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January 11, 2016

The difference between goals & intention

So, a few weeks ago, I wrote this post. It’s about how I think resolutions are failing us. I think it’s possible to develop resolutions that feel great. And as you’re starting to feel out what 2016 might bring for you, there might be hope or trepidation or excitement. Crafting a year ahead that’s wonderful is totally possible, but the cause of that wonder might not be what you think.

What I want to talk about today is how we can truly set ourselves up for success through intention, rather than setting goals.

Briefly, here’s what I mean by “intention”:

Intention is how we commit to showing up. How we choose to be, regardless of external forces. It’s the tone or the quality we choose to embody. It’s about how we approach our life.

It’s about how we want to be, instead of what we want to do (that’s goal setting). For example, this year, my intentions are: curiosity, joy and ease. That’s how I want to show up. That’s how I want to approach things. And because I want those things for myself.

Here’s the deal, y’all:

I want all of the joy in the whole world for you.

Which is why I think that intention setting is so powerful. I’ve been using this tool for years, when going into difficult conversations, when taking on a new endeavor, even when entering my marriage.

This practice guides virtually all I do. There is ease and beauty in it.

Sure, I still set goals. There are places I’d like to visit this year, a certain amount that I would like to earn in my business. But my real success is found in how well I meet my intentions.

Here’s the difference between goals and intention:

Goals are fickle and wild and can be entirely out of your control.

There’s a sense of attachment there — of grasping. Goals may change. Your goals may, in fact, be at the whim of some other force. You can hustle all you want, and be disciplined all you want. You may meet your goals.

Or not. Impermanence is real. Life may have other plans. Your goals may not come to be, either because you change or life does. Which is okay.

With intentions, regardless of what happens, you can keep your word.

My tone, and how I’m showing up, those can remain the same regardless of what life throws at me. Whether I’m showered with success or tragedy, I can remain curious. I can stay soft and grateful.

The flip side is this: you can have all the success in the world and it still might feel empty. Maybe you do meet all of your goals and find… nothing. It doesn’t make you feel any particular way at all because there was no resonant intention there. It doesn’t feel “right” because it wasn’t true for you.

Again: external measures are rarely reliable. When when you’re setting intention from the heart? That’s where the real magic happens. You start to get somewhere meaningful, because you don’t need to rely on the actions and opinions that often have nothing to do with you.

It also means that you’re less likely to be thrown off your game. The thing that you wanted to happen didn’t happen? It’s totally okay. You’re still here, grounded in the “why” behind what you do.

So what’s your intention this year?

How are you showing up? What qualities are you bringing to the party that is your life? What tone do you want to embody? It’s entirely your choice. Make it intentional and meaningful.

PS: Setting Meaningful Intention and Real Self-Care: Forgiveness

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