Should You Set Goals or Intentions?

There is so much information online about how to set goals, and SMART goalsetting, it can become overwhelming. You can also star to think you already know it all.

But my question is, are you USING all this knowledge you have about how to achieve your goals?

Are you stumbling at the very start, at the day to day level... and finding yourself frozen to the spot"?.

I know that sometimes even I tend to suffer from "Paralysis by Analysis"... just because I THINK it all through too much, instead of just taking some small daily steps to make a start on something that feels huge, or a long-term commitment.

And here is why; You may not think there is much difference between a goal and an intention, but there is! You should actually set goals AND also set daily intentions.

Let's talk about some of the differences and why you should use them BOTH in your daily habits and your goalsetting mindset.


Goals are things you want to accomplish by a due date. Most people set short term goals, mid-range goals and long term goals.

Short term goals can be weekly or monthly and some are even set as three to five month goals.

Mid-range goals are those you set from six months or a year up to about three years.

Long term goals are generally those over five years.

Once you have your goals established, you would then create a plan to reach them.

You can break them down into monthly tasks, weekly tasks and daily tasks.

Also, reading them often will help you stay focused on reaching them and keep you motivated to keep working on them.


Intentions are more in the here and now. You can set daily intentions every morning when you get up to help set up the day ahead.

Unlike goals, intentions are more of how you want the day to go, how you want to feel about it.

An intention would be, "Today I will have a great day. I will work steady and be very productive."

It sounds a lot like an affirmation in the fact that it also prepares your mind for the day ahead and the work ahead.

It is, in effect, getting your mindset ready for productivity or being in a good mood or even helping you establish a success mindset.

Setting intentions can also help you work on and overcome a negative mindset.

If you're always thinking negative or being negative, setting a daily intention to be more positive can help you get your mind ready for a more positive day.

It can also help you become more aware when you are being negative.

If you set your intention in the morning, it can possibly give you a little nudge later on when you start to feel aggravated at something.

Intentions can help you achieve your goals by focusing on daily results.

If you don't take the time each day to set your intentions for the day, you could be playing with chance.

In a sense, daily intentions help you guide the outcome of your own day.

This is not a perfect or exact science, but many people claim to have better days if they set intentions.

On the days they skip setting intentions, many things tend to go haywire or out of their control.

If you want more control over your life and your circumstances, start setting daily intentions and see if you don't get better results.

So you see, you need to do BOTH to get the best results in what you want to achieve in life.

Now let's have a quick look at what some of these things you want to achieve are. Just what does it mean to you to "Succeed" in your life?

Do you have clear pictures of specific "Thing" goals, or do you work toward the "Essence" of how these Things will make you feel?

Check out this next section and see if it helps you to define your ideas a bit more clearly.

How To Develop Your Own Definition of Success

Do you have your own definition of success? Most people are trying to live up to society's definition of success without considering if this is the best option for them.

Ask others what success means and you're likely to hear a variation of these answers:

* Fancy car or two - Mercedes, BMW, Lexus
* Nice house - Big, with a swimming pool, in a gated community
* Respectable corporate job - something worthy of bragging about
* Attractive spouse

Those things are fine if they're of your own choosing.

But, if you take the time to think about it, your definition of success might be: Single, traveling the world, running my own business from a laptop, having adventures each day, and wearing flipflops at least eight hours each day.

A person with this definition of success would be miserable in the first scenario.

You might find yourself accomplishing something that doesn't appeal to you in the end.

Avoid disappointment by creating your own definition of success!

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What legacy do I want to leave for my children and the world?

At the end of your life, what do you want to look back upon? Is it wealth and a vast business empire? Do you want to leave a string of good works? Do you want to look back on a life full of adventures?

* How will you have wanted to spend your time?
* What financial resources do you want to leave behind?
* What do you want to be known for?

2. What are my values?

A lifetime spent living your values will be fulfilling.

