Updated: Feb 4
Why you should set intentions instead of goals.
Don't get me wrong, you should set goals, but FIRST you should determine what your intentions are. Goals are objectives you wish to achieve, SET POINTS you want to reach. Goals can be physical or not, but they're always focus points. Intentions set up your DIRECTION. Intentions will help you know where to go in the first place, and how to develop goals and manage your whole life in accordance with your standards.
Intentions are your North Star, your beacon.
So what are they exactly?
I know you may be thinking "okay but what do you mean". Getting there!
So here are some examples of life intentions vs examples of corresponding goals, to help you see more clearly:
I want to my life to be more sustainable
I will reduce my carbon footprint by #% this year
I want to be feel more fulfilled & educated
・I will read # books this year
・I will pass # certification this year
I want to get big achievements in my carrier
I will work smarter to get a promotion this year
I want to have a healthy body
I will workout 3 times a week this year
Once your intentions are set, your goals will become crystal-clear!
How to determine your intentions.
Intentions are extremely personal.
They should reflect who you are as a person, and who you want to become. You can also experience shifts in your intentions throughout your life, due to different kind of events that will change your perspectives.
What is most important when you are setting your intentions is to only take into account what YOU want to do, and what you want to become. Your life intentions are your own, and yours alone. If your intentions are strong and you always keep them in check, no matter how hard life gets, no matter who or what tries to get in your way, you will always find your path back.
You will always find your North Star.
Do you see yours yet?
My special tips for it to work
Tip 1: Speak Up
When I say your intentions are your own, I don't mean to keep them a secret. In fact, you should express them to your trusted entourage, because you will find that people WILL change attitude towards you as soon as they know what your intentions are. That is Psychology 101 right there, but a lot of the time, we tend to get frustrated in our relationships with others precisely because we have a misunderstanding about our mutual intentions. So speak them up. Not to everyone, not carelessly, but speak them up. You will notice the difference.
Tip 2: Ask Yourself
What I meant by 'your intentions are your own' was rather that you should not try and copy those of someone else's, or set the 'trendy ones' for yourself. Not everybody is concerned by accumulating knowledge, or being more mindful of the environment. That is just a fact.
Your intentions are your own because you are unique, and you will have a unique set of intentions.
Take the proper time to ask yourself what yours ARE. Not what they SHOULD be.
Tip 3: The less, the better
If you have 20 intentions that is too much. By experience, people revolve around 3 to 6 maximum. I personally have 4, including the big one of 'Helping others' which is why I am here writing this blogpost, on my website which I created for my coaching business.
If you have more than you can handle, it means you need to refocus. Are you still holding on to intentions you had in the past, but which shifted into something else, something new, as you got older?
Which leads me to my fourth tip.
Tip 4: Check things up
Your intentions are not something you should set up and then forget about for the rest of the year. You have to check up on them regularly, to make sure you are still aligned. You aligned with them, and them aligned with you.
Your intentions might shift, as I said, intentionally (sorry for my lack of better vocabulary here) or not. It may seem contradictory, but people who practice yoga and meditation will know what I mean when I say: there is always a chance you might be disconnected from your mind.
Now you're gonna say: what are you talking about, I know what my own mind thinks, it is my mind after all.
And I'm going to say: are you sure? When is the last time you purposely sat down and truly asked yourself what you wanted in life, where you were headed, and why?
The reality is that few of us actually do the exercise, which is a shame.
Checking up on your intentions should be done fairly regularly, and based on demand: if no change occurred in your life for a full year, then doing the exercise once during that period is enough. If on the other hand you have or are still experiencing a lot of changes and events, you need to check much more regularly than that, perhaps once every 2 months would be good.
Tip 5: How to Reconnect
And finally, here are my 3 best exercises to help you reconnect with your mind and find out what your intentions are:
Journaling: I am not talking about logging in your daily life here, I am talking about mindful journaling. I will touch on that subject in a future post.
Taking a long walk, or going on a short travel, preferably alone: This for me comes right after journaling. Whenever I get the chance to go somewhere on my own, I always allow my mind to wander and recenter itself on what's important.
While cooking, knitting, taking your shower, gardening: who said you had to be surrounded by yoga music, buddhist bowls and be sitting in the lotus position to meditate? Meditation can be done anywhere, and can take many forms. I personally do my best meditation while doing daily tasks, that don't require my conscious attention.
Yoga, or yoga-like practice, or any other sport where you can be alone with your thoughts: A sport session can be a mindful time. It is up to you to make it so.
Unguided meditation: surrounded by silence or music, but not guidance from a meditation coach to allow yourself to think.
I hope this post was useful! What if this year you could set out CLEAR intentions & goals, and you actually... achieved them all? 🤩🤯 Need more guidance? I have been privately coaching people since 2021. Take a look at my services and book a 1:1 session with me!