I was thinking of a topic to blog about and asked my daughter-in-law Michelle, mother of my two year old grandson Colin, for an idea. Before I could even get to my computer she responded.
“Actually I do have a topic,” she said, “How to set goals and intentions. Like a step by step process.”
“Grasshopper”, I responded, “you always ask me this question. What is it that you don’t understand…specifically?”
“Goal setting, there is a process to it. Most people only write in general terms. Think about what you want, write it down, blah, blah, blah. That’s not good enough. How do you write it? Present tense? How should you actually state it? And intentions are different than goals. What are intentions? How should you write them? Every article I read is very general. There is no ‘how to’ step guide.”
“Well Grasshopper, there are many ‘How To’ step guides. But it’s not about that. First it’s about knowing the difference between intentions and goals. Next It’s about patience, understanding and focus. So, let’s begin.”
There is a subtle distinction between goal setting and intention and it is that distinction that makes a huge difference in the outcome and in the experience.
When you set a goal, you think realistically. You analyze your current situation and then you plan out each step that you believe you need to take to reach that goal. Setting goals is based on reasoning and creating a plan. It’s a cognitive process of analyzing, planning and reasoning. We stand in control of the plan and all the steps on how to get there. The problem with goal setting is that life usually gets in the way. You get distracted and many times you just can’t seem to stay on schedule. You become frustrated and disappointed. You begin to lose hope and you wind up getting in your own way of success. You then start to negotiate another plan, setting new goals but the same thing begins to happen and your vision for a better future becomes dismal because of the negative thoughts that by this point have taken over your goal setting thoughts. Sound familiar?
There is another way. It’s called living by intention. Setting an intention is a similar process like setting a goal, but the difference is that you don’t plan out the steps along the way. You just intend (visualize) the outcome and surrender the process to the universe because in this scenario the “how” of getting there is none of your business. The only requirement that intention has is that it comes from your heart. It has to be something you really want. It does not come from the reasonable you. It comes from the creative part of you which has no restrictions and knows no boundaries. I’m sure you’ve experienced the battle that takes place inside all of us between the heart and the mind. Many times what the heart wishes for the mind can destroy with many reasons.
Setting an intention begins with a thought of what you want to happen. You push all the reasons of why it won’t or can’t happen out of your mind. It’s imagining every day how you will feel when that intention manifests itself. It’s like pretending that something you’ve always wanted is actually happening. You are intending with your heart the outcome of certain situations. Exciting situations that would inspire you to move your life in different directions that cause you to smile.
You can try it with little things first. You have a phone call to make that could go badly. Intend that the phone call go well. You do that by visualizing the phone call ending exactly as you want it to end. Along with that visual, feel how it will be after you hang up and you have achieved exactly what you had hoped you would. You are not thinking about what you’re going to say and what the other person is going to say, you are just imagining the end result.