My mom would often say, “If you intend to purchase gold, aim for diamonds. Don’t even consider silver as an option. If you set your intentions for silver, you will most likely end up with copper or brass. But if you aim for diamonds and end up with gold, it’s still a win-win.” My mother was a mistress of spices, not words. But her analogy makes a lot of sense: Set intentions for whatever lights your passion on fire, and always aim high because intentions become the driving force behind our goals and visions.
Intention has a lot to do with how we experience our days and our life. In yoga studios, instructors often suggest setting an intention at the start of class. During class, they reiterate that students should check-in with themselves and assess where they are with their intentions. Your intention could be about directing more compassion towards yourself or to find centeredness or to maintain an awareness of your surroundings. When you practice asanas, you are reminded to not get lost in your thoughts, so you don’t neglect to observe and appreciate what drives you in the moment. The teacher is going to teach the same yoga practice to everyone in the room, but what you get out of it depends on your intention.
Intentions are different things to different people. And, you will be happy to know that intention-setting isn’t just for yogis and the meditators. Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. When you decide to cook a new dish, hop on a Zoom chat with a friend, wear a mask before your walk these days, order a present for a loved one online, or meditate to lower COVID-19 stress, it all starts with intention.
What does intention-setting help us achieve? Here is an example: I always knew I wanted to be an author. I have traditionally published 12 award-winning and best-selling books in nine years. Before writing each of my books, I dug deep and practiced some intense self-reflection and charted out what path I was going to take. I worked with my intentions and checked-in to see where things are at on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. I also set aside time to reflect on the intentions and observed areas of resistance or ease. Because I set an intention, I found myself not relying on fate or feeling demoralized by rejections. I stayed focused and optimistic throughout the process. Paraphrasing what the wise say—setting an intention is like illustrating a map of where we wish to go. Without intention, there is no map, and we’re driving down a highway with no purpose in mind.
Psychologists have found evidence of greater levels of achievement when daily intentions are set and revisited. The key point: Don’t set an intention and then forget it.
“Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome. The law creates the world.”
Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an international speaker, best-selling author of 12 books, and Ayurveda and mindset coach is a wellness columnist for SEEMA and committed to helping people thrive on their own terms. As a trusted source on health and wellness, most recently appearing on NBC and Radio Lifeforce, Sweta has dedicated her career to writing about and teaching a more holistic approach to creativity, productivity, health, and nutrition. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and other publications across nine countries. Sweta is a trained yogi and certified Ayurveda health coach and holds a Master’s in Strategic Communications from Columbia University. Voted as “One of the Most Influential Asians of Our Times” and winner of the “Voices of the Year” award (past recipients have been Chelsea Clinton), she lives in NYC with her husband.
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