The New Year, infused with excitement and enthusiasm, inspires many to look brightly to the future. It’s a perfect time to give your dreams another chance – with a deadline!
Different areas of the globe observe their own unique festivities. For many, New Year’s resolutions are willfully pledged and hefty goals are resolved – with an imaginative intention and a belief that this year really will be different.
Ah, but the best goals oftentimes wither into nothingness, and the newly-born year quickly succumbs to the same frustrations of the past. Consider, for example, those who resolve to exercise more. Gyms are typically packed in January, but completely empty by March.
So, what happened to those bold goals and lofty intentions?
More importantly, are you aware of the distinction between a goal and an intention?
Goals Have Their Purpose – Externally
Goals are aims we establish for ourselves – but they are outside of ourselves. Goals are often about a destination. Once set, goals are useful in that they provide a roadmap of where we want to drive our lives.
Setting goals is the first step into turning the invisible into the visible.
Keep it simple: keep your goals specific and realistic. Don’t fill your plate with a smorgasbord of goals just because it’s a New Year and everybody’s doing it.
Goals are very heady, something outside of our inner self, and very much IQ driven. Goals are expressly about the “what” we want to achieve – our future state.
On your way to reaching a goal, it can be easy to fall into an “are we there yet?” mentality. After all, goals are most often associated with a destination – somewhere we haven’t attained yet. Once the initial gratification of achieving the goal has worn off, “what’s next?” is often the immediate response we ask ourselves.
Sometimes, that can cause us to feel uncomfortable with ourselves, as though somehow we’re inadequate as we are.
For the greatest chances of success, goals need to be authentic. When you decide on a goal to please someone else – and it’s not really representative of your core self – it’s doomed to failure.
Intentions, On the Other Hand, Have Their Purpose – Internally
Intentions involve the heart and are therefore more deeply rooted. Intentions are all about the process, your process – the “why” in your life, your way of living. When you focus on your intentions, you’re keeping true to yourself, your inner values, who you are. It’s all about being present now – unlike goals that are something in the future.
A good intention clothes itself with power.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Intentions keep you true to your Self and to your strongest yearnings. An Inc.com article by Maria Tabaka cited the importance of setting intentions:
- Setting intentions takes your mind off problems. You learn to pay attention to the path of your day. The result? You’ll find you’re grateful for so many things you might otherwise have overlooked.
- Intentions can go beyond just “me” to a more expansive “we”. Intentions don’t have to focus on you specifically, but rather upon who you want to be and how you want that to impact the lives of others.
- There’s no limit to intentions. A study demonstrated that water can be influenced by thought. Consider that for a minute – then imagine the positive changes that can take place within you and your world by setting intentions.
The power of your intentions has a greater impact on your life than your actions.
Fulfilling Intentions Creates Meaningful Transformations
A few years ago, I set out on a transformation process of my own. I followed my inner voice and stepped into who I really am.
This positive transformation is reflected in my new, updated website. (Check it out here: www.boldermoves.com.)
In my own transformation process, I realized the website I had been putting out to the world reflected a version of me that was not really who I am. So I sought help in coming up with a new design (a mix of Zen and bold) and language (a blend of business and mindfulness) that let the ‘authentic’ me shine through.
I haven’t lost track of my goals. They’re specific. They’re authentic. I want to help wake up the world.
And my intentions? They keep me grounded. They’re like little reminders to check in with myself, to make sure I’m being kind to myself and those in my life. They remind me that life is a journey, and that I’ll enjoy the ride by keeping true to myself. And, anyway, if I am not loving the Work, why should anyone follow me?
Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, your inner voice to guide you.
When you pair your goals with your intentions, it’s like linking your unique journey with the destination. And for those of us seeking greater wholeness, how much more inspiring and empowering could that be?
Get more practical tips and easy-to-implement strategies to help you identify your goals with greater ease (and set those intentions, too!)…sign up for my free Weekly Bold Moves right here, delivered fresh to your inbox each week.
Colleen Slaughter Raue, Managing Partner of Authentic Leadership International
Colleen is a transformational leadership coach who guides international leaders as they attain the clarity, courage and self-confidence necessary to realize higher levels of productivity and fulfillment in both their personal and professional lives.
Her purpose is to facilitate her clients’ transformation from limiting beliefs and self-doubts into a deeper, more powerful knowingness of how much they – and what they envision for themselves – truly matter.
Colleen’s perspectives were recently featured in an article on the International Coach Federation’s website here.