We are taught within our society to set goals for ourselves. We are encouraged to know what we want for our future, to have hopes and dreams to aspire to. Not having a goal is often associated with being unmotivated, lazy, a “slacker.” But I think there is much value to be received from replacing goals with intentions.
Goals and our plans to achieve them are mental constructs. Setting a goal presupposes that we know exactly what we want for ourselves, not just right now, but also six months from now. This is a ridiculous notion. In six months, we will no longer be the person we are today. How can we possibly know today what we want our life to look like in six months? This keeps many of us from deciding what we want in the first place. The threat looms that we just might get it – and that once we’ve reached our goal, it won’t be what we wanted, after all.
The setting of intentions is very different than goal-setting. When we create an intention, we donâ€™t have to come up with the details of what we want in our future. We provide merely an outline, perhaps tapping into a few specifics we think we may want. Â We can be as vague as we like!Â The purpose of the intention is in connecting to the energy of what we wish to create, rather than the specific outcome itself.
Setting intentions involves a lot less pressure than setting goals. When we create a goal for ourselves, our mind attaches value to the achievement of our goal. It introduces the concepts of “success” and “failure.” If we reach our goal, then we “made it.” We are successful. Having an intention, on the other hand, allows for shifts and changes, for new and previously unconsidered possibilities. There is no attachment to a definite outcome – we set an intention, but understand that the Universe will interpret our intention according to our highest good. We know that it is quite possible that the Universe will manifest something far better than we could have ever imagined. There is no success or failure, merely a result. The result informs us about the level of alignment between our intention and our highest good. If an intention fails to manifest itself entirely, we recognize that we connected to an energy that is not currently in our highest good. If an intention manifests itself practically overnight, we recognize how immediately available that energy is to us. Neither is good or bad. It is simply a result that informs us of our highest path and purpose.
Just like a goal assumes that we know what we want for ourselves in the future, a plan assumes that we can actually predict how weâ€™ll get there. Our minds will have us believe that we know exactly what the outcome of our actions will be. In the short-term, this may be true. If I pick up the phone and dial a certain phone number, I will reach a certain person. Or at least be able to leave a message. But how often have you implemented a plan with a slightly longer time-frame than the next five minutes that actually manifested itself exactly “as planned?” How many of us have ever planned a party, a vacation, or a marketing strategy that yielded exactly the results our mind had predicted? We’ve collectively come to realize that things rarely go according to plan. And yet, we keep planning. We come up with “plan B,” even though plan A didn’t turn out so well.
On the other hand, we set our intentions with the understanding that the â€œhowâ€ of manifesting it isnâ€™t up to us. Instead of investing time and energy on a plan, we open ourselves up to receiving the opportunities that the Universe will bring our way, based on our intention. Because we do not know exactly how these opportunities will manifest themselves, we remain vigilant and open to receive the outcome of our intention. We take one step and then the next step as they reveal themselves to us. Each action energetically support our intentions, rather than yielding a specific result. For this reason, setting intentions anchors us in the present moment.
Through goals and planning, our minds prompt us to live in the future. Our present is focused on where we think we want to be and how to get there, rather than where we are. Never mind that the first thing we usually do when we reach our goal is rush out and get new goals, with barely a moment’s time to reflect on our accomplishments.
The mind uses goals and plans in order to stay in charge. Our minds do this in order to protect us from the fear of uncertainty. But that protection comes in the form of lies. The mind lies when it tells us that it knows what life we will want in one month, six months, or three years. The mind lies when it tells us that it knows the exact consequences of our actions. But they are seductive lies that give us an illusion of safety. In exchange for this illusion, we allow our minds to keep running the show.
What goals of yours can you replace with an intention?Â Â Leave your comment and share!