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Goals, Intentions and the Attention You Pay

by Anne Sussman
 ∙ Jan 9 ∙ 3 Min Read

An intention is…

A guiding principle for how you want to be, live, and show up in the world—during meditation, yoga or any area of your life. Ask yourself, what matters most to you?

Intentions must come from your heart, they are not the tangible “lose 10 pounds” or “get that promotion” kind of goals that you set. They are heart-driven and evoke feeling and purpose, like “practice being non-judgmental of myself and of others,” “send love out to the world,” “open my heart,” and “let go of fear…” Setting an intention is a way to bring your heart and mind into alignment.

Intentions vs. Goals

  • Goals are fixed on an outcome in the future. They are measured another time…later.
  • Intentions focus on the present. They provide a guiding light to mindfully living moment to moment. 

Why set intentions?

Setting an intention before your meditation, yoga practice, or even your day can be a powerful practice because it’s the first step to embodying that which you want. Wayne Dyer said, “Our intention creates our reality.” and also “Change your thoughts, change your life!”  And how many times have you heard “What you think, you become,” or “Thoughts become things”?

If you’re focusing your mind on a specific intention during a meditation, you are bringing it to your focused mind, your thoughts, your heart … and in turn helping to bring it into reality.

How to set an intention

Your intention should be closely tied to your personal thoughts, values and perspective on life. Intentions can be a clear and specific wish, or as simple as a word or phrase you’d like to align yourself with, like “open your mind and heart,” “love,” “softness,” “strength,” “compassion for myself and others,” “peace,” or “freedom.” Try to keep the intention positive, so instead of saying “stop being a coward,” or “spend less time alone,” choose the intentions, “be courageous” or simply, “community”.

10 Intentions You Can Borrow:

  • Find balance
  • Open your mind and heart
  • Peace
  • Stay steady, calm and focused
  • Act with courage
  • Embrace change
  • Give and receive love
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable
  • Connect with others
  • Love
  • You can borrow one of these if it resonates with you, but try to create something personal for yourself

Intentions put to practice

Silently stating your intention at the beginning of your meditation or yoga practice won’t be enough. You must revisit it often and when needed. Call it to the center of your mind when you need a guide or feel frazzled. Intentions are a wonderful way to help you stay grounded and reconnect with what matters most.

Attention on intentions

Unlike intentions and goals — the precursor to dreams and plans, attention is a currency. Where we pay it really matters. 

When you meditate you train your attention to where you want to be. Join me in kicking off 2020 by training our attention in a 21-Day Meditation Challenge. Information here.

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