Last week, we talked about goals and how they are far more effective than resolutions for achieving what you set out to accomplish during the year. This week, we're going to take that up a notch and turn our goals into intentions.
Let's start with defining the differences between goal and intentions.
A goal is a plan. It is the essential, sometimes vague, but more specific than a resolution, road map towards something you want to accomplish. Goals. Are. Awesome.
An intention, however, is the internalization of a goal. It is the claiming of the plan and making it all about you.
You've mapped out where you want to be, and how you want to get there. You've even incentivized your goal with a map of rewards for meeting milestones along the way. And now... My dear reader... You're going to take that map and absorb it into every cell of your body and take deliberate action on your goals, through intentions.
Let's grab our goal from last week: "I want to lose 100 pounds by December 31, 2018."
We've mapped out how we'll get there: Exercise, nutrition and planning, with weekly evaluations (weighing myself) and monthly review of my eating and exercise actions (versus what I planned).
And really? If you wanted, you could just stop there. For years, that's what I did. I mapped out my goals, and then tossed a ton of actual energy into doing.
Want to take it to the next level? Set intentions.
An intention is a super-charged goal, because you've taken your goal, and stated (and repeat often) that you are doing this thing.
"I am losing 100 pounds by December 31, 2018." That's my broad intention
"I am losing 100 pounds by December 31, 2018, through a combination of exercise, healthy eating, hydration and rest." Takes it up a notch. I've begun to include my road map (how I'll get there) in my intention statement.
"I am losing 100 pounds by December 31, 2018, through a combination of exercise, healthy eating, hydration and rest, because when I am nearer my ideal weight, I look, feel and am healthier. I have more energy for my family and friends and businesses when I look, feel and am healthier."
Left jab, right hook, goal knocked out!
Not only did I state my realistic, measurable goal alongside my road map of how I'll get there, I've thought through and concisely stated why I want to achieve this. And that's where a goal becomes an intention. I also took out all the negative language, making it an entirely affirmative statement. In present tense. In these two statements, I've said that this is something I am actively doing right now, and I'm succeeding at it!
I intend to lose weight, because dammit... I feel a hell of a lot better when I'm not hauling around an excess 130 pounds!
I listed all the cliche reasons for losing weight, and then I took it a step further. I personalized it. My family, friends and businesses (and yeah, ME) all benefit from me looking, feeling and being healthier.
I then take this intention, and I repeat it to myself daily. I post it where I can see it (like the refrigerator door - for when I go diving for a snack food I probably shouldn't have). I journal it with my daily "What went right, what I'm thankful for and Affirmations." Each time I repeat that intention to myself, I'm reprogramming a piece of my brain, until it becomes a habit.
Rather than, "Gee, chocolate cake sounds good. Let's eat half the pan!" my brain says, "But wait. I am losing 100 pounds this year, and making better food choices to get there. Half a chocolate cake doesn't help me get there."
Oh. Yeah. It's that powerful.
You can reach your goals by defining them (see last week's blog post). Or you can blow past them by setting intentions to reach your goals. Admittedly, it takes a lot more work to take your resolutions past the goal state and turn them into intentions.
But honestly? I've seen a lot more growth come out of intentions than I have just stopping at setting goals.
Disclaimer: I'm not a scientist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or any other kind of -ologist. In fact... I pretty much suck at research, because... oh, look! Shinies! (I have a short attention span, in other words. It takes a hell of a lot of dedication just to get my blogs posted on schedule!)
Here's what I've found in my own experience, though, from goal and intention setting, and keeping journals about my life:
Goals have deadlines - they are, by nature, timed. And when you live life trying to get as much as possible done before the next pain episode kills your schedule for the next month (like I do), goals can be devastating. Unmet goals start to stack up. And that's discouraging.
Intentions, however, give goals a little boost. Not just energetically, because you have made this goal a part of your energetic field by setting an intention around it. Intentions give goals that boost, because they reprogram your brain (hello, subconscious!) and ease up some of the deadline frenzy.
In other words...
I might not make the deadline on my goal, but the intention is still there, in full, with all it's how and why, and I've made progress, even if it's not a lot, before the deadline came and went.
I set an intention in 2016 to have Thrice Read Books into its own website by January 2017. It actually ended up being November 2017 (yes, I launched our bookstore site in the middle of NaNoWriMo - to the horror of my writing buddy), but I got there. I woke up every day and reminded myself that I needed to work towards that goal.
Moment of bald honesty here: Had I left that as a goal, I would have been really down on myself about it. In fact, at one point, I gave up completely.
And then Hubby, during a moment of despair, reminded me that I had set an intention, not a hard-and-fast deadline. I could still open that bookstore website whenever I was ready.
November 20, 2017, we launched www.thricereadbooks.com, and moved TRB from just free-blogging whatever inventory we had, into its own platform (and OMG... I was so relieved to finish setting up inventory!). It's still growing, but those are other goals and intentions we outlined together in our business plan for 2018 (and beyond).
I know I've bordered a bit on rambling this week, so I'll wrap it up. You've seen how to turn a goal into an intention. You know what to do with it. And you've seen how I use goals and intentions to reach hit my targets (even when I don't hit them on time).
Now it's your turn. Take a goal (or, if you missed last week, hit the post on goals, do the homework and come back here with your resolution) and turn it into an intention. Let's take this community to the next level, and support each other with our intentional love and energy towards hitting our intentions together.