Welcome to this practice of setting an intention. First, find a comfortable upright position. If you’d like, you can sit with the soles of your feet touching the ground beneath you, allowing you to feel grounded. This practice can be done in any position that allows you to feel supported and comfortable while also remaining alert and awake. Once you are ready, try to relax your body to the best of your ability.
Start by rolling your shoulders and releasing any tension in your neck, shoulders, jaw, and face. Then, with your eyes closed or your gaze downward, take three to five deep breaths, each time inhaling deeply into the belly and then drawing the breath up through the torso. You can visualize a jar filling with water if that’s helpful for you. Then, exhale slowly from the mouth, letting all of the air out. We’re going to take just a few more breaths in this way.
Once you feel settled in the present moment, contemplate the following questions: What is it that I value most? What do I wish for myself, for my loved ones, and for the world? Allow yourself time to stay with these questions and see what comes up for you.
If nothing specific comes to the surface, don’t worry. Simply stay with the open questions. This may take some getting used to as we’re used to getting immediate answers to the questions we ask. Trust that the questions themselves are working, especially when we don’t have the answers. If and when answers come up, acknowledge them as they arise and stay with whatever thoughts and feelings they bring.
Lastly, take a moment to think about your conscious intention. You could think, “Today, I’ll be more mindful of how I feel and react to difficult situations,” or “I will try my best to allow myself to rest, knowing it will energize and motivate me to further actions in tune with my values,” or “May I treat myself and others in today’s situations with kindness, understanding, and less judgment.” Use this intention to set the tone for the day.
Once we become more familiar with intention setting, we can do this practice in a minute or less. That means we can find opportunities during the day to check in with our intentions and make sure we’re living in alignment with our values and the present moment.