Starting Off 2017 With the Right Mind-Set
Okay I’m going to admit something embarrassing. Before I did this, I found the concept of Intention Setting kind of eye-rolling.
My husband works at an awesome company that is very forward thinking not only when it comes to technology but also emotions and consciousness.
Meaning the meditation room at their office isn’t just for show, it’s very practiced in daily. If you’re not a believer let’s just pause here while I explain why you can’t knock it. The people who go in that room are wildly successful, driven, and thought-provoking individuals. Not only that, but the many many dad’s at the company are all under that umbrella of rare dads that are all incredibly involved in parenting their kids. Like if I make a list of the best dad’s (and even fun uncles) that I know, the guys in this office ALL make that list.
The point of all this being, I have no reason to discount anything that my husband brings home from work—physically or mentally—because he’s surrounded by exactly the kind of persons I want him to continue being. If that makes any sense!
So when he came home a few weeks ago and said he wanted to sit down and do some intention setting I quickly agreed. But even though I agreed to the conversation, it does not mean I am without faults. I admit, I try to be forward thinking but I often get stuck in old habits and patterns. And remember: agreeing is not necessarily believing. So yes I agreed to the process of intention setting, but I was not a believer. Not yet.
What is Intention Setting?
Intention setting, at least for us as a couple, is sitting down and talking about the goal we want to manifest in the future. What will be the future version of us?
These goals aren’t broad and vague but rather as detailed as you want to go. We set these intentions by starting off saying a lot of “I will” and “We will”. I think it’s best to start with “I will” when doing this exercise with a partner because you are not putting your expectations on said partner. When you do that, some will rise to the challenge, but others may revert to a defensive and “self-limiting” position. By saying “I will” you are declaring the intention for yourself alone and empowering your partner to do the same.
This is not limited to jobs, money, or physical shape. Answer these instead:
- How do I want to feel?
- How do I want to be?
- What are the important tasks?
- How will I nourish myself?
- For what do I give thanks?
The ultimate goal of intention setting and sharing, particularly as a couple, is to bring alignment to your relationship and life. You are setting yourselves up to be on the same journey with few surprises when you get there. By declaring these intentions, you are setting up a support system to help create this future. Intentions + action = manifestation. And when you manifest these intentions you will surely create a life of abundance, love, and success.
Our Intention Setting Story
Chris came home on a Friday and told me how he wanted to set aside some time over the weekend for us to do some intention setting. I asked him, “what do you mean?” He explained that he wanted to set intentions for next year, like New Year resolutions. I gave him a deadpan look “really?” I sarcastically replied, “okay Chris here are my resolutions: have a healthy baby, get the slam bam bod, have Colton be healthy, make more money. Done.”
My husband. He’s as patient as a saint. He knows how to slow roll me into achieving these kinds of talks. He simply gave me a slightly amused look and said look, we’re going to get really specific and talk about our individual intentions and family intentions. But you’re not in a good mental state to do this so we’ll just pick it up later this weekend.
I silently sent out a hallelujah that I was getting out of this talk that seemed completely unnecessary. At least for another day.
The weekend progressed with Chris bringing up the intention setting a few more times. But it was always inopportune times to truly sit and talk the way he wanted to. There were a few moments we could’ve made it happen but Chris forgot and lord knows I wasn’t about to remind him!
But Sunday night came. Colton was asleep early. Our bellies were full and everyone was feeling good. I was officially out of excuses. So when Chris asked if we could do the intention setting my voice said yes, but my posture said everything negative I didn’t voice.
He started by prompting me to set my intentions. I repeated my sarcastic comment from the day before about New Year resolutions. Chris didn’t get mad, he just said you know what I’m going to go first.
“I want to set the intention that at this point next year I will be at this position in the company. This is the culture I hope to see within my company, these are things I hope to have happened technology wise and things I hope we are capable of doing with that technology.”
Obviously he went much deeper than the brief description above. Which of course caused me to slowly unwind my arms from their defensive position and start chiming in about my thoughts on his views. We described exactly what responsibilities he would have in the role he saw himself as in. We covered work and he moved onto salary and what a certain salary would enable him to do: what car he would be driving, what activities we would be active in and participating on the weekend. We described our weekend schedule and I began to get really into this activity.
We talked about what skills we hoped Colton would have and how we would get him to that point. Which lead to some enlightenment about what our goals were for our kids’ education. While we had the same goals at the end of the day of course (brilliant, kind and athletic mini-god lol), we had different ways of seeing these goals come to fruition. So this part of the conversation led us to researching and deciding trying some new parenting methods.
