Meaningful intentions are positive and reachable in the short or long term. Having a distant goal in mind helps direct thoughts, actions, and choices toward where you want to go. Setting intentions can be most effective when those intentions are important to you personally. You have the power to set and keep intentions that make a path for the life you want and how you want to contribute to the world. 

Steps to setting intentions:

  1. Think about what matters most to you right now.

Whether it is in the next hour, the day, or the year, what change would you like to see in yourself? In the world? Would you like to turn off anxiety, see the good in people who have different views, learn a new skill, or take action for justice? What do you want to bring into your life?

  1. Write a sentence declaring what your intention is.

State your intention positively. Start with “I” and make it specific in amount and timing. Make sure you are excited about it, and it matters to you or the world. Ex. “I want to volunteer to plant trees and support environmental action.”

  1. Visualize yourself with your intention fulfilled. What are the steps to getting there?

Describe what success looks and feels like. Make a list of things that could help you succeed. The list may contain big and small things, some of which might not work. At first, it is helpful to think broadly, then you can narrow to the next right thing. Ex. “I will speak to one new person every day.”

  1. Establish a plan or routine.

Do you need to build exercise steps from ten minutes a day to 150 minutes a week? Write the routines, places, partners, baby steps, or progression that you set your intention to follow. Include journaling in your plan.

  1. Tell someone about your intention.

When we share our plan with someone we care about, we are more likely to stick with our intentions.

  1. Get started.

Carry out your plan. Write about your journey in a journal. Don’t criticize yourself for missteps. Just get back on track and keep visualizing what is important to you.

Setting intentions helps us clarify who we are, how we want to spend or focus our time, and what we want to contribute to the world. Learning to Give's tools help young people develop their intentions and purpose through a variety of giving experiences that build awareness of the role of generosity in an impactful life. Philanthropy experiences develop the relationship between self-identity and one’s role in community.