(2 minute read)
If goals are about a destination, Intentions are about a direction.
As we continue toward the end of the 2022 calendar year, many of us are placing a focus on setting up the new year with a range of clear and actionable goals.
These may be financial goals, career goals, health & fitness goals and more.
While setting these goals is actively encouraged in most teams and workplaces, we should also be considering the value of setting intentions.
Traditional goal setting can be viewed as an ‘outward-driven exercise’, designed to provide fulfillment as a by-product of the outcome of our goals, yet it doesn’t always accommodate any overarching purpose. Goal setting encourages us to look into the future so we can identify what it is we want to achieve, or where it is we want to go, and then creating an action plan that will help us get there.
The process of goal setting, and the active pursuit of these goals is an admirable use of our time and focus. However, consider this: If/when you do achieve your goal of running a half-marathon or visiting Phuket in Thailand, you should feel wonderful and accomplished. You will probably ride the ‘wave of joy’ for a few days, before giving the achievement some thought and wondering – “Now what?” (Psychologist, Tal Ben-Shahar, refers to this phenomenon as the arrival fallacy. The belief that achieving the goal will provide lasting happiness). Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Intention-setting is an ‘inward-driven approach’, which begins with the question of “what do I want my purpose to be this month/year?” Where goals can lead us to become fixated on “What’s next?”, intentions keep you more focused on “What’s now?”
Author, Omar Itani claims, “Your intention is your word, or theme, for the month/year. It becomes your all-encompassing holistic purpose. It’s a noun or verb that defines the period ahead and provides you with the ultimate scale on which to weigh your actions and opportunities as they float your way.”
Itani further informs us that, “Your intention is the inner North which guides your compass. It’s what you fall back on when you find yourself lost and uncertain, searching for the right energy to push you back on your feet in pursuit of your goals.”
This one-word intention comes from within, and answers the overall question: “What do I want my ultimate purpose to be this year?”
The answer to this question is the sole, holistic direction in which you will focus your energy throughout the year. This one-word intention will then create an overarching alignment between the goals you will tackle, the actions you will take, and the opportunities you will consider accepting and likewise, declining.