How many New Year’s resolutions have you made that you’ve abandoned by the end of January? Empty promises that disappear as quickly as cool morning fog in sunlight. Maybe you’ve come up short because you were setting goals instead of intentions.
Goals and intentions are similar: things that you plan or propose to carry out, an aim or desired result. But, there’s a difference.
Goals are specific and measurable and often notions you think you “should” do, versus your heart’s desires. After you’ve set your goals, you list your tasks and particular actions to accomplish them.
Setting goals is a linear process. It’s based on what you know or think you know. If you don’t know how to reach your goal, you may do research, then follow someone’s advice on how to achieve it.
Let’s examine a couple of possible goals: say your goal is to lose 10 pounds in a month. Your first step may be to find a diet to follow. Next, you decide to run four days a week, and finally you find a supplement that’s ‘proven’ to get results. All things that worked in the past or your friends swear by.
Or maybe your goal is to eat healthier. First you may look online for recipes that contain lots of vegetables and lean meats, or you may ask your friends for suggestions, or do research about nutrition and diets like paleo or vegetarianism. All are excellent ways to eat healthier, but not necessarily the best ways for you in this moment. Can you begin to see how setting goals is based on what you know or think you know?
Conversely, intentions tap into your authentic self and the Universe. They can be similar to goals, however the process of fulfillment differs and they may require deeper thought on a personal level.
After you set an intention, you step back and wait for inspired actions—actions that come from your heart and intuition, internal impulses you receive—rather than planned out actions. Intentions tap into miracles and the unknown because you are divinely guided in your movements. There is still work to be done and steps to take, but you’re tuning into your intuition and following that higher guidance.
Now, let’s take your goals and turn them into intentions:
Instead of losing 10 pounds in one month, you reframe that into an intention to be fit and healthy. Once you set your intention, you listen for guidance regarding the steps to follow opposed to making out a list from your past experiences. This way you are tapping into your intuition and receiving instructions about actions you may not have considered. You may be led to a different way of eating, or guided to fun exercise classes or something totally out of the box (like ice skating for me) that will ultimately lead you to being fit and healthy in a joyful way, not struggling through a routine to lose weight which will probably come back once you stop that routine.
By setting an intention to eat healthier, you will then be guided to meal choices that are best for you and your family. It may be a vegetarian or paleo diet, but it also could be something you’ve never heard of. The key is to be open for inspiration and exploration and let your intuition direct you.
3 Steps to Setting Powerful Intentions:
- Visualize what you want to accomplish, create, have or be. Remain clear, concise and unwavering. Don’t base your intentions on what you think is possible from past experience.
- Reflect on whether this is something you think you “should” do or something that enlivens your heart. “Shoulds” do not bring peace and joy to life and don’t propel you to create miracles.
- Follow the internal impulses you receive even if they don’t make sense at the time. Intuition often speaks in whispers that the rational mind doesn’t understand.
You can set intentions for yourself personally and together as a family. This is a wonderful way to involve children in family decisions and empower them to take responsibility for what they want to create in their life.
Here’s a real-life example to illustrate my point:
My family set the intention to move from Georgia to Florida. At the time, we didn’t have the money to move, nor a place to stay, nor work for my husband. Because intentions are guided by inspired actions, we didn’t list a bunch of tasks to complete, but waited for our intuition to lead us. Shortly after setting our intention, my husband was “inspired” to put an ad on Craig’s List offering to exchange remodeling work for housing—something he would not have normally done. His ad was answered by a couple who had a beautiful empty house in Florida that they wanted remodeled. Within a couple of weeks of setting our clear intention, we packed our cars and moved. When we set our intention, we had no idea how it would work out.
This is the power of intentions; you tap into the unknown and true miracles become available!