Intentions and Goals: Different Sides of the Same Coin

When you decide to take a new approach to living, you will likely see or hear the terms goal setting and intention quite a bit. It's like deodorant and antiperspirant. Same thing, right? They both keep you from getting musty and funky. Well, yes, but antiperspirant works to deodorize and prevent sweating, and deodorant's one job is to keep the stank at bay. They both work on armpits to benefit noses far and wide. Intention and goal setting are analogous. Intentions are the deodorant and goals are the antiperspirant. Both intentions and goals work on human brains for the benefit of individuals, relationships and so much more.

Because intentions and goals are so similar, it helps to distinguish between the two so that you can get the most benefit out of them. Each has its place and its strengths. And neither is disagreeable. Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two lies in their action. Goals are the turn-by-turn directions and intentions are you deciding to take a road trip. Intentions only focus on the end result while goals are concerned about the journey.

Goals

Controlling your path to a desired end has its benefits and pitfalls. For those of us who like to see that things are moving forward with checklists, goals are great. Some of the other appreciated virtues of goal setting include:

  • Having a visible timeline.
  • Keeping you focused and on task.
  • Spurring you to action.
  • Pairing well with external achievements.

But there are also some things about setting goals that can be a bit of a drawback. For those of us who are intrinsically motivated or tend to place a lot of weight on how things make us feel, goals can seem a hair overwhelming. Some pitfalls some people find with goal setting include feeling shame or embarrassment when missing milestones. Falling short is human, after all, but sometimes we take our mistakes to the heart unnecessarily. Goals are an important part of making things happen.

Intentions

Intentions get to the heart of manifestation, by allowing you to experience and process all the moments as you move toward your destiny. If you find that life often derails or slows down your achievements, give intention setting a try. Here are some benefits of intention:

  • Intentions are an energetic thing.
  • Keep you grounded in the present.
  • Emotion centered.
  • Prioritize your relationship with yourself.

The purpose of intention is to get the wheels of the Universe moving while also engaging your own investment. As time goes on you may want to incorporate some goals. In elementary school we’d write paragraphs that would start with a broad topic before beginning to narrow. Intentions are your broad topic. And goals are your more focused supporting ideas.

The concrete nature of goals can work well in some situations, while intentions tend to be more abstract and therefore provide more wiggle room. Both are useful, and depending on your preferences and needs, they can change as you go along. Our ability to adapt and change is so important to us reaching our individual destinies. Remember, as long as you have growth and self-improvement in mind, you’re going to get where you’re going. Just be sure to take in the lessons as they come and give yourself all of the kindness and grace that you need along the way.

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