As the clock starts ticking towards the end of a year, many of us start to think about and plan for personal goals to kickstart the new year. And, sometimes, it can be a time when one may feel a bit down on ourselves for not having achieved the goals we set out to do for the year.

Hence, this is a perfect time to shed light on one of my personal favorite topics: intentions vs goals, and the power and beauty of intention. As a Leadership Coach, I truly believe that setting Intentions vs Goals can change your thoughts and change your life.

In this article, I discuss the following topics:

  • Difference between intentions and goals
  • Value of setting and living with intentions
  • Creating positive impact with intentions
  • Benefits of intentions
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Intentions vs Goals  

Intentions are not the same as goals.

What’s the difference? 

Goal setting focuses on specific tasks we aim to achieve in the future. It sounds great, yet in essence, it takes us out of the present moment and creates an emphasis on what we don’t have.

If you have ever set a goal and not achieved it, there can be a sense of failure or not feeling good or worthy enough of this goal. In turn, we may become uncomfortable setting goals or writing down dreams because the thought of them not coming true is harder to bear than proactively giving them a go.

Intentions, on the other hand, focus on the way we want to feel and on the relationship we have with ourselves, others and our environments. Intentions put us in choice vs reaction. 

intentions vs goals
Intentions act as a Roadmap for Today and the Future

Value of Setting and Living with Intention

Setting and living with intention allows us to be in the present and raise our emotional energy which in turn raises our physical energy. Intentions are empowering as they act as a roadmap for living out each day as well as a means of achieving our goals. Intentions give us purpose, meaning and inspiration.  

With intention, we can recognize and live by our values. As Mahatma Gandhi so famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” this is exactly what living with intention does. It puts us in the driver’s seat of the creative force of our lives.

To live what we wish to mirror in the world.

By taking a moment to reflect on our values, we set up a values-based foundation for our lives that comes from within instead of living from external based success measures that are either met or not.  With intention we create a positive impact on things that matter to us.

A typical example of goals many people make at the start of the year are to achieve a certain weight by a certain date, or have a new job and be making a certain amount of money. Living with intention would mean to declare how we aim to feel as we reach for these goals.

For weight goals, the intentions could be to have more energy and live a healthier lifestyle. In finding a new job, the intention could be to have fun, learn new skills, and meet other people in the process. This way, whether the exact goal is met or not, we can measure our success from our internal scale.

These intentions are in our immediate control and affect the wellbeing of our lives.

Intentions can be set for every task of the day, especially those which we deem less desirable.

For example, I have a long commute to work every day. If left on autopilot, my mind can wander into the drudgery of a commute and traffic. However, my intention is to be curious. To discover the awe and beauty I can pick up along the way.

I am amazed at how many things I find and how much peace and joy this brings me. I arrive at work in a happy and well state. It comes from a simple mindset shift and setting the intention.  

Creating Positive Impact with Intentions

Many of us dream of creating a positive impact.

Did you know that human consciousness has an effect on everything from the molecular structure of water to the well-being of human kind? Dr Masaru Emoto in his work on the consciousness of water on the proved that water can be influenced by intention and thought.

Your body is 80% water.

Imagine the changes that can take place within your body as you begin to consciously give intention to positive choices.

With intention, we ignite the ripple effect and the energy to those around us.

intentions vs goals

Setting intentions can help you get out of your head by focusing on something that has a positive impact in your life.

Stating how you intend to feel or what you intend to focus on puts the power of change in your own hands. For example, when my mind is racing into a negative spin, I raise my awareness and take a pause.

Whether out loud or silently to myself I can state, “I intend to live in gratitude for all that I am and have. I am the creative force of my life and choose to bring positive energy to any given situation to influence change.”

Benefits of Intention

Because life is a journey, not a destination, intentions allow us to find more joy in the journey, as we aim for the destined goals.

Further benefits of intention:

  • Limitless
  • Expansive
  • A Way of Being
  • Raises Awareness 
  • Brings Choice and Freedom

We see that it is the sum of all the small moments of awe and being in the present moment that intentions bring in living a meaningful life.

With what intention will you further move into your day or new year? As soon as you mention it, notice how you feel. Change your thought, change your life, enrich the world.

Interactive Workshop on Reflections and Intention Setting

Coach Brand Richard Thompson and I are hosting a 90-min, virtual, interactive workshop on Reflections and Intentions Setting to bid farewell to 2022, and welcome in 2023. Sign up here.

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