Intention Series: Intentions versus Affirmations

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by Jo-Ann Downey

in Manifesting

Are intentions and affirmations the same? Can you feel a difference between “My intention is to joyfully drive to work” and “I am joyfully driving to work”?

*please see 2022 message on the bottom of this blog*

Wikipedia Definitions of Intention and Affirmation

According to Wikipedia, intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought. An affirmation is a declaration that something is true. For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be present tense, positive, personal and specific.

Although this definition says intentions relate to the future, I experience intentions as being both in the present and the future. Like walking down the path while seeing myself on the same path in front of me. Affirmations are definitely in the present tense.

Examples of Intentions and Affirmations

I always start intentions with “my intention is”:
My intention is to be naturally joyful and positive
My intention is to gracefully experience loving friends

Affirmations are often in the form of “I am” statements:
I am naturally joyful and positive
I am gracefully experiencing loving friends

Intentions versus Affirmations

Can you see the similarities and difference between affirmations and intentions? In many ways, they are different sides of the same coin. They both are stated in the positive, are personal and specific, and both represent what you want to experience.

I often use affirmations to pull intentions into the present moment in order to take dominion over my thoughts in situations where I am (or may be) caught off guard or when I feel nervous. Let’ say a conversation becomes confrontational – it’s quicker and more effective for me to say “I am centered” than “My intention to be centered”.  In that moment, I need to quickly muster up the experience I want to have.

Some say that affirmation are not as authentic as intentions. I can see that point of view. For example, you may not be 100% joyful while driving to work, however, as shared in “Choose Your Thoughts Well”, thoughts tend to build upon each other.  It is not likely that after having a thought like “this is not going well”, that you would have the thought “things are in harmony.”

Thoughts, positive or negative, connect to each other like compartments of a train- they pull each other along in the same direction. Watch your thoughts and get on the positive thought-train going in a positive direction.


My preference is to use intentions because they are directional (in the moment and for future experiences), provide a space for the highest good to happen (beyond what my mind might think is the highest good), and feel 100% authentic and peaceful to me.

You may also want to read “Intention Series: What is an Intention? Why are Intentions Important?”, “Intention Series: How to Create Powerful Intentions”, “Intention Series: The Secret Sauce of Intentions”, “Intention Series Summary”.

*2022 Message:  I am currently blogging on my new site Be All of You Today.

photo: julie jordan scott

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