day. This increases the chance that your intention will expand and positively affect other aspects of your life as well.

Step 10. Check In and Celebrate Successes

Check in with yourself at the end of the day and see how well you’ve done.

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Celebrate your successes and use periodic check-ins. Consider creating a ritual where you check in with yourself in the morning and before sleep, at the same time imagining your symbol and repeating your affirmation (#9).

This can help you keep your momentum going and help you find new ways to fine-tune the way you are integrating your intention into your life.

Final Thoughts

To review, there are two ways of setting intentions.

One is to choose intentions based on our rational mind – what we think we “should” be doing with our life, either based on others’ recommendations or how we think our lives should be.

The second is to tap all aspects of ourselves, our unconscious mind, imagination, intuition, and creativity.

Intentions set in this more holistic way succeed because they connect us with our self-compassion and provide us with handholds to grasp as we strive to create lives that honor all of who we really are.

Look at the list above from 1 to 10. Which step do you think you would be most apt to skip over or rush through as you create your own intention for success?

For me, it’s number 3. Sometimes I want to speed through exercises like this, and forget to check in with the wisdom of my intuition.

Our intuition, however, is the key to setting intentions and making them successful.

As you go through all these steps, experiment and discover ideas that work for you. Remember, you have within you the wisdom and positive energy that is always striving to help you create whatever is in your highest good.

You can find the Setting a Successful Intention downloadable checklist and the Creating a Positive Intention Activation Meditation(TM) that accompany this article on my website LaurieSmith.com.

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Featured photo credit: Khamkhor via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Laurie Smith

Inspirational Writer. Coach. Healer.

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

Before You Download

As you are no doubt aware, there are all kinds of calendar apps available. Instead of you sifting through the hundreds of them, we’ve handpicked 10 of the best calendar apps you can get. On top of glowing reviews from each one, we’ve considered the following aspects when creating this list:

  • User Interface – How you navigate the app should be smooth and simple. The buttons on the app should be clear, obvious and easy to move through.
  • Synchronization – Whether it’s with other calendar apps or with other apps, syncing apps should be easy and enhance your overall experience with the app.
  • Additional features – Since there are so many options for calendars, many of these apps offer additional features. These features make the apps stand out from the other apps and provide unique experiences to you.

1. Any.do Calendar

    This calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

    Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

    What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

    Any.do Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

    Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

    Download Any.do Calendar here!

    2. Google Calendar

      Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

      Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

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      Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

      The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

      Download Google Calendar here.

      3. IRL Event Social Network

         

        One of the most unique apps on this list is the IRL Event Social Network app. As you can guess from the name, the core focus of this app is social networking. Unlike other social media platforms, you can consider this platform to function similar to Meetup.com. It’s a site where you can connect with other people within your area that share a similar interest.

        IRL is that while also providing a convenient calendar for you to schedule events and plan out your day. Though due to it being a secondary focus, you’re lacking a lot of the syncing aspects that other apps have on this list. Regardless, because of this huge social feature, it’s worth considering for those who want to make more connections.

        Download IRL Event Social Network here.

        4. Business Calendar

          Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

          The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

          You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

          The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

          Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

          Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

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          Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

          A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

          Download Business Calendar here.

          5. Calendar

            Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

            A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

            Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

            Download Calendar: Meeting & Scheduling here.

            6. aCalendar

              aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

              Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

              Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

              When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

              Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

              The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

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              The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

              Download aCalendar here.

              7. DigiCal Calendar

                DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

                With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

                Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

                The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

                Download DigiCal Calendar here.

                8. SolCalendar

                  SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

                  The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

                  Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

                  Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

                  Download SolCalendar here.

                  9. Today Calendar

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                    Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

                    The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

                    If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

                    Download Today Calendar here.

                    10. Timepage

                      Timepage is an intuitive calendar app that will manage your time in a way that other calendar apps can’t. It offers the same sort of functions that you’d expect from other calendar apps: opportunities to record events, notifications and reminders, weather, and driving duration to a particular event. However, the app goes beyond those functionalities in two ways.

                      The first way is that while the app sends you notifications, it also has reminders for you for what is coming up next. That bit of extra time can allow you to prepare and make adjustments to your day if need be.

                      The second function – which is more important – is the heat map when you go to see the full view of your calendar. This heat map indicates what days you are most busy and other days where you are freer. This heat map provides a quick glance to determine broadly what days are good to add more events and other tasks.

                      Download Timepage here.

                      Our Verdict

                      Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

                      Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

                      Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

                      The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

                      More Productivity Apps for Better Time Management

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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