The Power of Intention

By Mary Beth Janssen / January 15, 2014

Setting intentions can help you transform ideas directly into action.

If you want to change some aspect of your life, direct your mind toward a goal or manifest your dreams, start by setting an intention—making the deliberate decision to create something or intend that something will happen. Intentions aren’t fleeting thoughts or wishes, they allow you to visualize and clarify what most matters to you.

Intentions help you to “jack-up” your commitment level, whatever the undertaking: meditating daily, being kind, spending more quality time with loved ones or alone, getting healthy and physically fit, working toward a new career, playing more, learning something new. An intention can recast a nascent thought into a driving desire and laser your focus to act with fierce clarity.

You can set an intention anytime, anywhere. It can be as simple as saying “I feel grounded,” or “I am joyous,” or “I am courageous.” Or it can be as detailed as Bessie’s—a woman who set an intention at age 70 to become a world-renowned photographer. Although many thought she was too old, Bessie vividly kept her intent alive in her mind’s eye. She entered a national photo contest where she won the $10,000 first prize. Her prize-winning photo toured the world with a Kodak exhibit. As Bessie said, “We’re never too old to make our dreams come true.” When you can visualize and verbalize a positive outcome, you cannot help but move toward it.

The key is to follow your intention with an action that supports it. If you do this consistently, you will experience quick results and feel good and harmonious in the process. But if you set an intention and the energy surrounding your action is flowing in a different direction, then a negative outcome is more likely to result—along with the inherent stress, and emotions such as anxiety, sadness or anger.

Let’s look at an example: If your intention is to improve your relationship with your significant other—and your action is to start a productive conversation, check in with a phone call or email during the day—then improving your relationship is highly probable. However if the energy of your actions is in opposition to your intent—coming home late without a phone call or explanation, verbal abuse, ignoring their presence, etc., then the opposing energies will cause friction and stress. We’re striving, through the setting of an intention, to direct our energy toward that desired outcome through our actions. Harmony, balance and manifestation of our desires will result.

Use the mantra, “Energy follows intention” for whatever changes you seek in your life. Meditate on your intention, or write it down, and then consider follow-up actions. Does the energy of your actions flow in the same direction as your intention? Many give lip service to changing their lives, but their actions don’t match their intentions; take New Year’s resolutions, for example! We get frustrated with the process of change or feel we’ve failed again. The truth is that our actions are not aligned with our intentions—there’s no follow through. Either the action or the intention needs to change.

The key in aligning your worldly actions with your inner values lies, specifically, with your intention statement.  The words you use to verbalize your intention amplify the power of thought, creating an energetic imprint. Our nervous system responds to an intention statement clearly focused on the intent. For example: to say, “I intend to do whatever it takes to feel relaxed and happy today,” is very clear and focused on how your actions can support your well-being. This is preferable to “I hope to_____,” where you almost give yourself permission to fall short of your goal, or “I want to______,” where you’re too attached to a method of achieving it. Both are a bit wishy-washy! Play around with these three statements for what you want to create in your life, and you’ll experience the difference yourself.


Visit, and join a like-minded community where members share dreams and aspirations and receive support from others. Founder & CEO Mallika Chopra, left, says, “My intent is to connect with others by sharing and listening to each other’s stories.”

Mallika learned about the power of intention at a young age from her father, Deepak Chopra. After family meditations (she learned when she was 9), her father would guide Mallika and her brother, Gotham, to repeat the following phrase:

I am responsible for what I see.

I choose the feelings I experience

And set the goals I will achieve

Everything that seems to happen to me,

I ask for and receive as I have asked.

He then taught them to ask for love, hope, purpose, passion, inspiration and so many other positive qualities in their lives every day. Starting every day with an intent proved to be an anchoring device that led to connection, happiness and personal fulfillment.

Mary Beth Janssen

Mary Beth Janssen

Author, Mind-Body Health Educator at Chopra Center for Wellbeing
Mary Beth Janssen is a certified mind-body health educator for the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and author of five books. Send questions to
Mary Beth Janssen

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