We started mentally decorating our home to be exactly how we wanted it, we spoke about the hypothetical budgets we wanted to maintain, how much money we wanted in savings, and what financial investments in our home and life we would be making. We talked about specific vacations we wanted to take and how long we would be gone and would we fly or would we cruise and how would we do it with two kids.
We spoke about where our mental and physical state would be and what activities we would be doing to achieve these states of physicality and consciousness. These activities varied from yoga, meditation, paddleboarding, salt water tanks to clear the mind and more.
Switching the Focus to Me: The Break-Through
At this point Chris still lead the conversation and most of what he said started like this, “I will be doing this. I will think this. I will know this.” I will, I will, I will. It took the pressure off of him telling me “we should, you should, or you will.” He focused on himself. But him is really part of us and I can’t help but view us as an unit. So when he sets forth a goal for himself, I immediately seek out how I can meet him in that goal and make it part of us.
After a short while I had developed from the very reluctant participant to someone fully immersed in the process. So when Chris turned the tables and had me lead the conversation, my guard was down and I was ready to participate. This brought on even more personal enlightenment.
How do I see my blog developing—as a continued output for my thoughts or do I want to share food or products? Do I view it as a hobby or source of income at some point? How do I view myself as a mother? How am I balancing work and home? What is my daily schedule with two kids, work, meals, and workouts? What can Chris do to help me achieve these personal goals?
We discovered my fears about not being a fully involved mom of two because I’m trying to balance other tasks. And my husband, sitting there so open to my fears and helping me conquer them, helped me set a future schedule and listened and offered his opinion on where he could help out. While we may not keep to this exact schedule when our second baby is here, there is a sense of calm that comes from deciding a schedule and knowing that I have so much of his support in it. We conquered my basic day to day fears and aligned ourselves to be on the same path, bringing more continuity and harmony into our daily lives.
And then he pushed further into uncomfortable territory for me.
I read a lot. Like a lot-a lot. It’s kind of a sick actually. I also enjoy writing (and sharing these writings with others). Hence, the building of this blog. So my husband said, “Well what about writing a book. Do you think you’d like to set intentions for that?”
We’ve been down this road. Had this argument a million times as I list all the negatives. All the things that can hold me back. All the things that make writing inconvenient. All my fears about actually getting on a roll with writing, but then stunting that creativity because my time is limited for when I can actually sit down and write. Essentially I listed all the self-limiting beliefs and fears I could muster. I will say, at the time I had not yet acknowledged to myself that I was self-limiting. I thought I was declaring legitimate concerns.
Chris calmly offered solutions to all these concerns. All these fears. As he always does. But his listening didn’t simply alleviate these fears. If anything, I began to get more and more frustrated that he was pushing this book thing so hard.
He then asked what my ultimate goal in life was. I said being the best kind of mom and wife I can be.
I know some people might find that sad. But when I grew up I always knew I was going to be a mom, one way or another. I even forwent the idea of law school, despite having a passion for it, because I knew at the end of all that hard work and money, I would eventually give it all up to be a full-time mom. I am NOT saying it is an impossibility to work or pursue your passion and be a parent. But I am saying, for myself, I knew I wanted to be home with my babies and not feel any conflict about my decision. So at the end of the day, for me, the decision wasn’t that hard at all.
Chris said he understood that, BUT did I have any other goals?
Any other goals? What?
I got very emotional then. Let’s blame it on this baby and the related hormones. It took me a while to get my words out because I wanted to maintain this rational conversation but a very real fear had set in for me. A fear that had my throat tightening and tears prickling my eyes.
He waited patiently for me to get the words out, “Is that not enough for you? If at the end of 20 years and my greatest accomplishment is fantastic kids…is that not enough for you? Does it bother you that this, being a full-time mom to them and partner to you would 100% fulfill me?”
As I got the last of my words out the tears finally escaped.
Chris looked at me and then hugged me. Of course he’s fine with that, as long as I’m fine with that.
Fine with that. Those words bothered me.
We sat in silence for a few moments. Chris waited patiently as I worked to calm myself. I worked through what I had just said and what my husband was saying now and had been saying for years. And after a few minutes I really did calm myself. Without him saying another word. It took a moment of true clarity for me to realize that I know my husband and I know where he’s coming from. And it’s never a place of berating or judgement. It is always always a place of positivity, strength, and encouragement (and yes I know how incredibly lucky I am).
