Before we get into this article, it’s important to establish the difference between an intention and a goal. A goal is what you seek to accomplish and the intention is the entire process of reaching that goal. Then intention is your “why”. It’s the reason you want to achieve the goal and the thing that keeps you motivated.
When you set a goal, you’re usually trying to overcome an obstacle or solve a problem to reach that goal. However, life doesn’t always go the way we plan and that one problem or obstacle can turn into several. Intentions help you keep moving even if you have to set other goals along the way to that big goal that was outlined at the beginning.
Now that we’ve established the difference between a goal and an intention, let’s take a look at some examples of intentions and how to find and set them so that you reach your business goals.
Setting intentions is not always a walk in the park. Some people are very goal oriented and have a hard time even thinking of intentions. Take time to sit and think about your goals and what your intentions are for fulfilling them. Make sure you write these things down for future motivation.
“Creating something like a vision board can make this more enjoyable for some people,” says Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO and Founder of Bramble Berry. “Having a physical reminder of your intentions and goals can help you maintain that productive mindset and remember why you set the goals in the first place.”
“Have a brainstorming session, either on your own or with your team,” says Rob Bartlett, CEO of WTFast. “Sometimes the group setting can be beneficial because you can hear everyone’s motivating factors and generate some more specific intentions for the group as a whole. This also adds an aspect of accountability to help with motivation later on.”
Examine Past Successes and Failures
Taking a look in the rearview mirror can be more insightful than you might think. They say that hindsight is 20/20 because it’s much easier to recognize your mistakes and shortcomings after the incident has taken place.
“Look back at previous goals and milestones that you’ve reached,” says Jared Hines, Head of Operations for Acre Gold. “Look at what was motivating you at the time and what you wish you would’ve taken into account. Were you pushing yourself so hard at the beginning that you suffered burnout that made it more difficult to reach the goal later? Examining questions like these can help you identify what your intentions should be moving forward.”
“Explore your previous struggles,” says Daniel Osman, Head of Sales for Balance Homes. “Did you self-sabotage by becoming discouraged about not making that client number or sales goal and stop trying as hard the next month? Knowing your own shortcomings and the things that discourage you and cause you to lose focus on your intentions can help you make sure you stick to them this time around.”
Start With Small Intentions
Goals tend to be big ideas, but intentions can be as small as giving yourself time to evaluate progress before you start the day running. Set small intentions that you can accomplish each day to help keep the motivation strong throughout the road to your goal.
“It’s easy to become discouraged when working towards a goal that feels so far away,” says John Berry, CEO and Managing Partner for Berry Law. “Instead of risking low motivation or discouragement, set daily intentional practices that you can do to help yourself feel like you are accomplishing your goal, even if it’s only an inch at a time.”
“Intentions can be something you work into your daily routine to help with motivation or team morale, especially on those big projects or far-away goals,” says Marcus Hutsen, Business Development Manager for Patriot Coolers. “Creating intentional habits that can help with motivation will assist in the overall morale in the long haul.”
Intentions are always set with the best outcome in mind, but sometimes all intentions cannot be realistically accomplished. Sometimes this realization doesn’t happen until partway into your path to the goal that you’ve set, so how do you prioritize the intentions that need to be kept in place from the start?
“Every intention is set for a reason, but sometimes the intentions of a goal can change along the way, and that’s okay,” says Zach Goldstein, CEO of Public Rec. “Changing your intentions or motivators partway isn’t a failure. Sometimes things happen outside of our control and intentions might need to be modified or some may have to be prioritized over others.”
“Not every intention is created equally,” says Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting For You. “Some intentions are outlined in the brainstorming phase but don’t necessarily allow for productivity down the road due to changes that happened. This isn’t something to feel bad about changing. You can prioritize certain intentions over others to reach a goal faster or with more success.”
Have Regular Intention-Setting Meetings
Regularly checking in with the team or even with yourself can help in identifying the potential snags in the goal and intention-setting processes. Hearing everyone’s perspective about how things are going can be eye opening and allow the group to come up with new ideas or renew the reason for the intentions together.
“Regular meetings are important with any project or goal, so it seems like a natural progression to start intention check-in meetings too,” says Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer for Readers.com. “Sometimes just having everyone together to chat about the intentions and priorities relating to the goal can bring about solutions to problems that otherwise might not be found. Multiple heads are better than one.”
“Check with your team to see what they think about the current intentions of the project,” says Rabah Rahil, CMO for Triple Whale. “Allowing everyone to have a chance to give their perspective and insight into their intentions can make everyone more aware and productive.”
Intentions are a great thing to be aware of and set alongside your business goals. Intentions allow you (and your staff) to have a “why” behind the goals to increase motivation, morale, and awareness of potential issues with the planned intentions.
Overall, it sounds like starting with a brainstorming session and maintaining contact with your team or having regular evaluations of your own goals and intentions is a great way to start setting intentions for your business goals.