Join Host Megan Spicer on her first ever solo episode as she talks about the science and art of setting intentions. Megan dives into some scientific studies on how our body and mind processes and forecasts intentions. She talks about the emotional side of setting intentions and how they impact our daily lives.
Megan brings us this informative episode just in time for the New Year where setting goals and intentions intertwine.“The act of setting an intention is really just stating what you intend to accomplish within a given time period… want to be specific and actionable in our intentions, when we set them.”
What we cover in this episode:
- 03:46 – The science behind setting intentions
- 10:03 – 5 steps to setting intentions in a productive way
The science behind setting intentions
The intention of these science based studies is to show setting intentions for business is linked with the success of business goals and achieving them. By reading these studies, we found three things to be true.
One, by activating certain parts of your brain and thinking about something, such as business goals, you can achieve what it is you set your mind to. Keeping your business intentions and goals at the forefront of your mind can give you the drive you need to achieve them.
Two, the act of thinking on an idea and your subconscious intention to do it, goes a long way. It is not just the action of doing, but the intent to do it that can be powerful. Ultimately, likely leading up to the act being done.
Lastly, number three: yes, setting intentions for business is important but sharing these intentions with your team is even more important; collaboration can drive your success and business goals.
2009 Study: Movement Intention After Parietal Cortex Stimulation in Humans
During the 2009 study, Movement Intention After Parietal Cortex Stimulation in Humans, scientists observed several patients undergoing open-brain surgery. During surgery, they used an electrode to simulate parts of the parietal (pa-RY-atul) lobe and the premotor cortex to see how patients would react.
When inferior parietal lobes were stimulated with low currents, patients felt like performing certain basic day-to-day actions, like lifting an arm. But, when the electrode current was increased, in the same location, patients were convinced they did perform those actions, when in fact, there was no physical movement. Proving that, simulating that part of the brain can have an illusion effect.
In contrast, when the premotor cortex was stimulated, patients performed certain basic functions but had no knowledge of their physical actions. The subconscious brain activity, much like the electrodes, allows you to perform regular undertakings, like picking up what you dropped, without being fully aware of it.
,2011 Study: Researchers can predict future actions from human brain activity
This 2011 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience about how researchers can predict future actions from human brain activity. “Over the course of the one-year study, human subjects had their brain activity scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed one of three hand movements: grasping the top of an object, grasping the bottom of the object, or simply reaching out and touching the object. The team found that by using the signals from many brain regions, they could predict, better than chance, which of the actions the volunteer was merely intending to do, seconds later.”
2015 Study: Emergence of Shared Intentionality Is Coupled to the Advance of Cumulative Culture
The 2015 study, Emergence of Shared Intentionality is Coupled to the Advance of Cumulative Culture exposes “Recent research in developmental psychology, suggests that humans’ especial proclivity to undertake jointly intentional behavior could be responsible for the uniqueness of human cognition. That is, humans do not only collaborate because we are smart, but are smart because we collaborate.”
5 steps to setting intentions in a productive way
These studies have shown that there is a science-based reason for intention setting. Of course, easier said than done, if you don’t know where to start. Setting intentions for business or for your life doesn’t need to be hard or complex. Below are 5 tips to help you out.
State Your Intention
Stating your intention or intentions is number one priority. Speaking it out loud for yourself and the universe to hear; writing them down is the best way to go. Writing your intention out to read and see daily helps to make it something that is tangible. If you don’t write it down you risk it being out-of-sight/out-of-mind. If it is a business or company intention, make sure to share it. Everyone that will be a part of making this intention a reality should know about it. Collaborate to achieve. For example: My intention this year is to pay off my debt.
Don’t be vague. Be clear, especially if you are setting intentions for business. If you were to set business goals you would stray from the details, do the same for the intentions you set. Be specific in what you want to achieve. You can do this by giving your intentions a number or an emotion.
Using the same intention of paying off debt from above, being clear would like this: I plan on paying off $2,000 of credit card debt by Dec 1, 2023. Then this would lead to outlining a plan on how to do this. If it is an emotion statement, it might look like this: I want to be more confident when it comes to public speaking.
Make it Positive
Keep it positive, stray from the negative words. “In your intention, make sure that you’re staying on the positive side of the things that you do want your brain to think about and intend to do so that you guide your brain in that direction as you move toward the action that you want to employ.” Instead of ‘I will not be shy,’ make it ‘I will be more confident.’ Switching the wording so its always positive will create a positive impact in your mind as you read or say your intention daily.
Keep it Simple
If your intention is clear, it is easy to make it simple and break it down to where it is manageable and achievable, measurable. If your business goal is to pay off $2,000 in credit card debt by Dec 1, 2023, you have to know how to get there. Your intention is to feel better about your finances and that comes from paying off the debt.
Where does this debt come from? How will you pay it off? For example: it came from a one-time emergency plumbing service needed. You can comfortably pay $200 a month for 10 months on your no-interest credit card balance of $2,000. You wouldn’t want to make it complicated by saying you might be able to pay $1,000 a month for 2 months, and then have to readjust it later that month. Keep it simple.
Tackle Limiting Beliefs
Sometimes the belief system you have or have created over time can hurt you in achieving the intentions you set. If you have always told yourself that you are bad at public speaking, and you continue to tell yourself you are bad at public speaking; more than likely you are bad at public speaking and will continue to be bad. Shifting from limiting yourself can be hard. After all, you are your own worst critic.
“It (takes) years and years of practice and it’s intentional. You have to focus your energy on the right parts, focus it on the positive and try your best to let go of the negative. It’s very difficult to do. It’s not something that happens overnight, but anyone who’s mastered something and even the masters continues to practice every single day.”
Starting small and simple is the key here. Whether the intentions are daily, weekly, monthly or annual intentions for business or personal life, make them achievable. Collaborate and share your intentions with anyone that will be a part of achieving them. This can help with accountability and the ultimate goal of success in whatever your intentions are.