What’s Your Intention? The Power of Intention Setting to Fire Up Progress

You know a word that I’ve never resonated with? Manifesting. I hear people talk about how they manifest their goals, manifest their dreams, or they are simply “manifesting” and it’s made me feel icky. It made me feel like people were leaving their hopes, dreams, goals up to the mystical universe.

And then I read somewhere that you can think of manifesting as another term for setting intentions. Now… THIS I can get behind.

intention setting

I’m a huge believer in setting intentions. I know from both personal and professional experience that if you don’t set intentions, you rarely achieve them. Think about it – if you don’t know where you’re going, how you want to feel, what you want to experience, it is less likely to happen. It’s less likely to happen because you haven’t cultivated the circumstances to allow it to happen.

You’ll hear top entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies talk about the importance of SMART goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely) as a means to achieve what you want, but Danielle LaPorte, author of many top books including the Desire Map, talks about the importance of goals with soul. LaPorte discusses that it’s critical to have a visceral understanding about how you want to feel when you achieve the goal, making it more likely you’ll achieve it.

I talk about this regularly with my clients – how do you want to feel? How will achieving x, y, or z make you feel? What’s important about that?

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So many of us set goals that are pretty lofty, without thinking of the feeling that we wish to achieve. For example, I have long had this dream of running a half marathon. I love the idea of the personal victory of committing to something then crossing the finish line and getting there. But you know what? If I really sat down and thought about it, I’m not sure I care enough about that feeling to go through the feeling of regular fatigue through training. I like to run, yes, but I don’t enjoy running long distances in training. The day of a big run there is adrenaline, cheering crowds and so much energy, but the training aspect is often solitary and less enjoyable for me.

Surprise, surprise, this is a goal that I haven’t achieved, nor am I likely to unless the importance of that feeling shifts for me.

Let’s take this blog and podcast for example – I consider this a major achievement. Until recently I did not get paid for the podcast, and the blog is unpaid, and I’ve been doing it for over five years. WHY?

Because I love the feeling of being able to take a thought or a concept, distill it down and share it with others. Notice that the feeling I’m looking to achieve is internal. It’s not about how many people read the blog, listen to the podcast, rate and review it, etc. Those are all great things, but if I hung my hat on numbers of readers, downloads or ratings, I’d have given up LONG ago.

It’s a feeling of personal expression. That’s my goal with soul.

Now, back to the specifics of intention setting. When I coach a client, we set two or three goals at the beginning of our 12-week program, and we make sure to touch base on those goals throughout. We’ll always talk through why that goal is important and what you want to feel, which ends up being distilled into the BIG MOFA – MOtivating FActor.

Throughout, we set weekly goals and intentions, and I try and always ask how would you feel if you achieved that weekly goal. It’s the intention and the feeling that’s critical.

If you want to take it a step further, there is daily intention setting. My new go-to method for this is through Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner. I got mine in the mail last week, and while I’ve only been doing it for a week I can already see how it’s changing my daily game. While my day used to be defined by my calendar, he’s combined the calendar with critical questions to answer in the morning and at night, so that you can set a daily intention, then review it at day’s end with reflection and gratitude. It’s becoming a fascinating way to frame my day. If that’s cost prohibitive for you, why not start your own daily planner journal, and begin with the simple questions  of:

  • what’s the most important thing for me to work on today?
  • I would know that today was a success if…
  • Today I am grateful for…
  • Something I can improve on for today is…

Now, Brendon has many more questions that are thought and action provoking, which is why I’m loving this planner, but he outlines the science of this format for habit achievement. It’s been tested on folks from stay at home moms to CEOs, and it shows that it doesn’t matter what you do, setting goals with intention is a critical habit to living a more engaged, fulfilled life.

So whether you call it manifesting, intention setting or making a vision board, the critical next step is action. No action, no achievement, no change. Your dreams don’t just show up on your door step. You have to put in the hard work, the grit, and flex the emotional muscles to make them happen.

And if you have a bad day… get up again. We all fail. There is no success without failure. So try, and try again.

If you’re interested in joining the Stress Less 2019 resolution, make sure that you subscribe to the newsletter so that you don’t miss a beat! The feeling I’m hoping for at the end of 2019 is to feel more calm, relaxed, and energized. Throughout 2019 in my newsletter we will tackle all of the ways to make this a habit in your life, how to get rid of any toxicity and make time for what’s most important to you.

Until next week.

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