Over the past two years, life has thrown us a curve ball and it’s been hard to set goals, as results are uncertain, and the future is unpredictable. As we walk through each day, it can be difficult to think about what is going to happen in 100 steps time because we don’t know how the ground is going to change. However, in life we won’t feel joy by accident, we won’t achieve successful outcomes by accident, and we won’t show up at our best by accident, we need to design the future we desire by setting intentions. An intention isn’t necessarily a goal or something that we measure, it’s simply a commitment to ourselves. It’s a promise we make to ourselves that aligns with our values.

In this episode, we discuss how we can cultivate a healthy and joyful mindset irrespective of what is happening around us by setting intentions for the life we want to live, and the person we want to become in the here and the now. We encourage you to stop relying on the randomness of the world and the randomness of life to bring you what you desire. Now is the time to become very deliberate in your words and in your actions and begin setting daily intentions to cultivate the future of your dreams.

In this episode

1:11 – Are you living your life to your full potential?

6:23 – What is an intention?

8:52 – Setting intentions every day

14:03 – Segment intending explained

19:21 – Conclusion

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 01:16

Are you living the best of who you think you are right now? Are you living your life to your full potential? You know we all have a psychological need to live in alignment with who we think we are. Essentially it means that if I think that I’m a good person, but I don’t act like one, then I’m going to have an inner conflict going on and I’m going to feel frustrated, stressed out, upset with myself, disconnected from my purpose and alternately that can lead to things not going how you want them to from that point on. This is because you’re out of whack with who you think you are, how you want to interact with other people, and what you want to offer of yourself in your relationships, your job and to the world.

If you’re not living every day and every moment to your full potential and turning up as the best version of yourself, don’t feel bad about it. Many of us are walking around, not being the most authentic version of ourselves, we’re not being true to ourselves. Just recently one of my guests, Jen Haddix summed it up so beautifully. She believes that we’re all unhealed children walking around in adult bodies. I love that because it really resonates with me. Personally, I feel there is still so much work to be done in my life and in our lives we should never stop learning or growing or getting rid of emotional residual baggage. Ultimately we must continue evolving into the best version of our most authentic and brilliant selves. I admit that I still walk around with my own stuff and emotional baggage, but the only difference now is that I can acknowledge when that stuff rears its ugly head. I hit the pause button and ask myself is that thought or action or belief going to serve me? It’s really weird because a tiny voice inside my head will say “No…..stop it”. It’s literally it’s me telling myself off.

If you are engaging in behaviours that don’t serve you on any level whatsoever, then you need to acknowledge this and take some personal accountability, and stop blaming others. Victim mentality is not going to help you. You can’t go through life blaming everyone else, because you are going to find that you are going to get suckered into a massive sink hole that there is no coming back from and you are simply going to waste your life away. Instead, take some personal accountability, even if the person you are having issues with is a total jerk, it still takes two to tango, so ask yourself what do I have to do to fix this? And what thinking patterns or behaviours do I have to adopt right now to start tapping into the best of who I am again?

Often when people say they have lost their enthusiasm, their vibrancy or their focus, what they are really saying is that they don’t feel like themselves anymore. Sometimes it can simply be that they have not been focussing on themselves or what’s most important in their lives. You need to create practices that keep you performing at your very best and living your best life, being the best teacher, wife, mother, daughter, friend, mentor and the way to do that is by creating intention. Intention can be something so simple. Even just asking yourself, who do I want to be each day is so powerful and effective?

Life can throw you off track, especially at the moment with this pandemic. Everything is so unpredictable and other situations and other people will take over unless you discipline yourself to visualise who you want to become and set the intention to make those changes that you need to make to get there. If you are disciplined in this area, you can start to live the life you want for yourself, what you expect for you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 06:28

An intention isn’t necessarily a goal or something that you measure, it’s simply a commitment to yourself, a promise that you make to yourself! Intentions align with your values and they can also relate to the type of person you want to become. For example, if you value productivity, your intention could be, “Today, I intend to stay focused and avoid distractions.”

An intention is different to a goal, because goals are far more formal, they are usually bigger ticket items and goals have structures and timeframes. Goals are your specific destination, they are a future achievement and of course, goals are important because they get us out of our comfort zone and onto bigger and better things. But the act of setting a goal doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to achieve it and we can fail at our goals. Whereas an intention can be in the present, it’s a feeling. So rather than it being something you want to achieve, it’s something you want to become

Without the right mindset, it’s easy to get distracted or talk yourself out of your goals. That’s why you need an intention. It’s a reminder of what you’re capable of in that moment in time and you can’t fail.

Therefore your intentions may change from day to day, or you might stick to one intention that you use all the time because it works for you. For me, my intentions can change by the day, by the week or by the task. Irrespectively, making positive change in our lives takes awareness and intentional action. By setting an intention, you bring presence to your own thoughts and actions and that means being in the moment, managing your state of mind, your body, your emotions in the here and now.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 08:57

How often do you start your day without checking in with yourself first? Maybe you’re one of those people who rolls out of bed and gets straight to work, or maybe the first thing you do each morning is put everyone else’s needs before your own? This can happen so easily to all of us, especially for mums with young children and rightly so. I know when my girls were babies and toddlers, my mornings were all about them of course and much less focused on my own needs. I soon realized that I’d fallen out of the habit of checking in with myself before the day started. Once the day started, I was on a crazy roller coaster, and I felt that I couldn’t catch a breath. That maybe ok for a short time, but it becomes a huge problem the longer we let this happen. The thing is that if you don’t take a moment to check in with yourself on a regular basis, you may start to feel a sense of disconnection from yourself, with others, with who you truly are and your life’s purpose. How many mum’s do you hear say that? I don’t feel like myself anymore. Do you say That? The more you neglect you, the more overwhelmed you can become. That’s just how it is unfortunately.