Most people have a vague notion of what's important to them, but few take the time to think about it carefully.

Pull out a piece of paper and make a list of your values.

3. What do I want to do?

Make a list of all the things you want to see and do. Everything from skydiving to walking on the Great Wall of China. Write it down.

4. What type of life do I want to experience?

You might desire a conventional marriage and six children with a white picket fence in the suburbs.

Or you might like to live in a Manhattan condo by yourself and take full-advantage of the nightlife for the first 20 years of adulthood.

5. What it will take for me to feel successful?

Imagine various scenarios and determine what would make you feel successful.

Is it living in a cabin in the woods with few responsibilities? Or living in a 15,000-square foot penthouse?

Imagine various careers and lifestyles. Which one feels like success to you?

6. What if no one else would ever know?

The idea of owning a Ferrari might feel like success, but what if no one else would ever know you owned it?

Would you still feel successful? An ideal version of success wouldn't involve the opinions of others.

Search for a version of success that's meaningful to you, even if others are unaware of your possessions and accomplishments.

There is no universal definition of success. It's important not to fall into the trap of trying to impress your friends and family.

Develop a version of success that is meaningful for you, regardless of society's values.

You might find that your version of success is much more enjoyable and easier to attain.

How do you define success? Your own definition will require you to like what you do and how you do it. Will you like the person you've become?

Cheers, Helene Malmsio

Related Reading: How to set goals

What’s your biggest issue?

How do you handle it – or can you think of any additional tips you can share with others if you don’t have an issue with this in your life?

Share them with us in our Comments (link is below)– or share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook or wherever you feel it could help someone you know.

Comments for Should You Set Goals or Intentions?

Click here to add your own comments

Use Journals to Inspire Your Planning
by: Helene

If you love the message of evolution and evolving into a better YOU, you may like my complete Butterflies Theme Set:
* Butterfly 2018 Diary 130 page 6x9" Organizer
* Butterfly Bullet Journal - 150 page BuJo 8.5"x 11"
* Butterfly Journal 6x9" notebook 40 pages illustrated in gorgeous full colour
* Butterfly Notebook 6x9" lined cream colour pages with B&W lovely clip art scattered in the 70 pages.
* Butterfly 90 Day Planner and Tracker with inspiring prompts and illustrations in B&W throughout

the 150 pages.
* Butterfly Address Book with monthly Birthday planner sections and Password/Security list, all 70 pages Illustrated in glorious full colour - Gorgeous!
* Butterfly Undated 13 month Planner 8.5"x 11" Spencerian Design 160page B&W Illustrated Diary Week to Two Page Planner
* Butterfly 2018 Calendar Monthly planner Illustrated in full colour 13 month 70 page paperback with month to two pages plus 2 pages of Illustration and planner page

And get yourself a beautiful and inspiring Diary or Planner. Yes, like one of the ones I have designed for you. They work. They make you happy. Use them.

**CLICK HERE** or Click on the banner images above to see the full range, as I keep adding new designs every few days... and if you have the time, please do tell me what you would like to see included, so that I can meet your requirements!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Self Help.

"Power Tips" magazine is back!
You Get A Free Complete Self Help Report delivered to your email box every edition, plus you get a free PLR article and other great gifts!

SUBSCRIBE BELOW ...  I promise you will want to USE what you learn!

I really want to know what you think of this site, this page, and to hear your tips or suggestions about it.

So please share your story or simply add a Comment in the comment box.

If you feel that the information on this page has been useful to you please give it a Like or share it with your friends - thanks!!

You are a life Saver!!

I recently discovered this site and I can tell you that my life has not been the same. I now come here EVERYDAY and spend at least 1 hour.

I used to spend that time browsing online fashion and beauty magazine which just means that I spend more. Now I have replaced that habit with coming here.

In future I will think about contributing articles as well. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! and God bless"

Contact Us | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | FAQ | Testimonials

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.