08/18/2014 04:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Power of Intentions

PhotoAlto/Thierry Foulon via Getty Images


I like gold stars.

Those nice, shiny stickers you used to get, literally or figuratively, as a child. When you helped mommy with dinner, when you made your bed every day, when you got an A on your report card. You know, all of those little things that mean a really big deal while you're growing up.

Well, I still like them. It's a problem I was relieved to know I share with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project -- and I'm guessing we're not the only two who need them. While my fridge is obviously not full of little gold stickers right now, I love accomplishing something I set my mind to. And while I'm all for having huge dreams and aspirational life goals, I have recently started to realize just how powerful small intentions can be.

For instance, since moving to NYC (and no longer living out of a hotel!) I have made my bed every day. It sounds silly, but to be perfectly honest I just didn't understand why anyone would do this when I was growing up. I mean, I was just going to get right back in it at night? Besides, I hate sleeping in tucked in sheets..

So when I heard Naval Adm. William H. McRaven's commencement speech for University of Texas at Austin this year, I knew exactly what he was talking about:

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

It's the power of little intentions. It's setting goals for yourself that, although they may be small on their own, will ultimately help you lead a happier and healthier life. It's everything from taking the longer route and walking home from work to calling your parents or grandparents daily to waking up an hour earlier for some "me time."

This week, I made an intention to be more vulnerable. I have to say that starting Quarter for Your Crisis has already done this a million times over, but this week I chose to be more public and vulnerable with my intentions.

How did I do this?

I joined an Instagram challenge.

I know, I know. I'm sure many of you are rolling your eyes at how ridiculous that statement sounds -- holding myself accountable to my intentions through Instagram? Really?

But I have to say -- it WORKS. I don't know what it is about this challenge, but it was just what the doctor ordered. Maybe it's because I picked one that centered around all of the things I was hoping to explore in more depth -- yoga, meditation, random acts of kindness, self love, forgiveness and so on. But setting a new intention every day, and keeping those intentions for 21 days, is a challenge I become more exited to take on each day.

For those of you who may be looking to bring some of these same themes into your life, you can check out Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen's, instagram and the guide below to learn more:


Source: @yoga_girl

If that's not your cup of tea, start your own little challenge. Do you want to read more? Get outside? Find a new hobby? Set small intentions that you can work towards each day.

At the end of the day, it's pretty incredible to see how all of those little intentions can add up.

This post was originally published on Quarter For Your Crisis, an online community created to share stories of those who don't think normalcy is an option and who want to actually live and breathe their passions.