“I want to move through life with energy and a sense of discovery, achievement, joy and engagement.”
That is my intention. My hope is that living according to it would be the antidote to the uneasy feeling I often have at the end of the day when I flop into bed, filled with self-reproach, and wonder where my time went. My intent is to be guided by purpose instead of feeling that I’m spending my time haphazardly, succumbing to whim or distraction.
According to expert Mallika Chopra, creator of the website Intent.com, and psychologist Elliot Berkman, head of the Social & Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Oregon, setting intentions can function as a kind of internal North Star, lighting the path to greater fulfillment and life satisfaction.
These are the changes I’ve made in the few weeks since setting my intention
1. I meditate (almost) daily.
3. I cook more.
I’ve been having all sorts of new experiences and meeting interesting people: volunteering to do kitchen prep at a food pantry, hiking a new trail, taking a class in brewing kombucha, walking the Los Angeles River in a meetup led by long-distance swimming champion Diana Nyad, attending a talk by Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx, at the inaugural BuddhaFest in LA. Some outings have turned out to be less than inspired (the less said about the mass meditation held at a Conscious Life Expo the better), but I always feel like I’m following through on my intention to step outside my comfort zone.
I’m far from living completely in line with my intentions. There are countless ways I stray from the path. But I feel encouraged rather than defeated. I have more clarity about the way in which small things—a far-too-messy desk, an unmade bed—can undermine your vision of how you want your life to unfold, and I think I’ll be able to put some new habits in place soon.
To learn more about living with intention, look for Shelley Levitt's feature article "The Best of Intentions" in the October 2017 issue of Live Happy magazine.
Shelley Levitt is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles and editor at large for Live Happy. Her work has appeared in Real Simple, People, SUCCESS and more.