Intentions Are Not Goals


Intentions are not goals.

An intention is an attitude, an orientation, a connection to desire.

But not to the outcome.

Because the Buddhists were right: the mind wants to want more than it wants to have.

Goals grasp at fixed points. But shit be transient, yo.

Goals come from the mind, intentions from the heart.

The root of the word intention is to stretch toward, to hold and maintain, from the Greek tenos “sinew.” A thin, fine string, from the Sanskrit tantram “loom.”

Intentions are the cord that connects us in the moment to our soul’s purpose.

Intentions wake us from habit. They give our actions purpose. They make our goals more meaningful. And they ground us when we’re upset.

My goals are aligned with how I want to feel:

Free, Inspired, Useful, Embodied, Awake.

My intentions are to behave in ways that support those feelings.

So when conflict occurs, as it inevitably must, I try to check my intentions. Will my response make me feel more free, more inspired, more useful, more embodied, more awake?  Or will it just make me feel more right, more triggered, and add more drama?

“Drama in our lives is the greatest indicator that we’re not connected to our purpose and focused on meaningful goals.” ~Brendan Burchard

It’s hard to not react in the moment of being triggered. But I am not at my wisest self in those moments. I get amnesia about my intentions. Even when something really good happens, it’s helpful to remember my intentions. Because there are a lot of really gorgeous, cool, captivating distractions out there.

What gives temporary relief often does not provide long-term satisfaction. Chasing fame or a thinner frame will not make you more lovable. We attach a feeling state to an outcome. I will be happy when _________________. Future-tripping. And it’s a trap.

Remaining connected to our intentions leaves room for them to manifest in ways we can’t always predict. We adopt an attitude of curiosity in that uncertainty, rather than clinging to a fixed point out of our reach. And so the cord of our intentions both anchors us in the present and orients us toward the future.

That way, when we die, it will all have been worth it.


The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte (affiliate link)

The Heart’s Intention, article in Yoga Journal

The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here.

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