The Science of Powerful Intentions

Happy 2014! As I write this article in anticipation of a joyful and prosperous new year, I am reminded of why this upcoming year will indeed be so wonderful.

Intentions. Affirmations. Resolutions.

It’s that time of year to take stock of what was, and to make plans (intentions) for what could be. You know that intentions or affirmations are effective; there are countless success stories of people using the power of intention to manifest everything from health to riches. Intentions have changed my life, and I’m so thankful I have this tool at my side to use any time I need it. Are you using intentions to get what you want or need? Do they work for you?

It's time to set your resolutions for the year.

It’s the time of year to set your New Year’s Resolutions.

The truth is, not all intentions are created equal. To find out why not, play along and say this out loud: “I have one million dollars in my back pocket right now.”

How do you feel? Take a moment to scan your body for feelings and emotions. Do you feel good? Awesome? A little niggling doubt? Or downright denial?

If you’re like me, you might have felt a moment of hopefulness that there actually was a million dollars back there, but then that slowly shifted to doubt. If left unchecked, that feeling could then descend into despair of never having a million dollars in your pocket.

Why did that happen?

The mind is incredibly powerful. The critical conscious, or left brain, is responsible for taking in all sensory information and comparing it to past data. If what it sees, hears or smells does not match previous history, or what it knows to be true at that moment, the left brain rejects it.

There are ways to override the critical left brain, like hypnosis or MindScape (advanced mind training), in order to get an affirmation to stick, but there is an easier way.

The past only points to the present.

We are conditioned to think that what happened in the past naturally dictates what will happen in the future, but it’s not true. From this point forward, everything is up for grabs. It is in this playground that we will work our magic.

The left brain is very uncomfortable when it thinks about the future, because it cannot predict it. Since it cannot predict the future, it will stress and fret about it. For some, this causes worry, while others experience great anxiety and fear when contemplating a future event.

The good news is, your critical, rejecting left brain can fret all it wants about the future, but the reality is, it has no control over it, and therefor cannot reject any intentions you make about the future.

Your subconscious does what it’s told.

Your subconscious, or right brain, actively seeks out what you need or want. It works in the world of your future. In the absence of being told what you want, it will use past data to give you what you’ve already had. For example, if you don’t want a new car, traffic just zooms by and you hardly noticing any particular make or model. But when you do decide to buy a new car, you will repeatedly see the one you like the best driving around town.

The subconscious mind MUST think about something, so tell it what you want. Affirm in advance that you want a good parking spot in front of your favourite restaurant. It’s just as easy for your subconscious to present you with the parking spot you want verses the crappy one you had last time.

Start small for immediate results.

I recently coached a client to try this for himself. He was taking a very difficult three hour exam as part of his commercial pilot license requirements. During his BodyTalk Performance Session beforehand, we set the intention that “his mind is clear and calm” so he could easily answer the difficult and exacting questions, and that he would “enjoy the process and have fun.”

Before the exam, my client chatted with the two other pilots taking the same test. One pilot had already failed the exam once (so was calling on past performance to colour future expectations), while the other pilot was almost sick with apprehension and could only talk about how unprepared he was, basically asking his subconscious to ensure he failed. My client breezed through the exam, finishing before the other pilots, and passed with an outstanding mark. Afterwards he told me that he was perfectly calm, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire process.

He set the intentions as if they were in the present moment (I ‘am’ or I ‘have’, not I ‘want’) but they were applied to a future event, which is the domain of the subconscious mind. There was no critical left brain rejection because the left brain doesn’t know the future and has no control.

No doubt all three pilots put in hours of studying and were prepared, but of them all, which pilot would you rather be?

Get Bigger and Smaller

If you are trying to change a lifelong habit, or do a major New Year’s Resolution, then just make one resolution, with daily intentions to support it. But what to intend? A good place to start is that “2014 is my best year ever.” That’s it. No add-ons about losing weight or making more money. If it’s your best year ever, that other stuff and more will automatically be included.

