Intention Setting vs. Goal Setting. And Why It Matters.

This year I was blessed to ring in the New Year with a family I love very deeply. It was not the first year we’ve celebrated bringing in a New Year together, but it was the first time we released lanterns symbolizing our hopes, goals, dreams, and intentions for the year ahead. It was the perfect end to a perfect day, and a memory I will cherish forever.

I’ve always been an avid goal setter, but this year I wanted to take it a step further. So, when deciding what to write on my lantern and how I wanted to kick-start the New Year – I focused on intention setting vs. goal setting.

Intention setting is game changer, and here’s why:

Every goal we hold is in the hope that we will feel a certain way when we arrive there. And most of us aspire to reach a place of joy, love, freedom, and ease.

Therefore, if you are not clear on ‘why’ you are setting a goal in the first place, you will be less likely to achieve the actual desired outcome. That’s where intentions come in. If we think of our goals as our ‘what’, then our intentions are our ‘why’.

By bringing awareness to our intentions, we can craft our goals more lovingly and in alignment with our deepest, truest desires. And when it comes to living a joyous and fulfilled life, this can make ALL the difference.

The danger with goals is that they can give us a false sense of control. That’s probably why control freaks (like me) love them so much. Every time you succeed at getting closer to your goals, your brain gets a dopamine shot and the ego gets boosted. But as we all know – life doesn’t always go according to plan.

Setting intentions empowers us to decide what we want and how we want to experience life, even when it throws us curveballs. To live joyously, we need to take responsibility for our role as the author of our lives – and intention setting helps us do that.

Goals prioritize external achievements and establish what you want to DO in the world. Intentions dig deeper and clarify who you want to BE.

This year, when I thought about who I wanted to BE and how I wanted to show up for 2022, I kept thinking about the word courage, and what it meant to be courageous. And then I came across this quote:

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” - Maya Angelou

That was the definitive moment that courage became my word for 2022. It is the word I wrote on my lantern, and it is the leading word that helped me define the following set of intentions for 2022:

✨ I will be present.

✨ I will speak truthfully and act in alignment with my core values.

✨ I will deepen my connections with myself, others, and nature.

✨ I will make self-respect non-negotiable.

✨ I will live in gratitude for all my blessings.

✨ I will give myself credit where credit is due.

✨ I will love unconditionally.

✨ I will be joyful in hope.

✨ I will never give up on myself, my dreams, or the people I love.

✨ I will surrender and lean into faith.

When thinking about who YOU want to be and how you want to show up for 2022, I recommend starting by reflecting on the goal that excites you the most right now. What is the feeling you hope this goal will ultimately bring you? Write it down. This is the thing you really crave; this is your intention.

Once you have your key word clearly defined, think about how it can play a role in every aspect of your life. This will lead you to your next set of intentions. Write those down, too. Then, smile – because by doing so, you will have built yourself a roadmap to living your best life. And nothing, not even a curveball will get in your way.