THE BLOG
10/04/2013 10:36 am ET Updated Dec 04, 2013

7 Things to Keep in Mind When Setting Intentions

I was recently having coffee with a friend who, laid off from his big corporate job, is now receiving "just a paycheck," to make ends meet. He constantly told me how unsatisfying and unrewarding the job is, and his eyes actually sparkled when he told me about his last position, which demanded frequent creative problem solving and strong management skills. He couldn't wait to be back in that kind of world, he said.

Then he dropped the bombshell on me. "I'm going to invest in some things for this job, like one of those hands-free headsets since I'm on the phone so much."

"There -- there it is!" I shouted, practically leaping over the table. "Your conscious mind is saying you want a different job -- but your subconscious mind is saying 'Well, okay. Here's plan B, just in case I stay here.' That's setting the foundation for you not moving on. If you really do want a different job, set your intention, be clear and take the appropriate action to make it happen."

Merriam-Webster defines an intention as "the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose." Ever hear the expression "Well, the stars were all aligned for that one"? That's what an intention does. Sometimes without one, we stray without meaning or direction -- I describe it as just driving and driving around aimlessly, without ever having a destination in mind. With an intention, the universe's forces align to make even the most difficult thing possible. Your intentions will give you greater control of your life.

Spiritual Leader Fr. Richard E. Simpson says, "Often, once goals and courses of action are desired, life can settle down a bit because a good decision has been made."

Most of all, be sure the subconscious and conscious minds are fully aligned. Since the subconscious drives the conscious you can say you want something -- but if the subconscious is playing those "tapes" (i.e, I'm not good enough, I can't do this, I don't deserve it), your goal most likely won't be accomplished.

Also keep in mind:

Authenticity counts. Who are you? What do you really want? What's your mission? What can you offer the world? Who are your heroes? What's important to you? Know yourself, be authentic -- and both your personal and professional life will fall in place. Recently a friend called me in a panic because she had to decide quickly between two job offers, and they both suited her well, she thought. "What's your mission?" I asked. When she told me, I just replied, "There's your answer."
It's not necessarily about balance but alignment. In life, we tend to compartmentalize our responsibilities and then carefully stack them -- and then juggle like crazy to keep them from toppling. Let each part of your life support each other.
Be clear and specific. Sometimes people say things like, "I want more abundance." Well, that's really pretty vague, because abundance can mean many things, from family to money to nature -- so if it's money you want, then say that. If it's relationship and family, say that. Place deadlines, or a time frame, on your goals.
Watch your language! Did you know the word "want," really means "lack?" So never say "I want a new job"-- but, maybe, "I choose to have a new job." Don't use the word "should," either. It makes you sound like a victim. "I hope," just leaves the door open for potential defeat. Better to say, "I will."
Lather, rinse, repeat... Write down your intention, say it and repeat it over and over again. According to Abraham-Hicks, 17 seconds is all it takes to set that intention. At the precise 17-second moment, they says, the idea comes together and a specific energy is formed.
Look forward, not back. Focus on what your life will look like when the goal is achieved -- and if it helps, create a vision board.
Practice gratitude. Come on. We know even the worst day has one or two bright spots. Each night write down a couple of things for which you are grateful. Gratitude is one of the best ways to create the abundance consciousness, says Deepak Chopra because you'll focus on the source of all those things that came into your life -- and they'll continue to open to you. You'll also remove the ego and get in touch with your spirit.
Be determined. All the time, not just when you've reached your goal. "Though one may seem to have attained success for the moment, one will start to regress the instant one becomes careless and ceases making effort, beginning a slide toward defeat. Those who are continually pressing ahead are genuinely successful," writes Buddhist spiritual leader Daisaku Ikeda.

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