You can fall short of achieving a goal, whether by your own actions or due to external forces. By contrast, you can stray from an intention, but you can never fail. Intentions are internal. If you find yourself straying, the solution is simple: reorient yourself, and return to the path you set out on.
Try to begin your day by setting an intention. These can be big or small, short-term or long-term, but it has to be something you can give yourself. You have no control over other people’s actions but you can control your own. “I will be treated with kindness by everyone around me” is not a good intention. “I will be kinder to myself” is.
Once an intention is set, remember to check in with yourself periodically throughout the day. Be mindful of your situation, and ask yourself whether your thoughts and actions are aligned with your intentions. Make intention-setting a daily practice, and you will have an easier time dealing with whatever life throws at you.
Begin by finding a quiet place to sit and close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths. Don’t let your mind wander. Instead, start paying attention to your sensations. Focus on your breathing, its rhythm, and how it feels. Inevitably, your thoughts will turn to something else. Acknowledge your thoughts before returning your attention to your breath. Keep doing this for as long as you feel comfortable before opening your eyes and getting back to your day.
Mindfulness techniques are not just great treatments for anxiety and depression. These techniques often offer ways to better understand your own mind, even in times when one’s priorities shift from healing towards exploring one’s own consciousness.