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At Naturkur, we care about more than your physical health – we want our clients to have wellness in every area of their life. Some days that means discussing hormone balancing, weight loss, or general female health, and other days that means talking about goals vs. intentions. Today we’re going to do a little bit of the latter.

Isn’t setting an intention the same as setting a goal? Nope! They are different and each has its own attributes, allowing them to stand-alone, but they work best when paired together. So much so, that we’ll profess, setting intentions can positively impact your success in achieving your goals. But first, we should talk a little bit about what intentions are and how to set them. Then we’ll get into how they can work in tandem with your goals to propel you forward.

What’s the difference between an intention and a goal?

A goal is singularly focused on an end result and based in the future. With a goal, the end result is what matters most. This can result in little thought given to the process of how you’ll feel or the personal awareness of the exerted effort needed to succeed in your goal.

Whereas, with an intention, you are in the present. It can be set day-by-day, week-by-week, or even for a specific event. An intention takes into consideration how you’re feeling or how you aim to feel.

Simply put: A goal is an act of doing/achieving (external). An intention is an act of being/awareness (internal).

When you set a goal and don’t achieve it you can feel defeated and let down. However, if you incorporate intentions into your goals you’ll find that you’re more likely to reach your goals. This is a result of the improvements you make in your internal relationship with yourself through your intentions. More on that in a bit.

 

What does an intention look like?

It’s pretty simple and completely personal; each person’s intention is their own. Here’s an example from my own life:

The first time I was asked to set an intention was during my first hot yoga class. The only thing I could think of was “Wow! It is so hot. I hope I make it through this class!” Just like that, I had set my first intention (to make it through the class). I knew how I wanted to feel having made it through the class; proud of myself. So that’s what I focused on, making myself proud.

The studio was so hot, I was uncomfortable, and I was having trouble catching my breath. Setting my intention to make it through the class forced me to focus on myself – what I was doing, how I was feeling, and concentrating on my breathing. It allowed me to shut out everything else and be present. Eventually, by the end of the class, it wasn’t so hot, surprisingly – I was comfortable, and I could control my breathing.

I was proud of myself. There were many times in those 90 minutes that I wanted to give up, but I kept centering my thoughts on the intention I had set for myself and it carried me through.

 

How to set an intention

Setting an intention can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. It might even feel a little too “woo woo” for some. But it’s super easy. Remember, the purpose of setting an intention is to increase your presence and awareness.

Here are 3 tips to help you get started setting intentions

  1. Determine what makes you happiest or most fulfilled in life. Set an intention that helps manifest that feeling.
  2. Visualize what your intention will look like in your day-to-day life. Take steps throughout each day to get closer to your intention.
  3. Verbalize your intention. Share it with others or just say it out loud, claiming it as your own.

 

How does setting an intention help me reach my goals?

It’s pretty common knowledge that goals are things we accomplish or strive to accomplish. If we just focus on the end result we close ourselves off from the journey and what we are able to learn about ourselves on the way to achieving our goals. Setting intentions that support your goals allows you to be present in the process.

For example, you may have a goal of running 5 miles in 30 days. Having never been a runner this is a pretty steep goal. Without setting intentions you would be solely pushing yourself physically with little to no attention given to your mental or emotional health. If at the end of 30 days, you can run 4 miles, did you fail? Strictly based on the definition of a goal, yes. Total bummer, right? You were able to go from 0 miles to 4 miles in 30 days, to me, that’s not a failure. But I can see how it could feel like that without setting intentions.

 

What does a goal with intentions look like?

Let’s use the same goal as above; running 5 miles in 30 days.

Goal: running 5 miles in 30 days

Day 1 Intention: I will feel proud of myself for starting (something) I have never done before. 

Day 5 Intention: I will listen to my body and give myself the space to recover so I can keep running.

Day 10 Intention: I will remind myself each day that I run, that I am improving my physical and mental health.

Day 15 Intention: I’m at my halfway point. Despite the distance I have been able to achieve so far, I will take time to reflect on how far I’ve come remembering that only 15 days ago I had never run any distance. 

Day 20 Intention: I am worthy of this effort. It is hard but worth it because I am worthy.

Day 25 Intention: I will feel gratitude for the ability to move my body every day.

Day 30 Intention: Distance aside, I have worked hard towards my goal and I feel accomplished. I am a runner! 

 

Setting these intentions provides the space and awareness to focus on how achieving this goal will make you feel despite the outcome. In the end, a goal is often arbitrary and after completing it we move on as if all the time and effort put forth to achieve that goal was meaningless. Setting intentions within our goals allows us to be present in the journey towards achieving our goals.

 

Where to find help setting goals with intentions.

We’ve given this subject a lot of thought, so much so, that we have created a program, The Achiever’s Challenge, specifically designed to help you achieve your goals, largely focused on your health, habit formation and setting intentions.

Goals can be hard to pinpoint and intentions require you to rely on yourself for motivation and accountability. Our program, The Achiever’s Challenge provides all of that for you! For many people, not knowing where to start is the number one barrier in envisioning a better future. Let us help you define your goals and improve your health and wellness by joining our challenge!