Identify Intentions Before Setting Goals

January 2, 2006 at 4:20 pm Leave a comment

”Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

— William A. Foster

With the onset of the New Year, many folks are reminded of changes they would like to make in their lives and, thus, renew their focus on these aspirations. All too often, this effort ends up in frustration or disappointment. In order to increase the chances of successful results, before setting goals or making resolutions, get in touch with your true intentions.

Intentions are a reflection of your values, what is most important to you. They are related to who you are and how you are “being” in the world. Webster’s dictionary defines “intent” as “the state of mind with which an act is done.” Intentions set the course or direction of your life.

Goals, as defined by Webster’s dictionary, are “the end toward which effort is directed.” They are about taking action toward a future outcome. Goals can help you progress in life by setting a target and defining the steps to reach it.

Working towards goals is a valuable skill; however, goals can easily become a reaction to the external influences in your life. When your goals are not aligned with your intentions, they may be stumbling blocks rather than an aide. You may experience great resistance along the way and even failure. Or, equally as defeating, you may achieve your goals only to find that it is not where you want to be. As Steven Covey suggests, “It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life … to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

To maximize the integrity in your life, take some time to reflect and understand your intentions (which are an internal experience) before defining your goals. In this way, you are more likely to have your goals be the outer manifestation of your true intentions; how you want your life to “be” moment to moment. Align your worldly actions with your inner values and live them day to day. If you stay true to your intentions as you pursue your goals, not only do you have a greater chance at being successful in achieving your goals, the process itself becomes more rewarding no matter what the outcome.

“Before you agree to do anything that might add even the smallest amount of stress to your life, ask yourself: What is my truest intention? Give yourself time to let a yes resound within you. When it’s right, I guarantee that your entire body will feel it.”
–Oprah Winfrey


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