Most of us think of intent as a “kind of” “sort of” thing: you intend to go on vacation, but you really don’t do much about it. Or you intend to go to the market, but some other errand got in the way. Or you intend to ask your boss for a raise, but you got cold feet and chickened out.

Which is a waste of a valuable tool, for in truth, intent is a powerful, dynamic mechanism. It’s not just wishful thinking. It’s a determination to act in a certain way.

Intent is so powerful, that it can alter the outcome of supposedly neutral scientific experiments.
For example, there’s a well-known effect in psychology called the “observer effect” or the “expectancy effect.” Simply stated, a researcher’s hope--their intent--for what an experiment may reveal impacts the outcome. So if a researcher expects (intends) the experiment to show improvement in an area, it more likely will show improvement, and if the researcher expects (intends), on the contrary, the experiment to show lack of improvement in an area, it more likely will show lack.

How that works is still a bit of a mystery, although it is most easily understood through the workings of energy. We are, after all, bundles of electronic energy constantly transmitting – in ways that are measureable--and thus impacting each other. But the “observer/expectancy effect” is why researchers came up with the double-blind method of conducting experiments, where neither the researcher nor the subjects in a clinical trial for a new drug, for example, know who’s getting the drug (the real thing), and who’s getting a placebo (like a sugar pill).

Which is why I pose the question: do you know where your intent is? Is your intent for a new job, a raise, a vacation, a car, in the land of “kind of” “sort of”? Or are you recognizing in full consciousness the immense power of intention and putting it to use for your goals and dreams?

1. How badly do you want it?

If intent is a determination to act a certain way, then the first thing to figure out is how badly do you want that thing you want? Because determination requires passion and perseverance, and there’s no way you’re going to have passion and perseverance if you don’t want something pretty darn badly. You know the difference. You can want as in “that would be nice,” or you can want as in “gotta have it, no matter what it takes.” It’s only the “gotta have it, no matter what it takes,” that can fuel a determination to act.

The “gotta have it” (or “be it” or “do it”) is what lies behind the achievements of all the world’s greats: the Michael Jordans, the Steve Jobs, the Bon Jovis, etc. Their 100% intent to succeed at their chosen fields was the foundation of their ability to get there. So too, can it be for you.

2. How conscious are you of your intention?

Are you absolutely positively determined to be/do/have whatever it is? Are you conscious of your intention 24/7/365? Is it in the forefront of your mind as you go about your day? Or do you let it slip into those nether regions of half-baked “yeah, well, maybe” that never come to pass. . .

Intent is only as powerful as it is conscious. Make yours conscious, and it will serve you well!

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right” (MindLab Publishing) You Matter. You Count. You Are Important. Visit,, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson