Sure, you have goals, but do you set intentions?
Here’s how setting daily intentions can change everything.

Most people are well versed in the practice of setting goals. Whether for personal health or career success, setting goals and following the traditional process of achieving them is embedded in our everyday routines.

But how well does goal setting work? How many of us start with the best intentions and follow the SMART steps (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) only to find that we do not achieve them. Again. Even worse, many of us will finally achieve those goals but how often is that path to achievement filled with anxiety, stress, unworthiness, shame, and lack.

There is an additional practice that can make achieving our goals more successful and offer us the opportunity to live more fulfilling lives as we travel that path. That is by setting intentions.

Goals vs. Intentions

Goal setting helps us plan for the future, understand what we want, create a plan, and offer a process to get it done. There is a downside to goal setting. It takes us out of the present moment and emphasizes what we don’t have—a consistent deterrent of gratitude for all that we do have and have achieved.

For those who set goals and sometimes fail to achieve them, the act of goal setting can lead to a sense of not only failing but of being a failure.

An intention is focused energy that starts in the present moment and sees what your future will bring. Intentions are based on a strong purpose or objective, paired with determination and persistence to achieve a desired result.

Setting and living by intention allows you to be aware of who you are in the moment, recognize and honor your value, raise your emotional energy, which then increases your physical energy. Daily intentions help you identify your values and offer a powerful way to achieve success and, most importantly, fulfillment.

Daily intentions will help you do that. They also provide a framework for how you choose to live each day. Intentions give you purpose, as well as the inspiration and motivation to achieve your purpose.

Intentions have no limits.

Intentions aren’t to be confused with goals: They are about who you want to be, what you wish to contribute to the world, and how you choose to touch the lives of others.

Setting intentions can make you more effective. 

While you can set an intention to be productive, you’ll find more power in stating an intention to open your mind and heart to the thinking that will result in higher productivity and other desirable states.

Setting intentions will help you to get out of your head.

Voicing intentions will take your mind off of your problems and perceived limitations. Instead, it will place your focus on something that will have a positive impact on your life. Clearly stating how you intend to feel today instead of wishing that you felt better puts the power of change in your own hands.

How to Set an Intention

Your intention should be closely tied to your personal thoughts, values, and perspective on life. Intentions can be a clear and specific desire or as simple as a word or phrase you’d like to align yourself with, like “open your mind and heart,” “love,” “vulnerability,” “strength,” “kindness for myself and others,” “peace,” or “freedom.” Try to keep the intention positive, so instead of saying “stop being a coward” or “spend less time alone,” choose the intentions, “be courageous,” or simply, “community.”

Here are some thought-starters to help you get started in forming an intention:

  • What matters most to you?
  • What would you like to build, create, or nurture in your life?
  • What would you like to let go of?
  • Who would you like to forgive in your life?
  • How do you feel when you are your happiest self?
  • What makes you proud?
  • What word(s) would you like to align yourself with?
  • What fears would you like to release?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What are your wildest dreams?

10 Intentions You Can Borrow

  1. Find clarity
  2. Open your mind and heart
  3. Achieve peace
  4. Stay steady, calm, and focused
  5. Act with courage
  6. Embrace change
  7. Give and receive love
  8. Allow yourself to be vulnerable
  9. Connect with others
  10. Accept myself
  11. Forgive

Simply stating your intention at the beginning of your day, week, or mindfulness practice won’t be enough. You must revisit them often and when needed. Call it to the center of your mind when you feel off-center and need to reset. Intentions are an excellent way to help you stay grounded and reconnect with what matters most.

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