Is it just me or is life getting out of hand? Most days, I can’t even find five minutes to focus on anything that really matters. My whole existence feels like some giant pinball machine, constantly buzzing and flashing and beeping, with me as the ball bouncing around all over the place just trying to score a few points and avoid tilting into Game Over.

Phone, friends, work, city—every 30 seconds a new distraction pulls me in a different direction, and when I add it all up at the end of the day, all the stuff I really want to do is just as undone as it was the day before.

My yoga instructor said I should set an intention. I didn’t know what she was talking about. My problem isn’t a lack of intentions. It’s a lack of making them happen.

But a (capital “I”) Intention is different, she said. It’s about getting serious about your vision for yourself and turning it into a series of deliberate acts that command your attention and hold your focus long enough to add up to something real. Intentions can be big or small. They can be a life goal (write that novel) or not (make someone smile today). All that matters is that they matter to us.

Here’s what my teacher suggested:

  •  Figure out you want to accomplish. Write it down. Meditate on it.
  •  Share your intention with someone who supports you and will hold you to it.
  •  Don’t let doubts—your own or anyone else’s—get in the way.
  •  Do one thing to further your intention.
  •  Commend yourself for taking that step.
  •  Apply the same focus to the next step you need to take your intention. Then take it.

Intentions are a way to cut through all the static in the world and keep it from keeping us down. It’s about being mindful in a way that makes sure we don’t lose sight of what we’re going for. I think that makes them a good idea. And I intend to try it.

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