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Many athletes have moments when they decide to commit to see a dream come true. These deep desires to make something happen are known as intentions. Our positive intentions are a combination of dreams and the plan that sets them in motion. They are powerful.
Intentions can be very personal and rise out of strong desires. This is how having a plan and having an intention can be different. Most athletes know on an intellectual level to make plans to practice or make plans to reach goals. But intentions run deeper; they are strong personal desires to make something happen.
You might define intention as Plan + Energy. This great combination is often associated with commitment to see the plan through.
Intentions and Goal Setting
Intentions can help with reaching longer term sport goals. Imagine competing at your state high school track meet as a sophomore. You finish seventh. You loved making it to state but decide you want to do even better next year. So, you make a personal intention to return the following year and win. You set an intention to be back. You combine your intention with commitment and emotion and this propels you to attain your goals.
Sometimes intentions help with short term goals by providing a sense of focus. Yoga teachers often tell their students to set an intention at the beginning of class. When poses get difficult or fatigue sets in the teacher might remind students to recall their intention and let that word or image help build momentum again. The intention helps students to stay motivated and complete the class.
Finally, they can also be very “in the moment” experiences. For example, a sprinter sees the finish line and her only intention is to cross it first. She is so committed to this that she attains complete “zone” focus. The intention gives her the focus she needs to block out everything else. Her intense emotion leads her to see the plan through.
Intentions can be an image, such as seeing yourself win the state high school meet, or intentions can be words that evoke emotions for you such as “peace” or “solid”. Both types of intentions carry emotions that help to build you up. Verbal intentions are like mantras and help with focus.
Steps for Setting Intentions
1. Set your intention (this is a very personal, inside desire)
2. Take action to make the intention happen (make a plan)
3. Act and believe that it will manifest (take action steps)
4. Believe and surrender in the process (trust)
Watch the YouTube video by Bernadette Doyle, The Power of Intention. She gives a great overview of the steps needed when setting intentions. She also gives a great example of how intentions are related to her dreams.