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Goal Setting is Stupid. Set Intentions Instead

The next time you embark on goal-setting, consider the strength of your desire, the depth of your belief and the force of your expectation.

It’s a new year, and if you are like most folks, you’ve lined up those new year’s resolutions like stacks of firewood. New Year’s resolutions are great as it means you are willing to keep moving forward.

Setting goals for a new year do not appear to be a modern phenomenon. According to Wikipedia, the Babylonians and Romans thought it was a good idea to make promises to their gods with each new year’s cycle.

The promises to change and grow abound including:

  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Get out of debt
  • Quit bad habits, like smoking
  • Be a better wife, husband, friend
  • Get out of that stressful job
  • Do more in service to the community

…and more.

Those all sound fabulous, right?

Why is it that the vast majority of resolutions never get past the spring?

Experts would have you believe that your goals are not S.M.A.R.T enough that’s why they fail. In fact, you feel like a complete failure with each goal that is not realized because they were not smart.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

If you have followed the typically goal-setting process and keep revisiting the same goals each year, maybe it’s time to try something different.

I’m not saying that goal setting is not a worthwhile activity, I’m saying it takes more than S.M.A.R.T-ness. It takes INTENTION. Intention is multiplied by Desire, Belief, and Expectation.

What does that mean?

You are reading this article because you wanted to, you were drawn to it because something about the topic resonated with you. Therefore, you had the Desire to read what it was all about. You desired that it would result in some positive revelation about goal setting. You desired that it would not be a waste of your time. If there was no desire, you would not have ventured this far.  Intention begins with desire. And desire comes from the heart, from the innermost part of yourself seeking transformation.

DESIRE, therefore, is the driving force that sets you on the journey to achieve your goals. Coaches will say it’s your “Why” – what will matter or what you will gain, what will be different when you accomplish your goal. Desire engages the psyche, the mind, and the heart.

As a health coach, I’ve asked that question to hundreds of clients before setting timelines and checklists – why do you want to this? What do you desire? To have more energy to play with your kids? To be around to walk your daughter down the aisle? To feel as if your life means something other than the titles behind your name?

Now, I want you to pay attention to the chair you are sitting on as you read this article. It seems sturdy. Obviously, it’s able to hold your weight. It’s doing its job just fine. But did you realize right before you sat down you had to make a quick snap decision? In fact, it went by so quickly that you probably were not even aware of it.

I’m talking about your assessment of the fitness of the chair to hold your weight. You BELIEVED without even thinking that the chair will support you without a second thought. Belief is the reason you quickly went through the thought, feelings and action of sitting before you read this article.

When explorers set out to climb Mount Everest, they don’t pack shovels or a screwdriver, they carry a rope, axe and harness because they believe those tools will assist them with traversing the mountain.

Belief is another pillar of intention. It solidifies the ground beneath each action you take. If you do not have belief in what you desire, in the tools you need to use or the steps you need to take to manifest what you desire, it is mere fantasy, just a prelude to a fairy tale ending. And fairy tales are real, are they?

Belief engages your past and present reality, what you know to be true and what you have experienced to be true, consciously or unconsciously. You don’t have to know how everything works to believe. Oftentimes, you just need to believe that the stars will line up at the right time, in the right place, in the right direction to guide you down the right path to realization. It’s the “carpe diem” of your reality.

The final pillar of intention is Expectation. This is a tricky one because it shifts into the realm of the supernatural. It is like waving a magic wand at anything that stands in the way, and abracadabra – it’s gone!

Expectation is a mighty powerful force, so much so that a doctor can give an inert pill and tell a patient that it is a powerful drug, and the patient will react as though the actual drug had been taken. Called the placebo effect. Expectation is like a placebo, you believe that what you desire can and will be manifested. All you need to do is ingest the pill of desire.

If you were facing a life-threatening illness and your only hope was that magic pill, can you imagine how your Desire to be cured, your Belief that the doctors are working in your best interest to ensure you are cured, and your Expectation that the pill will work its magic, will impact your ability to be cured?

It works a lot of time.

This is not to say that everything you desire, believe and expect to happen will happen. There is also what’s in your best interest, other forces at play and the law of karma.

However, the next time you embark on goalsetting, consider the strength of your desire, the depth of your belief and the force of your expectation. Then set that goal with intention and see what happens.

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