Most of us will never achieve the New Year’s resolutions we set. Ouch, that sounds harsh. Yet, it’s a fact proven by scientists at the University of Scranton. Researchers found that 92 percent of people who set New Year’s goals do not achieve them. Goals are a great and necessary act to propel us into action toward our desires. But since so many of us are setting aspirations and not taking steps to fulfill them, it stands to reason that an essential component is missing – intentions.
Difference between goals and intentions
Intentions are like the quiet, intuitive sister who aims for present moment awareness, purpose, and peace. They have feminine energy of inner life, alignment, and feelings. Intentions focus on your relationship with yourself and how you want to show up in the world. Living your intentions is based on your values and what matters most to you. Goal-setting is a natural by-product of this.
Goals are like the louder brother wishing to attain a desired outcome in the future. They carry the masculine energy of being outward-driven, seeking external achievement. Plans look toward tomorrow, what you have to do, and where you’d like to take your life.
Creating Personal Goals Isn’t Enough
You may have goals for yourself, such as finishing a degree, getting a promotion, or jogging two miles. Goals can be anything you choose, but they are not enough to motivate and drive you forward in pursuit. A goal is a great idea, but it sits on a shelf collecting dust without the mental habits to support it.
Further, goals deceive us into thinking we will reach lasting happiness once we attain our goal or reach our destination. This type of self-deception is known as ‘arrival fallacy.’ Several studies show that once people reach their goal, they return to their default state of happiness after a brief period of celebration and joy.
That is why intentions are so important. For example, let’s say I set a goal to hike a trail to the end and back. Before starting, I may intend to be present for the spectacular views, sounds, and smells along the way. If an unexpected obstacle prevents me from completing my goal, my intention to appreciate nature’s show can still be realized. Intentions are lived each day, independent of achieving the goal or destination.
The Power of Intentions
While both goals and intentions are valid and each has a vital role in manifesting our desires, intentions serve as a lighthouse for your authentic self, who you want to be in this world, how you want to live. They set the stage for goals to shine.
Intentions come from a deeper part of yourself. Whether in your career, relationships, health, or another area of your life, an intention serves as an internal compass. It guides your actions, behavior, the way you choose to live, and shifts your attention away from accomplishments and outcomes.
For instance, one of my intentions lately is “I have time.” I always feel pressed for time, like there isn’t enough time to do everything I need to do like my to-do list is endless. So, I am consciously choosing to intend a different reality for myself. Intentions are ways of manifesting a life based on the best version of you. State intentions in the present tense. It can be a phrase like “I behold all the abundance around me.” Or just a word such as “peace.”
Before we map out our goals, we should first consider an intention. By setting your intention first and combining it with goals, you will have the missing ingredient to finish that degree finally, get a promotion, or jog two miles.