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Intentions vs Goals

Updated: May 2, 2023

Greetings beloved being of love and light. Many people go through life constantly creating goals, and then making efforts to achieve those goals. The issue is that if you don’t achieve your goals, you experience frustration and perhaps shame. And if you do achieve your goals, you may experience some very short-term relief or pride, until your ego creates a new goal for you to achieve. Setting and achieving goals does nothing to help you find true, permanent, unconditional happiness. It can only add fuel to your ego, which wants to show off to the world all the things it has managed to do. Pride is nothing compared to true happiness.



A common response that I get from people when I say this is, “You have to have some goals though”. And I tell them that no you don’t. In fact, I encourage you to drop all goals completely. Creating a goal requires you to be thinking about the future. You think that your happiness is going to come from achieving this goal in the future. Instead of enjoying the now moment, you are putting efforts into enjoying a future moment. But even if that future moment does come exactly as you wanted it to be, it will go just as quickly as it came, and you are left with the feeling of ‘Now what?’. When you are fully living in the present moment, you are not concerned about the future at all. You know that the next moment may come or it may not come, so what is the point in wasting efforts by making goals? Instead, you just do what brings you joy now, with no regards to where it may lead.


“But surely it is good to make some plans, right?”, I often hear people say. When living in the present, you do not make plans per se, but you set intentions. Intentions are quite different from goals. Intentions are about how you want to use your energy in the now, but you are keen to see how things unfold as a result of your intention. Therefore intentions are not a way of controlling life, but just determining how you will start off using your energy now, and then eagerly seeing how life responds to this intention. You are then flexible to adapt to life’s response, and you learn from the whole experience. In this way, when you set intentions rather than goals, you view life as a fun experiment. You experience no frustration as you have no fixed idea of what the result of your intention will be. And you experience no shame as there’s no concept of failure in an experiment. As long as you learn something, how can it be seen as a failure? Behind each intention is the trust that life is going to unfold exactly as it’s supposed to, and it will all be for your highest good. An intention is you suggesting something to life, and then seeing life’s response.


In contrast, goals are how you want to use your energy in the future, and you have a fixed idea of what you want the future outcome to be. To create a goal, you must want to control life, and you must lack trust that life unfolds exactly as it’s supposed to and that everything that happens is for your highest good. Goals are very rigid in that sense, while intentions are flexible. Goals are not suggestions but demands made on life. Only an ego creates goals as only the ego has a separate will from life. When you surrender, you do not set goals, as you have come to know that there is no ‘you’ that is separate from the divine flow of life. Instead, you allow the Divine to experiment through your mind and body.


Yes, you may have an idea of possible things you could do today, but when you are fully present, as you go about your day, you just do the things that you feel like doing in the moment. These may be things that were originally on your list of possible things to do, or they may be spontaneous things. So you can still have a plan, but use that plan as an intention rather than a goal, and be open to any changes life wants to make to your plan as your day progresses. Allow life to surprise you rather than expecting your day to go exactly as you planned it. How boring life would be if everything happened according to our plans.

When you are fully aware and present, there is an intention put on everything you do, but when you are unaware, you are on autopilot and you will be doing things unintentionally. Again, setting an intention is not trying to control life, because in order to be fully present and aware, this idea of a ‘you’ must be dropped, and you are instead allowing the Divine to do what it wants to do through you. In this way, ‘you’ must surrender ‘yourself’ to the Divine in order for you to be aware and present. The ego cannot be aware as the ego’s existence depends on unawareness. The Divine is awareness itself, and so when you are fully aware, you are the Divine, and when you are unaware, you are your ego.


The Divine always puts an intention on everything because nothing it does is an accident. You may initially think that goals are far more powerful than intentions, but in reality, you’ll find that because intentions are always aligned with the will of the Divine, they are always extremely powerful. Sometimes you’ll achieve goals (when they are aligned with the Divine’s will) and sometimes you won’t (when they are in contradiction with the Divine’s will), but intentions are always fulfilled because they come from the Divine itself. An ego cannot create intentions as it is always trying to control life in order to prove that it is a real thing. So if you set goals, your ego is still in charge of your energy, but if you set intentions, it is a sign that the Divine is the one in control of how your energy is being used.

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