Every day you need to spend a few moments of the first hour upon waking thinking about things that are important to you for that day. Things like… What kind of person do I want to be today? What attitude do I want to have towards other people at work today? What do I need to focus on to achieve my goals today?

Your intentions can be a tool to guide you through the day as you’re faced with all those tasks and decisions you have to make. It can be a reminder of what you want to focus on because we all know how hard it can be to focus at the best of times. Perhaps it can be the act of reminding yourself to be present and to stay mindful throughout the whole day.

Every morning I sit with my gratitude journal and my diary during breakfast. I not only gives thanks for all the things that I truly appreciate in life, but I also check my diary, see what I have on for the day and set intentions for the things that I need to focus on. For example, if it’s a teaching day, I may set the intention that today I want to feel great joy while I am teaching my students. My intention is simple. It’s the desire to feel joy in my workplace and that’s fair enough. It’s not a big ticket item. That maybe something you desire also for your work day. You’re not asking to win a mega draw in the lotto. A little disclaimer here though you cannot rely on the randomness of the world and the randomness of life to bring you that joy. The universe is not going to immediately deliver joy to you on a silver platter, what you are doing is setting the intention that your actions today in your workplace are going to bring you joy? So go ahead and ask yourself, what seeds of joy can you plant in the soil of the day ahead?

Setting an intention needn’t take any more than five minutes, and it keeps you connected to your goals, desires, and needs. You could do this in your journal, your daily planner, or simply in the notes section of your phone. So take a take a moment in your morning to pause before the day begins and ask yourself what do I want to get out of the day, how do I want to show up, how can I do better, how do I want to feel? Here’s a powerful one – I want to be kind to myself so I can be kind to others. By doing this, it will give you clarity. You will be clear on what you need to do stay more focused, be more congruent, and achieve the outcomes that you so desire.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 14:08

As you move through your day, you may need to define your intentions for each new segment of your day. This is called segment intending and segment intending is a very powerful tool that I absolutely love and I cannot recommend you do this highly enough if you don’t practise it already! It is life changing.

Ok to be clear, so segment intending is the process whereby you define your intentions for the segment of your day that you are moving into next. It is a way of mentally pre planning your outcomes and focusing your energy and your thoughts on what it is you want to achieve in the next phase of your day. So an example here can be, I have just arrived home from work and am about to go in and greet my family. As I transition from the long drive from my busy work day, I may sit in my car for a moment and set an intention for the outcomes I how I want to show up for my husband. I want to leave work behind me and my intention may be that I want to be present and focused while I spend a beautiful evening with my husband. Here I have just stated my intention to enjoy my precious time with my husband.

Sometimes, I find that I’ve been really busy doing unrelated tasks prior to interviewing a guest for my podcast and my mind is still pre occupied with cooking, doing admin, so I take myself into the office, go through my interview plan and pause and say something like. I will listen carefully to my guest, I will have great energy, I will hold a safe space for my guest to speak their story– anything really that I feel that I need to be aware of that allows me to show up at my best for them and my listeners. You can see this is a simple but really powerful practice that has enriched my life and it consistently returns me the most positive outcomes. I have become much more aware of where I am focusing my attention at any one time and I have been more deliberate in choosing my thoughts throughout my day.

You do have a choice in how your day goes. Don’t let negative emotions build up and then you find yourself feeling anxious about something like a business meeting with your boss that afternoon and those negative emotions will distract you from the outcomes you wanted to achieve. Segment intending allows you to follow the path of least resistance I suggest that if you’re prepared to give this a go – You can start by asking yourself, who do I want to be in what I am about to do? Keep it simple. This process will allow you to be more deliberate in where you focus your thoughts. So if you’re going into a business meeting, you may set the intention to listen to the thoughts and ideas of your boss and/or to formulate an action plan that leads to a positive outcome for all concerned. I heard somewhere that Oprah asks this with all of her guests for her show in a pre show meeting. She asks them all – what are you intentions for this meeting? This practice seems rather simplistic when presented in this way, but it is powerful stuff and it’s not woo woo. Anyhting that is going to give you clarity or offer you positive outcomes is worth a try. You don’t even have to tell anyone that you’re doing it.

Either way, you can take a moment in your day to re-align your energy and your intentions. As you go through your day, you can train yourself to segment intend every time you shift tasks or actions. Again, it doesn’t matter what the action is, what matters is your ability to focus and align with it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 19:26

Over the past two years, life has thrown us a curve ball and it’s been hard to set goals, results are uncertain, and the future is uncertain. You do have choices. Don’t respond badly and be reactive in life, be intentional. It is our current intentions, our process that create the future that we need and more. As we walk through life, all we can be certain about right now is putting our next foot forward. It’s hard to think about what is going to happen in 100 steps time because you don’t know how the ground is going to change. But in life, you won’t feel joy by accident, you won’t have successful outcomes by accident, you won’t show up at your best by accident, you need to set the intention in your life. You need to activate a healthy and joyful mindset no matter what. Think about the things that bring you the greatest joy and cultivate habits that help set the foundation for those things . Set the intention of who you want to be in the here and the now. Allow yourself little wins!

It’s time now to be very deliberate in your words and in your actions. I encourage you to stop what you’re doing, stand still or sit down, and define your intentions for your day or the next segment of the day you’re about to move into. That requires you to find that stillness and space where you can actually listen. Listen and connect to your internal guide. I promise you, you will begin to create more powerful moments, in more moments of your day. Through deliberately intending you can purposefully design your each and everyday.