I was watching The Dr. Oz Show about six months ago, and the world-renown go-to-for-everything expert was explaining the rules of going on a successful diet to one of the show’s guests. I don’t remember his first few instructions; however, the last one was significant. “Come out!” he directed, explaining that the key step in the success of any diet or lifestyle change is to tell everyone you surround yourself about your new endeavor, causing you to be held accountable and, thus, supported.
Personally, I find this final step to be a great help in any change I’m trying to make in my life. For example, starting this blog has held me accountable to actually going to yoga (it’s a minor requirement in order to write about it.) With blogging, I find that I’m not only held accountable to myself, but to an audience of friends and strangers as well. The result? In my decision of whether to watch that never-ending Law and Order SVU marathon (let’s be real, there aren’t many things that give me the urge to press the “off” button when Detective Stabler is on repeat…) or head to my favorite Vinyasa Flow class, I have a little more incentive to get my butt off of the couch and over my head.
So, why not apply this, and “come out,” about our intentions? That’s exactly what Malika Chopra had in mind when she started Intent.com in Santa Monica in December 2008. The website, which I’ve blogged about on numerous occasions, allows its community to share their intentions for the day with anyone visiting the site. These intentions can then be “re-intented” by other members (just like re-tweeting) or “supported” (similar to clicking “like” on Facebook) by other members. With over 100,000 intents created over the past few years, and over a million people supporting intents, there’s definitely something to be said about the power of support … and of this positive online community.
“We get emails from people saying that posting an intent everyday really helped them get through a hard time in their life,” says Yumi Sakugawa, the online editorial producer of Intent.com. The site, she says, “helps [members] feel more anchored and mindful and more aware their happiness and what they can do with their life.”
Sakugawa, who said she gained an interest in working for intent.com after reading a powerful book by Eckhart Tolle, explains that the site adds a necessary contrast to the existing contents of the Internet. “We’re not a super huge community, but I think compared to other mainstream websites, we’re really positive!”
What kinds of positive thoughts are people sharing? Sakugawa says that, similar to Twitter, the topics can be largely based on current events, such as the recent Japan earthquake, which had “intenters” heading the site in droves. “Definitely when there’s a big crisis that happens, without even asking the community there’s this natural influx … it definitely does correspond with things that are happening throughout the world.”
Whether there’s an earthquake, an epiphany, or a renewal of commitment to acceptance, Intent.com offers itself to a community of individuals who seek to share their hope and intention with a world of supportive members.
“We definitely want to spread to more people the idea of sharing an intent, whether it’s on intent.com or in general,” Sakugawa explains. “It’s really easy to join intent and posting intentions really is a great way to keep your life aligned with your goals.”