LET’S MAKE A PLAN!
Goals vs Tasks vs Intentions
I find that often we focus so intently on our goals, it sometimes keeps us from enjoying the process of reaching for them. It can even keep us from changing course when it might serve us better to do so. Here’s a way to think about goal setting that also leaves room for flexibility.
GOAL: The object of a person’s ambition or effort. The focus is on the end result and exact execution and completion. It’s black and white: either attainable or unattainable.
Goals are valuable in our lives for giving us the motivation to complete tasks and follow through with intentions and plans. But on the flip side, goals can often restrict us from pursuing fulfilling
life and work experiences if we focus solely on what we originally envisioned rather than seeing opportunities that may arise and set us on an even more fulfilling course. Sometimes a goal can convince us that what we have right now is not enough and that the ever-elusive
future, rather than the here and now, holds the key to our happiness and peace. Goals give us the chance to win, but setting a goal also means there is the risk of failing. And failing and moving on is easier for some than others.
TASK: Something one must do in order to reach a goal. Tasks are steps or a means to an end, and they are attainable through execution. Tasks backed with purpose are fulfilling! But when a task becomes a task for task’s sake alone, not all personality types respond well.
Here’s where intentions come in.
INTENTION: A desired course of action that offers flexibility to adapt and change. A plan that focuses on the beginning thought and the process in which it unfurls, based on underlying values.
There is no win or lose in intention setting; simply deciding on an ideal and pursuing where that may take you is the name of the game.
To live out your intentions means focusing on how you want to be or what you want to do in the moment, with freedom for that to change minute by minute or years into the future to maintain overall wellness. Intentions speak to your values. And failure isn’t an option when you live by your values. You are simply being true to you.
For example . . .
GOAL: Become a famous musician by age thirty.
ACHIEVEMENT: You did it!
FAILURE: You didn’t make it by age thirty. Is that truly a failure if you tried your best to cultivate your talents and improve your skills, and you enjoyed the process? Here is where focusing on intention can help shift your perception of your experience.
INTENTION: Become a famous musician by age thirty.
PROCESS: You teach yourself an instrument. You make friends who also make music. You find joy in making music with others. You start writing your own music. You realize you enjoy writing
music more than performing. You realize instead of fame, you seek proficiency in an art form and recognize a need to be heard. You discover that acknowledgment and validation from your
community bring you joy. You find new ways to implement the lessons you have learned through music to improve the other areas of your life.
VALUES DEVELOPED AND RESULTS GAINED: You didn’t become a famous musician by age thirty, but . . . you have physical, emotional, and intellectual evidence of your efforts in pursuing an intention. You discovered new things about who you are, what
drives you, and what brings you joy. You have a new way to release thoughts and feelings. You have new practical skills that you can apply to so many situations. And the intention of achieving a lot by age thirty still happened, just in a different result than you intended. It fulfilled you on a deeper level than being famous by thirty would have. You’ve lost nothing, only gained.
Copyright © 2020 by Moorea Seal. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.