Setting goals without setting intentions is a waste of time. While setting goals is fixated on the future, setting intentions keeps you grounded and present in the moment.
In order to achieve optimal success and stay in alignment with your values, your goals should be accompanied by daily intentions. Setting a goal is black and white -- you either achieve it, or you don’t. Intentions, however, come from a growth mindset, and they set the standard for how you live and act, regardless of whether or not you achieve a set goal. The big difference here is that intentions are rooted in values, not external outcomes, and they keep your attention in the present, not the future. While accomplishing goals everyday may not be feasible, intentions are flexible and ever-changing, leaving you plenty of freedom to re-evaluate.
Setting intentions can be like preparing for a big meeting. You don’t know if the meeting will go as planned, but you get your ducks in a row anyway. In this scenario, you could set an intention that regardless of how the meeting goes, you will be receptive, flexible and will easily be able to resolve anything that comes up. If you keep this mentality throughout the day, you can feel confident that you held true to who you are, regardless of the meeting’s outcome. Setting intentions allows you to actively participate in living out your values in each and every moment.
As Murphy’s law states, anything that can go wrong, will. Some days, that means spilling your coffee and running late to the office, and other days it might look like bombing a presentation. As this well-known law says, issues and unpleasant circumstances will arise. But what you don’t want is a domino effect where one negative situation turns into a whole day that follows just like it. When you set intentions, you are more equipped to hold yourself accountable, and stay on track no matter what comes your way.
Intentions are powerful and setting them allows you to stay aligned with who you are and how you want to live. These same intentions also serve as reminders of the bigger picture and your personal values.
Start the day right by setting a tone. The secret sauce for having your best day possible is all in how you begin. Set an intention each morning that the day ahead will be a success. For example: I intend to have a clear, level-headed approach to all things I encounter today, and I will not allow any unexpected twists to destroy my positive outlook. Spend a couple of minutes mentally running through your day, and acing it out like a boss. It’s mind over matter here, and as the saying goes: if you visualize, it will materialize. Choosing good thoughts is just one thing to add to your morning routine, but there are many others that can get your blood flowing and lift your spirits.
Respond, rather than react. Bring intention to your reactions and practice response-ability. This idea comes from a quote popularized by the influential author Stephen R. Covey that says, “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” If you set an intention for how you would like to handle difficult situations, you can purposefully respond instead of react. Emotions are at the center of your reactions, but if you play an active role in the moment, you can avoid reacting out of anger or disappointment. Even though it can be frustrating when a colleague cancels on your meeting last-minute, it isn’t worth your peace of mind. Take control of your attitude by setting intentions and don’t relinquish a positive mentality for something that can easily be let go of.
Physical movement is a game changer. I’m constantly promoting exercise for its countless benefits such as it’s ability to reduce stress, improve circulation, and even deliver a self esteem boost. Whether it’s a morning jog, afternoon hike or an evening workout at the gym, being physically fit leads to becoming mentally fit. There’s nothing more intentional than taking care of the mind-body connection and putting your mental health at the top of your priority list. The correlation between fitness and highly successful people is no coincidence either.
Tone setting makes all the difference, practicing response-ability can help you feel good about your decisions, and physical fitness is the pick-me-up you benefit from every single time. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose how to respond to it. Keep your cool and set yourself up for success by setting intentions for your day, your relationships and your life.
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