January 4, 2018

How to Achieve Productive and Successful Intention-Setting Sessions

Happy New Year! New year, new you?

How many of you subscribe to this way of thinking? New diet? New job? New boo? Do you set new personal, professional and spiritual goals during the new year?

So cliché, no?

I personally don’t set lofty goals just for the new year. Why? Because of a pattern of disappointment and feeling like a failure. Instead, I do check-ins periodically throughout the year. I call them “intention-setting sessions” and do them with my two soul sisters, Kate and Keely.

Kate, Kelly and Toan

Several people have asked me what happens during these special intention-setting sessions, so I’ve decided to share with you. Remember, this is all about what works for you, so feel free to soak in what works and expunge what doesn’t resonate with you.

The Pow Wow — Setting Intentions

Intentions are like planted seeds. While strategizing and taking action are the sunlight and water, your intentions need to bloom and manifest. A few years ago, Kate, Keely and I decided to meet up every six months to have an intention-setting sesh. Why six months? We figured we could bookend the year with a session and check in mid-year in June to see how we are doing, what we like and don’t like about our lives and how to course correct. Swerve with us….

Why meet with folks?

There are no rules. This is designed to be in-the-flow and fun. If you like to be zen and do it alone, more power to ya. No need for soul sisters and brothers to bounce ideas off of. Just do a sole intention sesh with yourself. I find it to be helpful to talk it out, share insights and brainstorm ideas on how to take action on our intentions, strategies and solutions. It also helps to “talk about it” as you are more likely to stick to your intentions if you have others holding you accountable.

Pre-Planning, Homework Before the Intention-Setting Session

A few weeks before we meet, we do a little pre-sesh homework. We each create a document that works for us. I like to write, so I have a Word doc that outlines six months of adventures, travels, highs, lows, etc. Keely likes visuals, so she includes pie-charts, graphs and photos. Kate likes to draw, so she does everything by hand, with colored pencils and pens.

If you need more structure, you could use a year planning booklet such as YearCompass. (Thanks Kate for organizing us and for the tip). This free downloadable gem of booklet helps you organize life events, goals, milestones, etc. from last year and the year ahead. It’s chock full of awesomeness and reminders to “Arrive, Put on some relaxing music, Pour yourself a hot beverage, Let go of all your expectations, Start when ready.”


How It Goes Down

We generally start out the morning with a brisk walk, 15-30 minutes.

Kate hosts the sessions in her San Francisco apartment.

We meditate for 10 minutes.

Next, we spend 40 minutes reflecting on the past six months.

Break: Kate makes us an amazing Japanese-style breakfast — yum!


Then, we spend 40 minutes reflecting on what are intentions are for the next six months. They range from personal, professional and spiritual things we want to manifest.

For example, one year, I wanted to find more truth to my journey personally and professionally. I wrote in my intention journal that I wanted to find an easier, more user-friendly platform to record conversations I have been having with friends.

I remember thinking, “There are so many life lessons and spiritual learnings from these conversations. How do I record these on the fly and get them out to a wider audience?”

Voila! My dear friend Celeste Perry, a radio DJ in San Francisco, connected me to the amazing folks at Strawberry Hill Productions. We created the TruthDare podcast, a series of illuminating conversations with badasses who took the leap of faith to follow their true calling. The goal of the podcast is to inspire listeners to dare to find their truth.

Fast-forward a year — woo hoo! I have had so many soul-stirring conversations with truth-tellers like Ari Afsar, who stars as Eliza Hamilton in “Hamilton,” Carlos Gaytan, the first Mexican chef to earn a Michelin star and Juliet and Kelly Starrett, who are legends in the CrossFit world.

As I journaled about my past year, I was overwhelmed by all the miracles and blessings. My cup runneth over with gratitude. When you speak your truth, the universe helps you find flow to support your journey.


Friends and strangers connected me to the amazing lineup of interviewees. I found support through sponsors like Moeloco (most inspiring flip-flops that are good for your soul and sole), Weal Life (an app that makes it easier to coordinate care for your loved one) and MobilityWOD (“the ultimate guide to eliminating pain, preventing injury and maximizing athletic performance”). Thank you Jesus!

After reflecting, we close out the session with an hour of sharing what worked, what didn’t, how course correct to make changes that support our journey and how we support one another. I’ve learned we are not alone in our journey. I’ve also realized the key to joy is in finding that truth that excites you and taking actions to manifest and follow it — knobby knees, heart palpitations, sweaty palms and all! When you use your talents in service of others, somehow, someway, God, the universe, a higher intelligence guides you.


This last part may or may not be for you, but since Kate, Keely and I believe in God and the divine, we pull a few angel cards, which correspond with words that may signify the year to come. My words this year were “Love,” “Unity” and “Forgiveness.” Each word corresponds with ancient wisdom in an accompanying booklet on how this angel will guide us in the coming year.


That’s it! Remember, there are no hard and fast rules to the intention-setting session. It’s your intention, so go with your gut. Create a session that works for you. Be in the flow — write, draw, play — as long as you are setting intentions that align with your values and wildest dreams. Good luck and happy new year!

Onward,
Toan

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