One of the most challenging aspects of life right now is not knowing. Not knowing when things will return to normal economically, socially, or in terms of our safety.

“When so much is out of our control we are more likely to have trouble regulating our emotions, so we can feel anxious,” according to Inna Khazan, Ph.D., and lecturer on psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. 

“Studies have found that feeling out of control can lead to overwhelm, which can create anxiety and helplessness, so maintaining a sense of control is important to our psychological well-being.” 

The one thing you can always control is yourself. 

By setting intentions for different parts of your own life, you can provide a sense of control and well-being to replace the anxiety and uncertainty that is so prevalent right now. 

It might sound a little woo woo, but setting intentions just means being honest with yourself about what you want and outlining how to get there.

Sounds really simple right? But the fact is most people never really learn to do this. Apparently it’s more important for us to learn calculus in high school than how to manage our own brains. 

This is something that is new to us but the effects have been so helpful, we wanted to share it with you. Here’s what worked for us:

Determine your goals

We started by writing down 3 short term goals (things that will take less than 3 months) and 3 long term goals (things that will take longer than 1 year) every morning for one week. 

Be as specific as you can. If you don’t know what your goals, guess what; that’s the point! Try to come up with different ones every day. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with, trust us. 

Next up, intention time

For the next week, write down 1-3  measurable steps every morning that you can take towards one of your goals. Be specific and realistic; if you want to learn how to play the trombone (such an underrated instrument), don’t write “practice for 3 hours.”

Instead, go with something like “watch 2 videos on learning the trombone and then practice for 20 minutes.” By making your intention achievable and specific, you’ll actually do it and feel good about it. 

Try creative visualization

This is something that most of us already do. We’re not talking about sitting in a dark room, burning incense and manifesting your destiny (although if that’s your thing, by all means, please continue). 

Simply picturing yourself playing that trombone can have measurable effects on your mindset and attitude towards the action itself. There is some interesting science behind creative visualization and for us, it has been somewhat of a game-changer.