Realizing Intentions through Mindful Attention
How many times have you set an intention, whether in a yoga class or just life in general, then immediately allowed your brain to shift to the next fleeting thought? I am realizing this morning how often I do this, and chastising myself a bit as a result. Let me explain… For the second week in row now, I created the Monday Morning Affirmation email for the jmb Living Kula subscribers on Sunday and then neglected to send it until 10:30 Monday morning. While technically 10:30am is still in the morning, it is my intention for our east coast subscribers to be able to start their day and their week with this positive affirmation. I was kicking myself the first time I did this, but even more so today. How can we make sure we follow through on our intentions? This post explores thoughts and ideas on this very question. Realizing an intention, requires a follow through of mindful attention as well. This may require a little extra effort, but ask yourself whether you really desire the intention in the first place. If the answer is no, move on and make space for what is more important in your life. But if the answer is yes, a powerful first step is to commit to focusing on the intention. One of the first ways to do this is to state the intention to yourself. Even better if you state it aloud and announce it to the universe. And if you really want to be committed to following this intention through, tell your friends, family and co-workers as well. By doing this, you’ll be a little more likely to take action and create the intended result. There are a multitude of ways you can focus mindful attention in an effort to bring your intention to fruition. Let’s take a look at a few.
Make it physical.
An easy first step to do this is writing your intention down. Put it somewhere you can see it often - try placing a sticky note on your laptop or the mirror in your bathroom. Put your written intention or a step towards it on your to-do list for the day. And if it doesn’t get fully completed today, re-write it or another step towards it on your to do list again tomorrow. Making it physical this way gets the manifestation energies flowing. With respect to my intention to send out the Monday Morning affirmations first thing on Monday mornings, I have now realized that having a reminder for this on my calendar is not enough though. It seemed like a good idea when I put it on my virtual calendar, but I am finding that my mornings are a little more free flowing than when I was punching the clock in the corporate world. Since my work is quite a bit more creative in nature (I used to lead the tax department at a communications company.), I now work on whatever my mind has ideas about first. So, I need a new method of mindful attention for this particular intention.
Create Intention Reminders.
This brings me to my second thought - strategically place things in your environment that will remind you of your intention. If your intention is to be more aware of all the beauty in the world, a vase of flowers on your desk would be perfect. If you want to eat a healthier diet, be sure your kitchen is filled with lots of healthy choices of things that you would enjoy eating. If your intention is to exercise more, perhaps you make a habit of setting your work-out clothes out the night before. You get the gist.
Switch it up.
If you see your reminders around you every day in the same way, they will become commonplace to you and eventually you won’t even notice them anymore. This is another reason having the Monday Morning Affirmations reminder in my Google calendar didn’t work so well for me. I have this and other reminders as repeating weekly. While it is great that I don’t have to recreate them every week, the downside is that if I don’t check that calendar first thing every morning in my new creative free flowing way to my day, I miss the reminder. This is one reason I’m a big fan of a hard copy planner - you are making your intentions physical on a regular basis. You can put your creative juices on paper there and make it beautiful, stand out and organized in a way that works for you. Be creative and make reminders that will capture your attention. My new reminder for the Monday Morning Affirmations will now be a special alarm sound on my phone used just for this purpose. This type of reminder should work indefinitely for me - at least I’m hoping so.
Baby steps are a good thing.
If this is a big intention that will take days, months or even years to achieve, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by thinking you need to conquer too much in a day. Take baby steps and acknowledge each of these as a necessary and helpful step to put you just a little closer to realizing that goal. Ask yourself each day, “what is one thing I can do today to get me one step closer to realizing my intention?” Some days you will have more time and more energy available to make greater progress than other days. Yet if you are consistent in doing at least one little thing each day, no matter how seemingly insignificant, you will eventually find that you have accomplished quite a bit and created a habit that will give you even greater power toward reaching success.
Uncover ideas through meditation.
Give your intention a little focused attention via meditation. I never ceased to be amazed at how many ideas come to me by sitting quietly and expecting ideas and answers to be provided. To do this I state the question softly to myself and then patiently wait for feedback. Often my mind will wander, because that’s what minds do, but I then restate my question and open my mind to receive information once again. Actually this pattern usually happens multiple times when I do this, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t receiving information quickly. And don’t short change yourself by stopping before you feel you’ve got what you were hoping for. If you haven’t tried this yet, it can be such a game changer. The key is patience in waiting for information, persistence and a clear expectation that you will receive ideas and answers to your question.
Try a mantra.
Mantras can work amazingly well too. These can be used in meditation in the traditional sense of the word, but finding a phrase to repeat softly to yourself when the time is right can be very useful as well. One of my favorites is to say “cancel that”, any time my mind conjures up a negative outcome to a situation that I am playing over in my mind. Another recent favorite is “I am in the flow and the universe fully supports my dream.”
Do your beliefs support your intention?
Lastly, if you have been working on the same intention for quite some time and are disheartened with your lack of success, it would be wise for you to find some quiet time to ponder whether you have any limiting beliefs that are keeping you from realizing your intention. Beliefs are so powerful! You can put a fantastic plan in place and take action toward reaching your goals, but if your beliefs don’t align with your vision it is highly unlikely you will ever reach your destination. When looking for limiting beliefs, look for patterns of when things didn’t go right. What belief do you have that may be causing roadblocks and setbacks again and again? Fortunately beliefs can be changed. Consciously discard them when they are no longer useful to you and create new ones that are more supportive of your current situation. The first step in this process is mindful attention toward what beliefs you now hold that are not helping you. Once you decide to let these old limiting beliefs go, create new ones in the form of an affirmation. You may want to check out our resource on Creating Affirmations that Work at https://www.jmbliving.com/products/affirmation-cards to help with this. This method for creating affirmations also helps uncover beliefs that may not be helping you to replace them with ones that do. I hope you find these suggestions useful and may all your intentions come true!!! 💜 Julie