Intentions – Essential Elements to a Happy Life
It’s a new year and a new beginning, so you have probably got a list of goals & objectives for 2018 – but what about your intentions? And why are they important too?
They are considered by many successful people to be an essential ingredient of a happy, fulfilling life and this month is the ideal time to consider them. So here is our New Year guide to intentions and how to use them to have your best year yet.
So what exactly is an intention?
An intention is a state, feeling or general outcome you “intend” to have in your life. It is much softer, less specific and more open than a goal – and is not driven by words like “should” “have” or “must”.Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realisation that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our state of wellbeing.
An intention also tends to come from your heart and is strongly connected to your ideals & core values. It is not something that you “think” you need to achieve by taking action. Also intentions don’t focus on an exact outcome or process – so often it is advised is to make your statement and then let it go, trusting that it will appear in its own time and manner.
In addition, they can help you stay present and focus on living day to day – while keeping in mind what matters most to you. Being intentional about how you want to feel and “be” in the moment can make a big difference in your quality of life.
Remember that intentions naturally vary from person to person due to the fact that we all have individual values and desires. However, to give you some ideas, here are a few examples from different sources:
“It’s my intention to be more compassionate towards others”
“I’d like to experience more abundance and prosperity in my life”
“I intend to be in the present moment as much as possible”
“I focus on the positives”
“I nourish myself with healthy foods”
What is the difference between intentions and goals?
Like any other work project, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve and why. Set out some clear goals and objectives (preferably SMART ones) and wherever possible, involve the employees in the planning – after all, they know best what sort of programme will appeal to them most.
- Well-set goals are clear, with definite steps and specific outcomes to be reached within a certain time scale. They are usually measurable too. (We are sure you are all familiar with S.M.A.R.T.)
- Intentions are not time-driven or measurable in the typical sense.
- Goals are future orientated.
- Intentions are part of the present moment and daily living.
- Goals usually focus on external accomplishments and attainments.
- Intentions are connected to your relationship with yourself and a sense of inner purpose that affects the outside world.
- You either succeed or fail to reach your goal.
- Intentions don’t fit into the succeed/fail equation. They are not tied to a fixed result.
How do intentions and goals combine?
Actually goals and intentions do work well together: you can partner them to create a formula for success in all aspects of your life.
An intention can be used as a starting point to help you form a specific goal from the overall desire.
Intention: “I’d like to be in the present moment as much as possible”
Ask yourself what that actually means to you. What would need to happen or change in your life circumstances for you to have that experience? Once you clarify what that is, you can form a clear goal or goals around that intention.
Goal: “I enroll for the six-week meditation course which starts of the on the 1st of February
Or a goal can be used to identify the intention.
Goal: “I generate and maintain a regular monthly income of 2,000 euros per month by selling my e-book through Amazon starting on 1st February”
Intention: “I intend to be more abundant and prosperous”
While goals manage the practical action steps, intentions take care of how you want to feel. This means appreciating the experiences that unfold on the journey towards your objectives – not just the end result.
Setting clear goals keeps you focussed and motivated by targets whereas intentions keep you grounded and inspired by your values and heart’s desire.
The goal helps you get the task done and the box ticked but the intention will remind you of why you want to achieve the goal in the first place.
How do you identify your intentions?
Actually identifying what you really want can be challenging as we are often influenced by outside sources such as family, friends, partners, media, and society. However, an important thing about intentions is that they are in line with your desires and dreams – not anyone else’s.
Our advice is to get a pen and paper and take some time to sit quietly in a comfortable setting. Aim to get yourself into a relaxed state. Perhaps take a couple of deep breaths, stretch, roll your shoulders back or light a candle. Whatever works for you? Once you feel calm and centred then close your eyes and allow yourself to daydream while gently asking yourself questions like:
What do I really want in my life?
How do I want to feel?
What would it feel like to have that experience?
What makes me feel inspired?
Or any other questions that help you to connect to your wishes and dreams. Then open your eyes and write down whatever comes to mind. Just go with the flow of thought without censorship or punctuation. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Trust your intuition to guide you and see what happens.
Write for as long as you need to. Then once you have finished, look over your notes. Pick out statements or words that jump out at you. The ones that make you tingle or feel excited. Then take another bit of paper and write them out as meaningful statements. Read them out loud, check the wording and ask yourself if they feel inspiring and uplifting. If the answer is yes, then you have your intentions for 2018!
Executive Coach. Consultant. Trainer. Facilitator.
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