How to set intentions that (actually) become real.

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Setting an intention is like writing a steamy love letter. 

It’s powerful. It’s beautiful. You could keep that letter in a box — for your eyes only — and never send it to anyone.

Nothin’ wrong with that, sister.

But, if you want that love letter to catch the universe’s attention, make her blush, and inspire her to send a quick response … you’ve got to seal it in an envelope and drop it in the mail.

In other words: you’ve got to pair that intention with action.

And that’s when things start to get interesting. 😉

Here are 5 ways to set an active intention — an intention that actually swings into motion.


1. Know your End Game.

On Scandal — a fabulously salacious TV show — our heroine, Olivia Pope, is a professional “fixer” in Washington DC. She saves reputations, makes problems melt away, and reinvents the careers of politicians who’ve gotten into hot water.

Her first question, for every new client? “What’s your end game?”

In other words — “What do you want?”

If you want to get what you want, you’ve got to know what you want — and be able to express it, in words.

And the universe looooves when you express what you want in the present tense — as if it’s already a done deal.

Instead of setting an intention like this:

“I want to get into graduate school and get a full scholarship, by September.”

Flip it into the present tense, like this:

“It’s September, and I am enrolled in graduate school with a full scholarship, working my cute butt off to become a published author and change the world!”

Download this handy End Game worksheet to get clear on what you really want — and practice your present-tense lingo.


2. Create an Action Journal.

JournalJournals are recipe books for awesomeness.

You can experiment with setting intentions first thing in morning — although personally, I love setting intentions just before I nod off to bed.

For each journal entry, you can scribble anything you want (Dreams! Fears! Shopping lists! R-rated stories!) but make sure to end each entry with a statement of gratitude, a clear intention, and a couple of action steps.

“The BEST part of my day was _______________.”


“The intention that I’m sending out into the universe right now is _______________.”


“Today, I took some action (yeah!) towards making that intention real, by _______________.”


“And tomorrow, I’m going to take another step towards making that intention swing into reality, by _______________.”


3. Cut. Paste. Staple. Scribble.

Vision boards, baby. Vision boards!

I cannot say enough good things about the power of creating a vision board, to visually represent the life that you want. (It’s like painting a portrait of your future self — so inspiring!)

Try creating a vision board that contains “action” words swirled into the collage (“Go!” “Move!” “Dance!” “Love!”) to remind yourself that action is everything.

(If you’ve never made — or seen — a vision board, and you’re wondering what the frack I’m talking about … watch my video-tutorial, here.)

Photo by Lulumon Athletica


4. Light up your dreams.

Paper lanterns are glow-y wish keepers. Intend … light … set it free!

There’s something incredibly powerful about writing your intentions down on paper, and then releasing them into the heavens — literally.

(Check out this gorgeous paper lantern ceremony I led, at a recent retreat.)

Hold a paper lantern ritual with a couple of girlfriends, and then after you’ve released your soul’s wishes into the sky, bring the conversation back down to planet earth. Pen + paper — it’s list-making time! Have everyone share one concrete action step that they promise to take, to make their dreams real.


5. Pre-member the future, before it happens.

When it comes to getting what you crave, this jussst might be the best game ever!

Call up your most positive, encouraging friend, and start swapping “memories” of amazing things you’ve experienced — before they happen.

It’s a little mind-trick that call “pre-membering.”*

Like, "Remember the time that we rented a villa in Tuscany and you met your hot husband while we were out shopping?"

Or "Remember how excited you were when your web show hit 2 million viewers, and Ellen DeGeneres left you a personal voicemail?"

Or “Remember how you created a jaw-dropping presentation for your boss, asked for a raise and three extra weeks of vacation, and totally got it?”

You might feel kinda ridiculous, but this game is guaranteed to trigger a big smile, elevate your energy, and (probably) unveil some intentions you didn’t even know you had!


To sum it all up?

If you want your dreams, wishes and intentions to become real, talk (and write) about your best life as if it’s already happening.

And then?

Take some real-world action to make damn sure it does.

*Premembering is a term I learned from my amazing mentor, Martha Beck!

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xoxo, Susan


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