Set New Year’s Intentions Instead of Goals

Often, the first of January inspires us to Set New Goals! Rev Up the Exercise Machine! Scale New Heights! and then see it all dissolve by January 15.

New Year’s Goals?  Ditch em!  Instead, use the January reflection time to tap into your heartfelt desires and set your intentions instead. Goals that naturally arise from that place are achievable.

What’s the difference between an intention and a goal?

An intention springs from your heartfelt desires and sets the process in motion, a goal is a tangible action imbedded in the process. An intention comes from the heart; goals come from your head. Do you feel the difference?

For example, when I look at my desire to have a healthy body I know that my sedentary lifestyle and late night dinners over the past 20 years have had a cumulative effect. I’m thicker and slower. Plus, through normal aging, it naturally takes longer to recover from a workout.

I know I need to exercise, so I go online and find a website with a workout plan. It’s prescription put together by someone that knows what he or she is talking about. Looks good on paper, only it doesn’t take into account my current life demands or body rhythms.

The leap from desire for a healthy body directly to goals ignores current reality. Our default thought pattern then kicks in and spirals into negative thinking. Then I give up. We all have a hard time making that leap. Ice cream anyone?

My purpose, to feed growth in others, is supported by a healthy body. It gives me the stamina and physical vitality necessary to do my work. When I merely desire a healthy body, it’s too overwhelming and I give up, but when I link it through intention to my purpose, it gives me more options.  There’s a different possibility around it when it’s driven by my purpose.

Setting the intention of having a more healthy body in 2017 sets me on the path of defining clear steps (aka goals) to get there.

Things I can do include a daily 30-minute walk, bicycling when the weather gets nicer, swimming at the rec center and dancing with friends. I can experiment with changes in my diet by trying new recipes, drinking more smoothies and increasing my water intake. Setting goals that incorporate these things would include numerical measures and a specific time frame that integrates more smoothly into my lifestyle.

The big picture goal is to integrate these changes into habits; I want to make them my practice, a normal part of my day.

Intentions give you flexibility, goals give you structure. A goal sets a tangible action into a timetable, and continued success of your goals leads you to your desired change, and that supports your intention.

Ultimately, you need both if you’re going to be successful in integrating change into your current lifestyle. Set your intentions now – the goals will naturally follow.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.  Do you do something different? Please share below!


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