True, life may not always turn out the way you want; it can, however, be more amazing than you’d ever imagined. This, too, is true.

The real question is: which one these truths do you lean toward, and which one occupies more space in your thoughts on a regular basis?

     Athena Staik, Ph.D    Athena Staik, Ph.D Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik shows clients how to break free of anxiety, addictions, and other emotional blocks, to awaken radiantly healthy lives and relationships. Dr. Staik is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships.

Editor:  Arman Ahmed

The former truth drains and limits the power and energy you feel is available to you. In contrast, the latter gives you unlimited access to powerful inner resources. Seeing is believing.

You can change how you feel about your life in an instant. It may not be easy to break old habits or come out of old comfort zones. What if this would make your experience of life more amazing than you can imagine?

The biggest obstacle is the extent to which you want to change the direction of your inner experience of life, with conscious shifts in your thoughts.

And that’s mostly in your control, or can be. Even though parts of life are not yours to control, you are always in control of what you think, say, and believe, in other words, your response.

Your intentions create your life. In turn, life responds by mirroring your inner life.

To own your power, cultivate a practice of setting conscious intentions to optimize your response to life and the sense of connection you feel to what brings more meaning to your life.

Here are 12 intentions to make life more meaningful, one day and moment at a time. Set an intention to:

  1. Take full responsibility for your happiness.
  2. Love and accept yourself just as you are, warts and graces, even as you seek to become an ever better version of yourself.
  3. Love and accept others as they are, even as you invite them to work alongside you, and grow from any challenges you face together.
  4. Cultivate a practice of both #2 and #3 above; if you focus on mostly one or the other, it’s impossible to succeed at either.
  5. Regard challenges or obstacles as reminders to keep learning what you need to learn to prepare for an ever brighter future.
  6. See your life as a journey of learning how to optimally access the amazing resources, such as creativity, curiosity, and community building, that are unique to human beings.
  7. See love and kindness as actions, much more than mere feelings, in and around you wherever you go.
  8. Resolve to find meaning and make each day a rewarding one.
  9. Stand up for what is important to you, but do so with resolve to treat yourself and others with dignity.
  10. Think of happiness, not as a goal, but as “the way” to live that makes facing fears and growing from challenges easier.
  11. Practice making peace with yourself, mind, and body, moment by moment, by connecting fully to your in-breath and out-breath.
  12. Notice the miracles, big and small, all around you, starting with the miracle of each breath you take.

Not surprisingly, studies show that people who are happy intend to live happy regardless. Happiness is not a goal. It is a way of living that trusts life to grow from the challenges you conquer, learning ever better ways to optimize your life and relationships.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” ~ Joshua J. Marine

Seeking and bringing meaning to our life and relationships is perhaps the most critical job we have as human beings.

Each day, little things you do and think and feel at any given moment, are opportunities to turn up the meaning volume in your life.

The human brain is a relationship organ, and seeking to meaningfully connect to life in and around you is not easy. Like breathing, it’s not an option. It’s a lifelong endeavor.