Written by ViR
Every morning on Twitter I ask what people’s intentions are for the day. I do this because I honestly believe when we put intentions out into the Universe it can set a tone for the day. Sometimes (Ok my guy will likely chime in here and say every morning I am a monster upon wakeup) I wake up cranky, moody, and exhausted, and I am given this opportunity to turn it around and put an intention for my day. An intention is what one intends to do or bring about. I have many long term, goal related intentions. I often dream big, and only in the past few months have I decided to really focus on daily intentions. I believe the power of choice is one of our greatest strengths. It is empowering to know that today – I can choose the type of day I will have, based on my outlook, my perspective. I can choose to turn my mood around.
Often in recovery, as in life, long term goals are great, but due to daily triggers, struggles, it can be helpful to instill daily intentions. I often tell my mentees to simply say “Today I Choose Recovery” every morning before leaving the house to start their day. I also tell them to choose to be as mindful and flexible as possible, and understand that we can change intentions throughout the day based on our needs we are faced with. Sometimes the “One Day at a Time” mantra can be too much in early recovery. Sometimes it can be helpful to be flexible and open to changing intentions moment to moment. It is like setting mini goals, and baby steps, to help the walk along the journey. Often the journey can seem so long and hard, but if we focus on the here and now, and focus on what we need to do in this very moment, that can help make the process seem less huge and overwhelming.
Many studies have been done on setting intentions. Forming intentions alone, is a first step to change behaviors. However, by itself, an intention is not enough, careful planning is often recommended. Action determines if the intentions are followed through, especially if this is a task driven intention, versus a mindful internal intention. Planning is often the mediator between intention and a new behavior. For example, if your intention is to incorporate your meal plan and follow through with it in your day, this will take planning, and not only an intention. Planning could involve, meal planning and making the night before, making a schedule for a new day the night before, setting times to eat, and discussing with your treatment team how to best incorporate this intention. Other planning could involve expressing your intention to your support system, your family, and ask for help along with the desire to be accountable.
I believe intentions can be incorporated into any Recovery Relapse Prevention plan. I think discussing this with your treatment team, whether that is parents, therapists, psychiatrists, or nutritionists can help turn the intentions into actions. Planning, as shown in studies, has the possibility to translate intentions into healthy new behaviors. Sometimes in recovery (as in life), if one lacks self-efficacy, or a lack of perceived self-efficacy, people may not tackle challenging tasks if they harbor self doubts. This is why with the help of a mentor and treatment team, a plan can be instilled and helped in the recovery process. You are not alone, and do not have to struggle alone. In recovery, I have found a plan, a structure, and a support system to reach out to in order to be accountable and help follow through with intentions has been extremely valuable to me. I continue to prepare daily intentions and hear from others their daily intentions.
Some examples of Intentions:
I intend to make recovery a priority, I will reach out to people when I need support
I intend to do those things I can do, and that is all. That is enough.
I intend to do one thing at a time today. When overwhelmed I will take a step back, breathe, take a break and refocus on the task at hand
My intention is to use my voice to get what I need and deserve for the coming year
My intention is to stay present in all I do
My intention is to use my voice to acknowledge exactly where I am & not judge myself for needing extra support
My intention is to adhere to my meal plan
My intention is to incorporate healthy nutrition and exercise (if medically stable) into my recovery
My intention is to go to a support group meeting today
I intend to be an Authentic Expression, Be Who I am, Use My Voice.
My intention is to not let others opinions of myself affect my journey
My intention is to remember A thousand-Mile Journey Starts with a Single Step, Inspired Action.
I intend to focus more about being than doing, practice patience, just breathe.
My intention is to see big picture, avoid getting too caught up in the content of the story, practice insight meditation, wisdom from insight.
I intend to take risks, be bold, go on adventures, master courage to do things differently.
My intention is to look at the humor in each situation, avoid taking things too seriously, have fun.
Recovery is hard, and change is hard. Setting intentions can be a helpful tool to incorporate, as they set a tone and goal for the day, the hour, the minute, etc. Writing down your intentions, doing a vision board of long term recovery intentions, and setting up a plan of action can help! I personally love making my intention the first thing on my daily To-Do List 🙂
How have you incorporated intentions into your recovery or day, week, month?