That’s right, want to win the day? Set some positive intentions for your day. right from the start.

For the last several years I have been a prolific goal setter. During that same time, I have also been a prolific goal forgetter.

The reality is that I suck at goals. More specifically, I suck at keeping them.

I’ve thought about this a lot and set goals to figure out why I’m not keeping my goals about setting more goals. In the end, I always end up right back here, wondering why I’m not getting anything done.

Recently I’ve been working on a new story because that’s all any of this really is, right?

One where I do complete my goals. One where I wake up every morning and kick a bunch of ass. Where I’m super productive, get all the important things done, say no to the rest, and spend more time with my family.

Yeah, that’s the story I want to listen to.

The question, though, is how do I actually become that person?

Maybe it is because I’m in Bali right now, but one of the ideas that has really been resonating with me recently is the idea of setting an intention for the day.

Hell, everyone is talking about them. It’s all the rage.

Inc talks about why setting goals aren’t enough. That intentions are more expansive and help you get out of your own head.

The Huffington Post talks about how setting morning intentions will change your whole life. That certainly sounds good to me! How do you want to feel? How do you want to be seen?

And of course Mind Body Green talks about the 10 intentions to set for your most authentic life. They all feel a bit woo-woo to me, but at the same time, they still resonate for some reason.

Here is the thing. Every morning, I usually wake up and check my email. I look at my Facebook feed and wonder what new crazy thing Donald Trump has done on my new favorite TV show. I move around a bit, get my coffee ready, and I head to my coworking space to work. When I get there, I already feel drained and am in a negative spiral downward.

Every day is the same, and every day I feel like I’ve failed when I somehow don’t hit my lofty goals.

What would change though if I flipped the script? What if I changed things from moment one in the morning and instead of allowing the negative to rain down on me and take control of my day, I brought in the positive? That is the purpose of setting an intention after all.

So that’s what I’m doing. My new morning looks like this instead:

  • Wake up and grab some water
  • Walk outside (this is Bali after all and I basically live outside anyway)
  • Stand in the sun and just think about the day I want to have
  • Think about how I want to be seen, what I want to feel about my day when it is over, and why I want to do all the things I need to get done.
  • After that, I sit down and write a bit about what my goals for the day are, based on this. I identify the ONE most important thing that I can get do that day.

While I cannot speak to the result of this new practice yet, I can already say I at least feel a bit more mentally clear the last few days. I plan to tweak and learn what works best and use this as a seed for a new morning routine, Chase Jarvis style.

I just want to finish by saying

Generally speaking, I don’t fall for the woo-woo nature of this sort of thing. I’m not a proponent of “The Secret” nor for asking the universe to do things for you. This instead makes sense to me not on a metaphysical level, but in that it stacks your brain to think and see the world in a particular way. In a positive way.

You go where you’re looking.

Its like they say about driving:

That big window above the dashboard is quite useful, for drivers who don’t insist on driving by the instruments alone. And how you look through that windshield is important as well. Generally, I was told to be always looking through the top 1/3 of the windshield. Keep your eyes on where you want to go in the distance, not right at the end of your own hood. Look where you want to drive to, and you’ll drive there.

If you’re looking at the positive in life, you tend to find your way there. Pay too much attention to the negative, you’ll end up there instead.

I’m curious, have you had success with intention setting in your mornings? Has it helped you reach your own goals?

I’ll likely follow this up soon as I add other activities to my morning to increase productivity and the positive potential for my day.

I’m a father, traveler, and web developer @Automattic. In the wee hours, I’m also working on new projects like 1 on 1 Questions.