Are you struggling to set meaningful and specific enough goals?
We’re always setting goals for ourselves, whether that’s to travel more, be healthier, binge watch every series on Netflix, start a blog or maybe even grow a business. No matter who you are and what your life looks like, goal setting is a part of it.
Goal setting is one of those rituals that can be a pretty painful process when it’s goal setting for anything that really matters to you. Especially, when you have no idea what you want to do with your life or even just with your now. So, why bother right?
Or perhaps on the other end of goal setting challenges, you have way too many ideas and competing priorities. You’re simply overwhelmed by the possibilities for your life and you can’t think of a specific or meaningful enough goal to get started with. So, you give up on goal setting altogether.
And to make setting life goals even more complicated, you have your family, friends, society, culture, mass media, and even the corner store clerk demanding to know what you’re doing with your life and telling you who, and what you should be.
But, what do you want? Who are you and who do you want to be?
Sometimes the outside voices and pressures are so loud, that we forget to listen to our own inner voice. And that’s if we even learned how to hear it. Somehow I doubt, “listening to your inner voice” or “how to set intentions” was taught in school. It wasn’t for me and I spent ages in school.
If this is you, if you’re anywhere between lost and overwhelmed with goal setting, it’s time to pump the breaks and set an intention instead of a goal.
This is Part 1, of a 6-Part Series on How to Actually Achieve Your Goals.
#GoalSlayerSeries breaks down the honest unfiltered truth about what it really takes to achieve your goals. Each post explores one major mindset shift that you need to make in order to become a Goal Slayer (aka someone who achieves their goals without apology or excuse).
Let’s get you started, with setting intentions in your life by learning how to listen to your inner voice.
What is Intention?
To help you set and ultimately slay your goals, your intention acts as your true north.
It’s both the direction you’re facing, and simultaneously where you are headed. Your intention acts as your compass, to guide you through goal setting and planning, to becoming motivated, finding your focus, and every aspect of achieving your goals.
Your intention is who your authentic self is and also aspires to be. It’s your heart’s desire, who your inner person is, and the manifestation of your true self in your life. An expression of your true, authentic self, driven by what you really want beneath all – when all those outside influences and noise are silent. *shhhhh*
An intention is greater than any goal you can ever set. It’s not about what specifically you want to achieve or how you’ll reach it, that’s what goal setting is for, rather it’s all about who you are and your why.
It’s the truest words you could ever speak to yourself. It’s honest, authentic, and all about the feels. It’s a promise, a vow to yourself that you plan to see manifested in your life with all your heart.
What’s the Difference Between Goal and Intent?
Goals and intentions couldn’t be farther from each other, they are exact opposites in at least 6 important ways.
“A well crafted intention starts with your values and becomes a statement about how you want to show up in the world. They are guideposts for who you want to “be” and how you want to show up, instead of what you want to “do” or accomplish.” – Christie Inge
#1. INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL:
Intentions are an expression of your inner self, they say who you are on the inside, and who you aspire to be. It’s between you and yourself. On the other hand, goals are external, they are set and slayed in the physical world.
- Intention: “I want to feel brave.”
- Goal: “To face my fear of bridges and walk all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge by September.”
- Difference: The goal is the external proof that you feel this way. It’s tested and displayed in reality, not just in your mind, which you wouldn’t need to validate.
#2. PRESENT VS. FUTURE:
Intentions allow you to be successful right now, whereas goals are created for future success or potential failure. With intentions belonging to the realm of now, you are able to achieve it in the present. Goals are uncertain and not a sure thing, you can meet them or fall short. Intentions are absolute, it’s who you are, now, not maybe someday tomorrow.
- Intention: “I intend to put me first.”
- Goal: “To enjoy one mommy ‘me time’ weekend away from the kids before my birthday.”
- Difference: If this was your intention you can put yourself first right now just by taking 5 minutes for yourself, or doing something for you. The goal is achieved later, it maybe exists in the future.
#3. SIMPLE VS. STRATEGIC:
Intentions are simple sentiments, they’re not complicated. Goals, however, are strategic. Since intentions exist within you, they don’t need to take into account all the realities of your life, you don’t need to debate your time, money or energy, or plan to achieve them as you do for your goals.
- Intention: “I want to be free.”
- Goal: “To start a side-hustle and earn $2,500 per month, to quit my 9-5 job by winter.”
- Difference: The intention is what it is, it’s pure, it’s based on who you are and what you need, it doesn’t have to worry about the how or the what. But your goal has to figure out how, and be strategic, to take into account all the information.
#4. VAGUE VS. SPECIFIC:
Intentions are supposed to be vague. What do they even mean? Only you can answer and interpret what they mean to you and when. What your intention means changes and grows with you. Whereas a goal is specific, it describes a certain event or action. And everyone who can’t set a specific enough rejoices, your solution is to set an intention instead. The specifics will come later.
- Intention: “I am strong.”
- Goal: “To train this spring and win a mixed martial arts competition at my local gym by 2021.”