Your daily intentions or affirmations now support this major goal. So, before you go to your exercise class, you make the intention that “my body loves exercising.” Before you go to work, intend that “I have harmonious relationships with my boss and co-workers.” Before leaving for the sales call, “I have a useful product or service that is always in demand.” And before you see your partner, “I love easily, and I easily accept love in my life.”

Then sit back, and watch your body perform like never before, how easy it is to get everyone at work to collaborate, your sales naturally increase, and your partner just can’t wait to spend more time with you.

I know 2014 is my best year ever. How about you?



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Posted in Gratitude, Life Hack
6 comments on “The Science of Powerful Intentions
  1. Laurie says:

    Exactly what I needed to set my New Years intentions. Thanks, Alisen, for always having the perfect article exactly when I need it.

  2. Alex G says:

    I like this idea. I dislike goals and resolutions because I think that they are impractical and don’t really “optimize”, which is what they are advertised for. I like intentions as subconscious programming too! Sometimes I wonder how people learn this stuff, whether they even can learn from explanations or do they usually just think they’ve learned but really they’ve only listened to some words but missed the message. As you related in your other posts, you hit some major emotional moments that led to some of your insights. So how sticky an explanation-style of teaching without the life changing experiences when things like intentions essentially rely on beliefs to work?

    • alisendopf says:

      Excellent question Alex. Do people actually learn without a little trauma to light a fire? Like everything else, this takes effort. It’s not good enough to just say it or read it, you must do it on a regular basis. You once said that running a marathon is easy, you just have to do the training. Is everyone willing to do the training?

      These articles are mainly about mind training. The mind, with it’s fears, beliefs and negativity, is the biggest hurdle I work with. It doesn’t matter if I’m working with an elite athlete, a physician, or someone on stress leave who is debilitated by trauma, people are people. And people mainly battle their own minds.

      If your mind naturally gravitates to opportunities, optimism, and positive beliefs about yourself, then you are doing this automatically. Your subconscious is already trained to bring you good things. These are the Midas Touch people.

      If, however, you have negative self-talk, are certain your boss dislikes you, and thinks you’ll never get a raise, then your subconscious is trained to drag you down. It’s time to understand how your subconscious works, so you can train it in a way that serves you.

      Do you have to believe it will work for it to? It sure helps, but it’s not a requirement. Consistency is a better metric, but then again, you wouldn’t be consistent about applying it if you didn’t already believe it works!

      I enjoy your point of view Alex. Keep the questions coming.

      • Alex G says:

        As you work with many people, how are you able to bypass these negative beliefs? Again, I find that people do not generally believe, which is why it is possible for many people to go see a highly inspirational talk or read an inspirational book yet not be moved enough to act. Like “Oh yeah, it works for those other people and it would be so amazing if it worked for me too (but it doesn’t)”. It’s a huge topic for adults, but I think even more so for children who are forming their paradigms because I think it’s much easier to nip them in the bud before they crystallize. Example: It would be very difficult for me to make an adult believe in Santa but up to a certain age children could believe something like that. The adult is too sure, but the child is still open. What techniques do you use to overcome such a “closed mind”. I find it very very difficult to explain things to a closed mind.

      • alisendopf says:

        There are two things here: closed minds, and negative beliefs.
        For closed minds, the first thing I have to do is remind myself that everyone is on their own journey or path. I never try to convince, cajole, or otherwise coerce someone into my way of thinking. I lay the information out before people in such a way that they might be interested. If it strikes a cord, they will continue on their own. I was introduced to this work years prior, but I wasn’t ready for it, so it slipped past my consciousness without paying it any attention.

        Seeing a motivational speaker changes nothing. It’s only when you dive deep and do the work that change happens. Motivation is to keep you going.

        For negative or self-limiting beliefs, this is the bulk of my work. It’s all about my ability to get past the client’s critical left brain, to work with their subconscious, and to allow these negative/self-limiting belief systems to be brought to conscious awareness so we can clear them. If the client knew about them, they wouldn’t be a problem.

        Most belief systems are formed before the age of 4, but people only relate to the latest instance of that. So a fear of failure/success, the client will react to a recent example of this, but it can really be traced back to a belief system formed at a much younger age.

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