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December 10, 2014

Intentions Versus Goals: Which are More Effective?

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Every year it happens—we set goals or resolutions for the new year and every year, inevitably, they are forgotten, diluted or only partially fulfilled.

So why is this?

Are we truly incapable of achieving anything?

Are we unable to muster so much as a fraction of self-discipline or commitment?

And how is setting a goal or resolution any different from setting an intention?

Well, let’s start by addressing the issues with “goal” or “resolution” setting at the end of the year.

More often than not, the resolutions or goals we set when one year is ending and a new year is beginning are coming from a strongly egoic, fearful and judgmental place. Think of it in this way: what are some of the most common resolutions? That’s right— to lose weight, be better, never touch carbs again or kill yourself at the gym to get a six-pack you can show off during the summer. This is the most common goal and resolution on everyone’s list and it is the one most often broken.

But why is this?

Because it is coming from a very fearful place.

The fear of having been “naughty” or eating too much over the holidays drives the resolution and since it is coming from a place of lack rather than love and awareness, the judgmental, fearful and ego driven goal inevitably crumbles apart. We are then left with a gym subscription we never use, a billion work out DVDs that just collect dust and a cluster of diet pills, diet books or self-help books that, let’s face it, we shall never utilize or even gaze upon.

When we allow our judgments and fear to take over, we rob ourselves of any creativity, life, light or positive vibration.

We are left with a collection of useless items and a sense of shame and inadequacy that can hurt and negatively affect the way we move through the rest of the year. So, by allowing our ego (which likes to label and separate and obsess over assigning meaning to everything so as to placate its insatiable appetite) to take over, our fears and judgments create a space of false intent and vacuous goals that will, as most things hollow things do, fall to pieces leaving us unfulfilled and depressed.

It can be difficult to understand or accept the fact that our ego can be so tricky, powerful and negative. But the truth of the matter is that we are not this body, or this mind. We are beings of light, vibration and energy. We are amazingly beautiful and unique beings that are having physical experiences but remain, always, a part of the entire universe.

We are interconnected and inseparable from all that is, was or will ever be and we just happen to be in a physical body at this moment. That body, however, has an easier time coping by assigning meaning to everything. We, therefore, spend most of our time wrapped up inside our minds, where our lovely egos reside.

This mind of ours, where the ego resides is a wonderful thing but it can often impede our remembrance of who we truly are. See, the ego likes to separate, label and assign meaning to everything. The ego wants to believe that we are separate, alone and unique, so it spends time putting us into little categories and highlighting difference with everyone else. The ego wants to constantly feel special or set itself apart, so it focuses on perceiving or creating realities in which we are better than, not as good as or completely separate from everyone and everything else around us.

Those voices in your head that tell you your life would be so much better if you only looked more like Molly Sims or lost some weight or had a full head of hair—that is your ego. The same thing goes for those voices that tell you that you are so much better than so and so because at least you have self control, at least you are prettier, taller, thinner, less this or more that than so and so (I am talking about harsh judgment that is actually rooted in things that are very much alive with in your own self that you chose to vilify on someone else for whatever reason) is also your ego.

And yes, you guessed it, since these are the voices that most often drive us to set resolutions at the end of the year, these resolutions are more often than not, wholly ego based. Since the ego-driven voices that insist upon separating us from the rest of life are driving these goals and resolutions, these particular goals and resolutions are laced with fear, judgment and a sense of separateness that will wind up causing more harm than good.

So, now that we have spoken of how our egos can turn our resolutions into empty shells, lets talk about why intentions are completely different and the difference they can make in our lives.

You see, when we talk about setting an intention, we are not speaking about setting an ego-driven goal or resolution. We are, rather, speaking of allowing yourself to delve deep into your heart, connect to your true self and let grace guide you along the way.

Setting an intention is meant as a means to get deep into the self and hopefully find a way to grow, learn and experience the world around us and within us in a different manner. Therefore, setting an intention is a way to connect to our deepest self. Not a way to feed our ego with fear-driven lies.

Setting intentions is a way to check in and examine what is happening internally. Setting an intention also gives you a chance to feel more deeply and dream bigger.

Intention setting is planting the seeds of creativity in order to let your dreams blossom in miraculous and healing ways.

So when you truly spend some time getting to know your true self and opening up to love, your whole world can change. You become able to surrender, forgive, love more freely and manifest powerfully by setting intentions that are filled with light, love, vibration and energy rather than letting yourself get pushed by egoic goals and resolutions.

Consider how much wonderment and joy would fill your days and years if you were guided by love and light rather than fear and ego. Things would be quite different, don’t you think?

So, take some time each morning to connect to yourself. Breathe, meditate and set pure intentions for how you want the rest of your day, month or year to be.

And remember, let love be your guide.

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Author: Sapha Arias

Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Carolyn Kernan / Pixoto

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Sapha Arias