How would you describe them? Do they have one or two qualities that stand out to you above the rest? Maybe it's your mother's compassion, Buddha's wisdom, Picasso's creativity or Batman's courage. I admire Oprah for judiciously standing by her convictions and for the unwaivering faith she has in God and in herself as a child of God.
The qualities that stand out to you are the qualities that want to grow in you. They are qualities you already possess or you wouldn't be able to recognize them in someone else. These qualities can now consciously become intentions you have for yourself.
"I intend to stand by my convictions and to have faith in myself and in Life."
Watch my TEDx talk for a guided meditation and intention setting.
2) Cultivate the opposite elevated attitude
There's a Sanskrit term in the Yoga Sutras: Pratipaksha Bhavana. In her book, "The Secret Power of Yoga, A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras" my spiritual teacher, Nischala Joy Devi, interprets Pratipaksha Bhavana as cultivating the opposite elevated attitude.
If you identify fear as being a recurring obstacle in your life, cultivate the opposite, elevated attitude of love, confidence, faith or freedom. Whatever the opposite of fear is for you, that becomes your intention.
"I have faith in myself and in the future."
3) Choose how you want to feel
An intention is different than a goal. I could reach my goal of losing ten pounds, hating every self-depriving step of the way and still feel bad at the end of it. The real question is why did I want to lose weight in the first place? What is the feeling I associated with the fantasy of my goal? Was it a feeling of confidence? Worthiness? Desirability? Love?
Let's say that love is the feeling I'm after, my intention is then to wake up everyday and love myself unconditionally. As I treat myself with compassion, I might even lose ten pounds as a side-effect because the love and understanding I showed myself meant I resorted less times to emotional eating. But, the way I feel about myself is not contingent on this external change - rather the change is a reflection of the inner-state I intended.
"I am worthy of love and compassion. I am loveable just as I am."