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Setting Intentions & Sticking With Them

Going through each day with intentionality can be a powerful way to shape your life and see the changes you want to see. It’s all too easy to flip on...

Going through each day with intentionality can be a powerful way to shape your life and see the changes you want to see. It’s all too easy to flip on autopilot and cruise, only to reach the end of the day and realize you haven’t achieved what you hoped. Kick those habits to the curb with one of our favorite practices — intention setting

This might be a brand-new idea for some of us, but don’t fret. Here at The Good Patch, we want to see you succeed, which is why we have created this guide for you to begin your intentions journey. Keep reading for our top tips!

What Are Intentions?

Put simply, an intention is a commitment you make to yourself. 

We often talk about setting goals, but the two are not quite the same. Intentions differ from goals because you don’t need to feel obligated to measure or complete them. Instead of worrying about specific achievements, intentions allow us to direct our days towards personal growth gently.

Studies show that building this sort of framework for your life promotes more success in academics, work life, and beyond!

One way to look at the difference is to think about the goal's action compared to the desired outcome. If you set a goal toclean out the garage by the end of the month, your intention here might be to declutter the house. 

Of course, intentions will often support and work alongside your goals and values, but you can consider them to be the method of shaping the vibes of your life. They will guide both the energy you hope to put into the world and what you are looking to receive. 

Intentions can tackle day-to-day life or address the long term, such as monthly intentions or desires for the new year. Though they are broader than goals, setting clear intentions with actionable steps is still important to maintain your practice.

How Do You Go About Setting Intentions?

Starting something new can be scary, so ease yourself into it! Try using the following sections to write just one or two intentions for your day or week. 

Keep them small, and with a little clear thinking, determination, and hard work, you’ll be on your way to bigger things in no time.

Be Clear With What You Want

To get started, you will need to check in with yourself and get real about what you want to experience, feel, and achieve. Part of this may include goal setting, but it could also just mean creating scaffolding for your passion and efforts to climb. 

Take the time to find what matters to you and what you want to prioritize. Now is not the time to be shy about your desires. 

Nobody is around to watch you, so be as open with yourself as possible. Let go of your self-criticism and judgment, giving yourself the space to be vulnerable and reflect on exactly what you want out of your day, month, and so on.

If you are having a tough time sorting out your thoughts, give our Think patch a try. Dedicate half an hour to contemplating your goals and the purpose and motivation driving them.

Make Your Intentions Specific

Specific intentions are much more powerful tools than vague, nondescript ones. As a beginner to intention setting, it’s easy to start too broadly and make it hard to follow through. To make more powerful intentions, try to be as detailed as possible and use active language. 

For example:

  • “I want to lose weight” becomes, “I will practice healthier habits to improve my physical and mental health.”
  • Instead of “I want to be more spontaneous,” consider “I will embrace change and surprises, so I am ready for life’s twists and turns.”
  • “I want to be more present” could be, “I will approach each day with mindfulness and awareness of myself and my surroundings.”

The more you paint a picture of how your intentions will look, the easier it will be to recall them as you navigate life.

How Do You Stick To Your Plan?

Write Your Intentions Down

We all forget things sometimes, so why run that risk with the intentions you’ve just spent so much time coming up with? Besides, getting your intentions down on paper can help them feel more tangible rather than just some elusive concept.

Once you’ve written down your intentions, keep them somewhere visible! Instead of stuffing them into your desk drawer, put your list on the fridge, by your front door, or even as your phone’s background. 

Break Your Intentions Into Smaller Steps

Go all out with your intentions! This is truly the chance to shoot for the stars. The worst that can happen is you don’t quite get where you aimed, but you’ll still be ahead of where you started.

At the same time, it’s easy for anyone to start to feel overwhelmed if our intentions are too grandiose. Break large objectives into smaller parts to make them more manageable and easier to stick with.

Practice Self-Compassion

It’s hard to emphasize this enough — approach this process with love and compassion for yourself. Learning to set intentions is just that, a process. We all have moments of weakness or low motivation. Rather than getting down, cut yourself some slack and figure out what went wrong.

Experts say self-love is a vital part of mental health, so prioritize your well-being while practicing intention setting.

Seek Support

There’s no reason to go at this alone! Everyone will find themselves in a different position, but there are friends, family, and coaches out there that can keep you driven and on the right track. If you feel comfortable, consider sharing your list of intentions with someone close to you so they can support you and hold you accountable.

While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to help yourself. Do the research necessary to make the process work for you. For anyone hesitant to get going, the Starter Set is perfect for, well, starters. It has a patch for any hurdles you might meet during the day as you tackle your intentions.

Stay Flexible

Life is unpredictable, and your intentions may change over time. That is completely okay! Whether you face an external change or your interests change, be open to adapting your intentions as your circumstances change.


Setting intentions and sticking with them takes effort and discipline, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. By focusing on what you want and taking small steps towards it, you can create the changes you desire and live a more fulfilling life. As a reminder, setting intentions requires:

  • Understanding your desires
  • Getting specific
  • Doing everything in your power to see them through

Be gentle with yourself as you are still learning, but don’t shy away from the challenge. We know you’ve got it in you!


Self-Love and What It Means | Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Achieving your goals: An evidence-based approach | MSU Extension

[Evidence about the power of intention] | PMC


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