Why Intention Matters

woman sits on field facing backward looking at sunny sky
by Gretchen Hydo International

What’s your intention for today?

This question may seem familiar to those of you who practice yoga or meditation. It’s something commonly asked at the beginning of a practice to help you focus and get your desired outcome.

And it works! But why? Intention isn’t magic. It is, very simply, an aim or plan. When we set an intention, what we’re doing is establishing a plan for our week. Without a plan, we are aimless and at the mercy of our circumstances.

As Benjamin Franklin cleverly put it, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Here are a few reasons why you should definitely set your intention at the beginning of each day:

  1. When we choose an intention, we are giving ourselves a focus so that when things go wrong we have something to hang onto. It’s like the anchor in a storm—it keeps us solid in the midst of chaos. If you chose gratitude as your intention when someone cuts you off on the interstate or a coworker interrupts you or your child makes a mess in the kitchen, you can find something to be grateful for instead of focusing on your circumstances.


  2. Our intention gives us an opportunity to learn. If you set joy as your intention, you will be put in a position to learn how to find joy in the minutiae of your day. Without that intention, you could have stumbled mindlessly through without noticing much about your decisions or attitude.


  3. Setting an intention allows you to begin the day mindfully. Instead of charging headlong into the morning’s activities, you take a moment for reflection and begin the day with a plan.

Setting your intention is not complicated! Choose a word or idea and allow it to guide you through your day. It’s good planning. If you want to be kind, choose kindness. If you want to be patient, choose patience. If you want to be content, choose contentment. Watch as this simple act begins to transform your day-to-day life!

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