Okay let’s chat about setting intentions and what that means. I did not grow up with this language and it wasn’t until much later on, like this year, that I even understood how it differed from goals. First lets understand how they differ, goals are something that you set to help stay on track and achieve something. An intention is a focus on how you want to be in the moment and how you will live day to day in order to achieve something bigger.
Setting goals is something I thrive on, it keeps me honest with myself and is very much a part of my career life. For instance at the beginning of 2018 I told my husband that I was setting a goal to do 1 major walk (like a 5k or 10k) during the calendar year. I then made smaller goals in order to obtain the bigger goal and then ultimately completed the Portland to Coast walking relay in August of 2018. The problem was at the end I realized I hadn’t enjoyed the process and outside of setting another goal to do it again there was no drive for me to do it on my own accord. I just sort of did it and then when it was done I was like okay, now what?
Another problem with goals is they can be self-deprecating. What would’ve happened if I had not met my goal of doing 1 major walk this year? Would I feel bad about myself? Would I consider myself a failure? What if events outside my control had kept me from achieving my goal? Would I still feel like a failure? Often times I feel like we set lofty goals for ourselves and then get side tracked along the way, or better yet taken down another path in this constantly evolving thing called life and instead of checking in with ourselves and re-evaluating and changing our goals we give up. What ensues is this dialogue “I am a failure.”
But by setting intentions for yourself is it possible to better adapt a goal to your ever changing life? My answer is yes. Intentions focus on how we are living each day. You can still have goals, which are very much future oriented, and set intentions for how you want to live your life on a day to day basis to better meet those goals. It’s all about dialing in the mental side of the goals you set. By setting intentions you can focus on the moment regardless of whether or not you are meeting your goal. You are also better able to see when your goals may need adjusting to your current life. **PS Never feel like goals are written in permanent marker…they aren’t they are written in pencil and can/should be changed as you change.
For example, let’s say that at the start of the month you set a goal to do 30 minutes of Yoga each day before work. One morning your toddler decides to wake up early and join in on your Yoga session which turns a 30 minute session into a 15 minute session with an additional 15 minutes of moving your toddler out of the way, getting snacks and doing downward dog with a toddler on your back. At this point your goal is technically unmet. However, if at the start of each 30 minute session you set the intention to enjoy how your body flows through each pose, how your breath steadies and your mind eases and to take that peace with you throughout the day, then regardless of how many minutes you’ve done you can still meet your intention and go about your day fulfilled, knowing that tomorrow is a new day and that maybe you should adapt your goal to include your toddler.
Yes, all of this seems very fluffy but I know in my heart that if we spent more time setting intentions for how we would like to live our lives on a day to day basis we’d all feel less stress and more fulfillment. Goals are very important, at least in my opinion, because they provide drive and something to achieve, however, the worst thing that you can do is constantly be achieving goals only to find you are unfulfilled by them. That you missed the opportunity to set positive intentions for yourself while achieving your goals.
Here are some of my 4th Quarter 2018 Goals WITH Intention:
- Goal: Spending minimal to no time on my cell phone while with my son. Intention: Being more alert and present with my son, not just physically but emotionally and mentally by talking to him, playing with him and listening to his stories on a daily basis regardless of how I feel.
- Goal: Do a 5k running race in 2019. Intention: Be more active with my son and husband when we are all home in the evenings instead of sitting in front of the TV.
- Goal: Blog at least twice a week for the rest of the year. Intention: Write because I love it about things that move me, not because I have too.
What are your goals for the rest of the year? Are you adding intentions to help you feel more connected to your goals during your day to day life? Have you used intentions to help drive yourself to achieving your goals in a more positive way?