The Power of Expectation and Intention 


We all know someone who is very determined; someone who just ‘decides’ that they are going to do something… and then it just happens. They want it to happen, they expect it to happen and then it does. It looks easy. It seems effortless. Things just seem to fall in their lap. Do you know someone like that?

Would you like to tap into some of that for yourself?

The power of intention is simply this; whatever we put our intention and attention on, we bring into our lives. Evidence suggests that what we expect will happen is more likely to happen.

I know that I noticed a huge improvement in my life when I decided to get clear on what I wanted, reminded myself of it often, set goals, trained myself to expect things to happen and go well, and then, eventually, watched and enjoyed as things started to move in that direction.

Some people who have read ‘The Secret’ may believe that this is due to a ‘force of attraction’, a force of nature that causes like to attract like; whatever we focus on, good or bad, we bring into our lives.

I prefer, however, to think of it in terms of the subconscious mind.

The majority of your thoughts, feelings and actions come from the subconscious, under the surface of your conscious mind, where you have your day to day, conscious thoughts.

If our intention is rooted at this subconscious level, then our thoughts, feelings and actions are directing us towards the object of our intention.

Intention could be another way of saying ‘what you put your energy on’. If we set our intention and remind ourselves of it frequently, we could be subconsciously taking that on board. The subconscious could then be guiding us towards it’s fulfilment, helping us to focus, make the little changes and notice the opportunities that arise that help us to get there.

It’s a bit like when you’re looking to buy some new trainers. Suddenly you can’t help but notice people’s trainers all the time. You notice the ones you like that other people are wearing, you see adverts for trainers everywhere and you notice them in shop windows, when in the past they would have been something you ignored or barely noticed.

Subconsciously we’re more likely to notice opportunities and information that helps us to get closer to what we want, as well as giving us the focus we need to move towards it.

Sometimes, I’ll set an intention to get a solution to a problem, or an answer to a question that’s been troubling me. I’ll either say to myself, or write down what I want clarity on. It’s like I’m just deciding to myself that a solution is going to present itself.

It’s amazing how, often within just a few days, the answer or solution will become apparent. I discover a book that gives me the answer, I’ll meet someone that helps me, or an idea will just pop into my head.

I think this is a bit like the trainer thing, when we set an intention for something, we’re subconsciously on the lookout for answers.

And the power of expectation and intention is so strong that scientific studies have to account for it.

The gold standard for scientific studies are double blind studies, since if either the experimenter or the participant has an expectancy or intention for the outcome of the study, it is thought that this can cause them to unconsciously effect the results. It’s called ‘expectancy effects’. In studies, what the experimenter or participant thinks will happen, or wants to happen, is more likely to happen. This expectancy is similar to intention.

In the placebo effect, when a person believes that they are going to get better, this can help them to get better, even if they are just given a dummy pill rather than actual medicine. They are intending and expecting to get better and therefore they do.

Several meta analyses suggest that the placebo effect accounts for over 75% of the effectiveness of antidepressant medication and all studies into medication must be placebo controlled to account for it’s strong effect.

So how can you use the power of your intention to bring good things into your life? Here are some ideas.

Create a vision board

Creating a visual representation of the things you want for yourself can act as a quick and easy way to drip feed reminders to your subconscious. Fill a sheet of paper with all the things you want for yourself, be they work related, material possessions, health related, a holiday or another personal goal or milestone. Stick it up somewhere you can see it and review it regularly. Cultivate positive feelings of expectation as you look at your vision board and ‘expect’ it to all happen for you.

Set SMART goals

Goal setting is a great way to set your intention for something. By setting a SMART goal, you are setting it in a really specific and measurable way and you’re increasing your focus on it by setting it within a time frame. Make sure goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and within a time frame. For example, I am earning $$$$ per year by 15th August 2018.


In hypnotherapy and NLP we call this ‘future pacing’. The subconscious doesn’t know the difference between something we vividly imagine and a real situation. By visualising things as we would like them to be in the future, we are mentally preparing ourselves to bring them into reality, creating expectation, whilst also boosting focus and motivation needed to help us to get there. Use all of your senses; sight, feelings, thoughts, smells, tastes, sounds and sensations to make it really vivid and rich.

Remember, this works best when we set our intention and then expect it to happen!