What do you do when you're feeling inspirational or want to make a change? You set goals. But, there is something that always seems to happen when we set goals - they fail. We're often left struggling to find an answer for our failures, then we set new goals, hoping what we want to happen will happen next time. This is an endless cycle without clear results.
So, I've quickly realized that goal-setting doesn't work. You must set intentions.
intention: a determination to act in a certain way - Merriam-Webster dictionary
The goal-setting process usually starts off on the wrong foot. We often set a goal that's too broad, too specific, or destined to fail because it lacks a clear intention or purpose in our lives. To put something in perspective, you must relate it back to your specific life journey and ask yourself, "How will this affect me in the future?" or "Will this really beneficial in the long run?"
For example, I set a goal to lose 10 pounds over the summer. My intention is to become healthier and stronger, but that isn't what I portray to others or repeat in my mind. At the end of the day, what do 10 pounds really mean to me? Will my friends and family be proud when I tell them I lost 10 pounds? Probably. Will they be ecstatic and invested in my life if they see I'm happier and stronger because I'm healthier? Definitely.
I should set this intention, "I intend on becoming healthier and stronger by using food as fuel and healing my body from the inside out."
Now, that's an intention. It's long-term. It's purposeful. It's limitless.
After we achieve a goal we think, "what's next?" but when you set intentions, you know you can constantly work towards something. There really isn't a true end because its a gradual process. Just like goals, you can write down your intentions and make a conscious decision to work towards them.
In my personal life, I've always set goals. A goal to get perfect abs. A goal to get straight A's. A goal to make new friends. Even if I did reach these goals, I never felt fully satisfied with myself because I thought I could do more. There wasn't a rooted purpose in my goals.
I started to consider setting intentions when I learned about them through the health and wellness organization, CHAARG.
Yes, I set #FitGoals for working out. Yes, I set a "water goal" for how much water I should drink in the day. But now, I set intentions along with these goals. My #FitGoal is to do a pull up because I intend on becoming stronger. My water goal is to drink three full bottles a day because I intend on healing my body.
The biggest lesson I've learned from goal-setting vs. intention-setting is that you must detach from the outcome. You shouldn't focus on the destination but on the journey (cheesy but true).
I think if we shifted our goal-orientated mind, we would change our lives for the better and find success in our own lives. You don't need New Year's resolutions or lists of goals to make a change - intentions can be set at any time, with any purpose.
It's time we stop setting goals and start setting intentions.