7 Reasons Science Validates Why You Ought to Focus on Your Intentions – Article 1 of 7

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Article 1 of 7: Reason One – Increases Self-Determination

This is the first of a series of seven articles I will be posting over the next seven working days to help give you even more clarity about the importance and power of your intentions.

If you want to live an even more flourishing, meaningful and prosperous life, both professionally and personally, there are at least 7 scientifically validated reasons why you ought to understand and act on Applied Positive Intentions.


An Applied Positive Intention is a mindful awareness of WHAT you are going to do, WHY you are going to do it, and HOW it will positively impact others.

The most effective way to understand and act on Applied Positive Intentions is to start by writing out an Intention Statement.

An Intention statement is a statement that articulates what you want FOR a person (or group) and not what you want FROM them.

For example, a Customer Intention Statement is a statement that articulates what you want FOR your customers, not what you want from them. It outlines what you want your customers to experience, feel, think or have.

Another example would be an Intention Statement for your wife, husband or partner. This would be a statement that articulates what you want for your husband, wife or partner. Again, what you want them to have, experience, think or feel.

However, an intention is one thing, but taking action to fulfill or live up to your positive intention for others, is what creates the more powerful Applied Positive Intention.

Here are 7 evidence-based reasons why you ought to understand and act on Applied Positive Intentions:

  1. Increases Self-Determination
  2. Develops Trust
  3. Enhances Meaning and Purpose
  4. Builds Positivity
  5. Increases Goal Achievement
  6. Encourages Curiosity and Learning
  7. Develops Clarity, Agility and Resilience

In this article we will examine how Applied Positive Intentions increase self-determination and each of the remaining reasons will be covered in future articles.

Increases Self-Determination

Researchers Deci and Ryan have outlined how to tap into and release the intrinsic motivation in people that will achieve what many corporations are seeking… how to increase internal accountability, initiative, agility and self-leadership.

Based on their research, Deci and Ryan developed the Self-Determination Theory, which suggests there are three core ingredients that release an individual’s intrinsic motivation.


The first is a sense of autonomy. This is a person’s sense of control they have over the direction and success in their lives.

Take a moment now to consider on a scale of 1 being low and 10 being high, how would you rate your own (or if you’re a leader, the individuals in your team) sense of autonomy in your professional or personal life?


The second is a sense of competence. This is a person’s sense of how effective they are in dealing with their life environment.

Again, using the same rating scale, take a moment to consider how you rate your own (or if you’re a leader, the individuals in your team) sense of competence in your professional or personal life?


The third is a sense of relatedness. This is a person’s sense of having nurturing and supportive relationships in their lives.

Now consider using the same scale again, how would you rate your own (or if you’re a leader, the individuals in your team) sense of relatedness in your professional or personal life?

The higher sense a person has of each of these three elements, autonomy, competence and relatedness, the higher their overall sense of being a self-determined individual.

Why is that important? Because as Deci’s and Ryan’s research shows, self-determined individuals are those who are more likely to hold themselves accountable for their actions and results, show more initiative, are more creative and agile and demonstrate self-leadership.

What we know from recent research is employees who were guided on how to write out a Customer Intention Statement and then over a three week period held themselves accountable to report on how they had lived up to those intentions, had a statically significant increase in their sense of self-determination, as compared to other employees who merely focused on completing their work tasks over the same three week period.

The message is clear for every corporate leader.

Coach and guide your employees to write out positive intention statements for their customers and regularly report back on how they are living up to their positive customer intentions and you will boost the level of self-determination in your people.

This extra boost in your people’s sense of self-determination has been shown by the research to be associated with higher engagement levels, increased goal achievement, reduced absenteeism and a host of other positive benefits to the individuals’ well-being and life satisfaction.

The second article in this series will cover how science validates Applied Positive Intentions help to develop more trust in people’s professional and personal lives.

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