Looking to find some focus in your life? Try setting a one-word intention. The reason to select one word to encapsulate your intention (for a year or whatever timeframe feels right to you) is that it gives you something to prioritize. Think of it as the why behind a goal. A one-word pledge gives you a way to frame your journey so that you are less reliant on outcomes or specific results.
As with any transformation, the magic happens not by simply selecting a word, but by committing to it. To create long-term change, you need to identify the feeling that you wish to feel, and then embody that feeling as a way to cultivate and amplify your intention.
It’s important to remember that your word may have a shelf life. It may serve for an entire year or longer. Or, you may realize that once you are embodying this intention, that there was something deeper underneath that can serve as a more powerful intention. Invite yourself to be open and willing to be present and shift when necessary.
There are a lot of ways to choose a word. You may find that words choose you rather than the other way around. It isn’t so much the word that matters—but how you allow yourself to interact with the feeling behind the word.
How do you embody a word? How do you bring a feeling to life? Let’s explore …
1. Let the Word Live Inside You
Imagine that your word has energy. Think of it as living inside you. Through stillness, you can invite the word to grow within you—notice its energy and where it lives in your body. Maybe it is grounded in your core, your heart, or your chest. Maybe it is anchored in your feet and connection to the earth. You might even associate a color, temperature, or set of physical sensations with the word to give it additional depth. The more you can relate to the word as an energy, the easier it is to tap into that feeling when you need it.
2. Listen to Your Word
Once you’ve explored how the word feels within you, give the word a life of its own. Like life, words have songs. Do you remember a time when a certain song came on the radio and your entire mood changed? Maybe you wanted to get up and dance? Or maybe it drew you to a memory that you hadn’t thought about in a while? Whether your word has one song or its own whole playlist, identfy the music that pairs well with your word and listen to it often—because music can be a powerful reminder of what connects you to the feeling that you crave.
3. Create a Mini-Avatar
When it comes to embodying a feeling, imagine your word as a person, place, or thing. Think of it as an avatar to bring your word to life in your mind. Once you have a symbol to represent your word, use it as a visual anchor somewhere you’ll see every day. Photos or vision boards are other ways to bring your word to life in your heart and mind.
4. Release and Amplify
What would it look like to give yourself that feeling—that word—right now? What would you need to release? Not 10 minutes from now, but in this moment. Embodying a word is a daily practice. A daily practice that doesn’t have to take much time is one of reflection and visualization at the end of the day.
Ask yourself, where did you embody your word today? What did it feel like? Also notice where you didn’t cultivate that feeling. Invite yourself to release those moments with forgiveness and self-compassion first and then consider, what could you amplify instead? Where could you give yourself permission to cultivate the feeling even more?
5. Recognize Where the Feeling Already Exists in Your Life
The feeling your heart and soul craves exists within you in some way, shape, or form. Maybe it is subtle or barely perceptible, but you can bring awareness to how this feeling already inhabits your life—what you feed is what you grow.
Awareness and celebration of where the feeling already exists in your life sends a signal of possibility to your heart and mind. Plus, the more you draw attention to what is working in your life, the more you rewire your brain to embody what you want to feel in the present rather than waiting for a hypothetical finish line.
6. Visualize Your Word
Visualization is a powerful mindset tool. This practice is an invitation to see your embodiment of the feeling play out, as a visual image that your mind can tune into before you take action. Think of it as offering your brain food to your mind in the form of pictures. See yourself like you are watching a movie in slow motion. Notice all the details as they unfold.
How does it feel to have seen yourself take that step? Let yourself soak up the sensations and the energy from the visualization. This will serve as motivation and help solidify the power of the practice.
7. Take Action
Actions and outcomes are popular indicators of success. And you need to act to let your intentions take shape in the world. So no matter how big or small of a step, each day take some sort of action to move your intention forward.
But no matter what happens when you take a big or small step to embody your word, take a moment to give yourself gratitude and love for showing up for yourself with awareness and intention. Maybe you showed up with your heart, having visualized first and then taken action with a sense of purpose—but the outcome left more questions. Or maybe you fell off the embody-the-feeling wagon because progress felt too slow.
The process of embodying a feeling is less about the outcome and more about the journey to how you want to feel. It is a practice, which by definition means that you keep showing up, ready to try again. When your actions are deeply aligned with the energy of how you want to feel, you are more likely to feel that way no matter what the results are.
The practice of embodying a feeling takes effort. Some days will be easier than others. But in those moments of struggle, invite yourself to consider the big picture. Why do you want to change? Why does it matter if you embody this feeling? What will the ripple effect be in your life? How will amplifying this feeling serve you and others?
The more you practice and show up for yourself, the more you'll start to rewire your brain and create new habits and patterns.
Get personalized support and guidance to create a clear roadmap to happiness with The Chopra Center’s Discover Your Purpose Toolkit, which includes a free e-book, worksheet, 1:1 discovery session, and guided meditation. Get your free toolkit now.