- Difference: To be strong can mean many things, it can be emotional, physical, spiritual, or even intellectual strength. But the goal is a specific definition of strength.
#5. FEELING VS. OUTCOME:
Intentions are all about feelings and emotions, but goals are tangible outcomes. Even if you wanted to be rich or have rock hard abs, it’s never just for the money or the abs, it’s for the feeling we get when we have them. We think our lives will be better with them. The intention is the feeling, but the goal is the outcome (ie. what we get or have).
- Intention: “I need to feel healthy.”
- Goal: “To eat a healthy, balanced Paleo diet for 5 days straight.”
- Difference: The intention is to feel healthy, you can do that by any means, going for a walk or doing some deep breathing, but the goal is a defined and reachable destination.
#6. CONSTANT VS. CHANGING:
Intentions are an expression of our authentic self’s greatest desire, they are tied to who we are, and even though we evolve as people, who we are is constant. It’s our understanding and interpretation that changes. We can have more than one intention and focus on different ones at various and varied times in our lives, but that inner voice doesn’t change its mind.
Goals, however, change as our understanding of ourselves and the reality of manifesting our intention shifts and grows. Goals are meant to change, they aren’t who we are, they’re just how we’re attempting to make who we are a reality.
- Intention: “To be happy.”
- Goal: “To have a fulfilling career that makes me feel proud and accomplished” OR “to be in a lasting and fulfilling relationship by the end of the year.”
- Difference: Both goals are a version of happiness, the intention is the same, it’s the interpretation and HOW you go about manifesting it that changes.
Although intentions and goals are different, we need them both to work together in order to set goals and achieve them. However, we struggle and feel lost when we jump to goal setting without first seeking out our intention.
Goals “anchor” our intentions in reality, and help us manifest our internal intentions into our physical lives. Goals give us a specific outcome and destination to work towards, but it’s the intention that motivates us, keeps us focused, and allows us to feel successful no matter what happens with the goal.
Why You Need to Set Intentions Instead of Goals
Imagine trying to travel somewhere with your eyes closed. You don’t know where you’re going, why you’re going there, you’re just moving without direction or directive. Right, left, circling around, back again… so you’re frustrated and you give up.
Now imagine that you can see where you’re going, you know exactly where you want to go, you can plot your course and move closer and closer in that direction.
That’s the difference between setting goals with and without an intention.
How to Find Your Intention
We all have moments in our days and lives that stand up and ask, what it is we need or who we need to be. That’s your inner voice shouting, that’s your intention.
Start listening to your inner voice and paying attention to each of these moments.
If goal setting and planning are frustrating you or keeping you from making progress then you need to stop.
Push the goal-setting aside, for now, put down your planners and your calendars, stop stressing about how you feel stuck and stagnant you are. Just breathe, let out all the frustrations that jab at you, that keep you up at night, and run like a roller coaster of anxiety and stress in your mind.
And ask yourself,
- What do I need?
- What do I want?
- Who am I?
- Who do I want to be?
- How do I want to feel?
You take your inner voice’s answer and you run with it, this is the foundation for your goal setting. BUT, if a specific and meaningful goal isn’t immediately apparent to you, that’s okay too. It’s simply an invitation for YOU to find a simple way to BE this now.
How to Set An Intention For Manifestation
It’s about manifesting that inner intention out into the world. And you don’t need to set goals or create an elaborate plan to do that. There always a simple way to manifest your intention in the immediacy.
For example, using the intention examples from above:
- How can you feel brave right now?
- How can you put yourself first today?
- What thoughts make you feel strong?
- How can you feel healthy at this moment?
- What makes you happy right now?
The intention is in the immediacy, in your now, so you can act on them.
“Passing desires are those things we say we want, and sincere intentions are directly related to the actions we actually take.” – Ariel Banayan.
You don’t need to set goals and craft elaborate plans to live your intention or to live with intention.
Get started by listening to your inner voice, hearing your intention, and then something to manifest it today.
That’s it! Don’t get caught up in planning and setting goals. For now, just focus on how you can live intentionally moment to moment.
When you start acting intentionally, that’s when the real magic happens you open yourself and your life up to opportunity, ideas and endless possibilities as the universe conspires to manifest your intention.
It can sound really out there, but it’s incredible how once you know what you need and want, the atmosphere around your life changes. It transforms into a place where the impossible happens, where you get what you need when you need it, where ideas and inspiration are born, where miracles and your dreams start to manifest.
How does that sound? Do you need this in your life right now?
Abandon your goals (for now), and start by setting an intention.
One simple phrase from your heart, to the universe’s ears.
One line of dialogue between you and your soul.
One declaration of truth from you to yourself.
A promise to yourself that you can start living today.
The FREE #GoalSlayer Masterclass
It’s time to STOP setting goals and focus on setting intentions instead. Sign up below for the FREE #GoalSlayer Masterclass to learn how to start setting intentions and living intentionally today.
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Are you ready to start setting intentions, instead of goals?
Last Updated on February 15, 2021