How and Why to Set Mindful Intentions

By January 21, 2019October 16th, 2019No Comments

Have you ever started looking for a particular car, perhaps envisioning yourself as the proud owner of a silver Volvo SUV? Suddenly, you notice those same cars everywhere you go.

That’s your Reticular Activating System (RAS), a part of the brain located in the brain stem within the reticular formation. The RAS acts as a filter between your conscious and subconscious mind. Once activated, the RAS operates like a subconscious internet search engine.

In other words, those silver Volvos were always there, but you weren’t attuned to them. Once your conscious mind communicated to your subconscious mind that these cars were important, you became aware of them everywhere.

Setting strong goals or intentions works the same way. Intention setting marries your subconscious mind with your conscious will. The intention gives direction to the RAS, telling it what to look for and what to carry out. 

Setting your intention is a way of preparing your subconscious mind and RAS for the upcoming journey toward achieving your desired goal.

Are you ready to set a strong intention? Follow the steps below. You can answer the questions by contemplating and/or journaling your responses. 


  • What is an area of your life where you would like to experience growth or change? (The more specific, the better)
  • What is the outcome you desire? How does that look and feel? Imagine yourself a year from now having committed to this intention.
  • How do you intend to carry out this intention on a moment-to-moment, daily, and weekly basis? Imagine yourself doing so.
  • What does this intention mean to you, your life overall, and the people who surround you?
  • The strongest intentions draw on thoughts AND emotions. Form a strong intention statement or an “I am” statement that incorporates your goal, your “how” and your “why”…e.g.,
    I am the proud owner of a silver Volvo SUV and I feel comfortable and grateful.
    I intend to own a silver Volvo SUV because the car aligns with my lifestyle and core values.
    I set my intention to own a silver Volvo SUV by actively looking for a suitable car for sale and allocating my money to support the purchase.

Great work in exploring the meaning and actions that align with your intention! 

For the most effective and transformative intention setting, revisit your intention on a daily or weekly basis. Ideas for continual reinforcement include setting your phone background to reflect your intention, putting sticky notes on the bathroom mirror to remind you to repeat your intention, or scheduling a weekly time slot to meditate on your intention and note your progress. 

“Our intention creates our reality.” -Wayne Dyer

Dorsey Standish is the Chief Mindfulness Officer at Mastermind Meditate in Dallas. Her mindfulness practice has helped her succeed at a Fortune 500 tech company, overcome mental illness, and ultimately connect more deeply with those around her. Dorsey’s teachings combine neuroscience research with her experiences in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program and multiple weekend, 7-day and 10-day silent meditation retreats. Join Dorsey for one of Mastermind’s upcoming applied mindfulness trainings at mastermindmeditate.com/programs