“I’m sorry for getting all emotional”, I said.
He replied, “Sam, it’s fine I totally understand that this is a lot. But remember what we’re doing here, these goals we’re putting out there–there’s no consequence if we don’t meet them. It’s just putting the desire and drive out there and figuring out how we can manifest these intentions.”
“No no, I know Chris. I’m just sorry for directing that anger and frustration I felt at you. I know you. I know where you’re coming from and that when you say ‘fine’ you don’t mean it as ‘just okay’. Your truly mean you are content with our lives if the role I choose is to solely be mom and wife. But I also know you just want me to be fulfilled and fill any passion in life. And that you know I am passionate about reading and writing so you see this as natural segueway. I see that you are not pressuring me to be something else. But that you are pushing me to eliminate my fears and any negative beliefs holding me back from achieving anything I want to do.”
Chris nodded his head smiling slightly, “Exactly. I know you’ll be the best mom and wife. You already are. But I also know you can be the best at anything you want. And I want you to be as completely fulfilled at the end of the day as I am and I want to know what we can do to make that happen. Just try and see if this makes you happy. These are things you love to do so I don’t see how trying could hurt you.”
And I agree. I’ve been so afraid of trying. Of that failure. Of not being enough and not just failing myself but my partner. But as Chris often says to me, failure isn’t the act of not succeeding. Failure is the act of not even trying.
I had worked myself back into a defensive ball. So I purposefully took a deep breath and changed my body language. I turned to fully face my husband on the couch and asked how we could work trying to write into our schedule. We ended up describing my office, creating a new Sunday routine that would set Chris up to get both the kids bathed and hanging out with him after an early Sunday dinner, I would go into my office (and by then we’d have those accordion French doors I want!), light a candle, and try to write for an hour. Can you tell how specific this intention setting was? But the important part is I was realizing this dream. I was visualizing it to such detail that I was able to predict and eliminate anything that may hamper my ability to succeed. We established the intentions, then identified the actions that needed to happen to realize these intentions. I was essentially creating the path to manifesting this intention.
And my husband was so open to my suggestions and driven to seeing my success he was nodding along and offering his perspective on how we can make this happen and what he can help with specifically. He worked to align his intention of how his weekend schedule would look like to fit in with my intentions. Establishing true, supportive alignment.
And that is what this is all about. Declaring these intentions, these goals, with your partner so you can discover ways to align your paths and manifest your intentions.
My partner made me fully face my fears and my self-limiting beliefs. And together we discovered how, we as a team, could achieve any dreams we set forth–no matter how lofty.
All in All
I know some of it may sound like mumbo-jumbo to many, but this “talking” we did? It was so damn cathartic and something I never expected from the evening. Here I thought we would have a brief talk where maybe my husband would speak and I would briefly participate and get it over with.
Never did I expect that I would learn more about him, my parenting, my goals and his goals, and about myself. We uncovered and powered through our deepest fears and the self-limiting beliefs, some of which we didn’t even know we had. We discovered areas where one of us was stronger, where one of us had more passion to succeed and would lead that particular effort. We discovered that even though our day-to-day goals seemed the same, they often differed in the how; the way in which we achieve those goals. In declaring these intentions, we discovered how we were the same and how we were different and in the end how we could come into alignment to create our dream as a unit. By aligning our vision, we deeply strengthened our relationship and laid a solid foundation for our future.
And that is how you manifest your dreams. You set intentions. You discuss how to make those intentions happen; what actions must occur. You follow the path you set forth and the actions you establish to manifest these intentions. And everyday you remind yourself (whether with a vision board or with a partner to keep you on track) what those intentions are so you don’t lose sight.
It is not luck. It is intention. It is positive affirmation. It is reminding yourself everyday to work hard and believe in your heart that these intentions will come to fruition. And if you are very very lucky, it is having a partner who is by your side helping to push and to make those intentions a reality.
Examples of Categories of Intention Setting
Start your own intention setting with this guide to help you start with the broad strokes. This is a guide for setting intentions for the New Year but really intentions can be a daily conversation. “Today I will…” This daily list can be tasks you want to complete, positive mindsets you want to manifest, or even just specific things you will be grateful for that day.
Ex. Today I will be grateful that I have warm shoes to cover my feet on this cold day. I will speak with intention and positivity to all those around me. I will be sure to smile at every person I come into contact with. I will meet these deadlines and I will accomplish these tasks.
If you want to go further into your manifestation journey I suggest checking out these two brief reads: