Why Your Goals Aren't Working (and How to Fix It)


Listen to this post here:During Journaling with Heart earlier this year, one of the participants asked an excellent question: what’s the difference between an intention and a goal?There is a difference, and it’s both subtle and huge. When we talk about things we want to achieve in the future, we often talk about them in terms of goals. While proper (I.e. SMART) goal-setting is a useful practice, it comes with a health warning.If we get too fixated on the goal itself, we end up living in the future, chasing something that doesn’t yet exist. We also become obsessed with an outcome and, in the process, miss out on something very important: the here and now. If we’re solely focused on a goal, the irony is that we’re unlikely to actually reach that goal, because we’re missing one crucial ingredient.Too much goal = not enough soul.That’s where intention comes in.Intention is about falling in love with the process. And falling in love with (or, at least, being able to tolerate and learn to love) the process is the part of goal-setting that we often skip.Reaching a particular goal is fantastic, but it’s a temporary state. Soon, we find that the goalposts shift and, now that our original goal has stopped being a goal and become the norm, we’re out chasing the next big dream. In this way, the goal itself is temporary and fleeting.The process, on the other hand, is life.The process is what we are living day in, day out as we move closer to a life that’s aligned with our values, needs, and preferences, as we stretch ourselves to grow, and as we expand our sense of what’s possible.[Tweet "Are you focused on the goal (the outcome), or the intention (the process)?"]In the grand scheme of things, goals don’t matter as much as intentions. Intention dictates the choices we make each and every day that bring us closer to where we want to be. Goals are based on an outcome that is influenced by a wide variety of factors, some of which are out of our control.With a healthy sense of intention, we might or might not meet our goals, but we’ll make sure we have a darn good time trying.What goals do you have at the moment? How does it feel to reframe them as intentions, letting go of the outcome and focusing on the process instead? Leave a comment and let me know!Further reading: How to create a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in your life Also, level up and embrace your resistance.Image: Kamil Lehmann