Intentions or goals?

So many books tell us we must set clear goals to be successful.  “Set those goals, make check-lists, don’t stop until you achieve the goal.”  Has this worked for you?  For me, not so much.

Oh I have tried the goal thing, tried it a lot, but for me, life seems to get in the way.  I was never all that comfortable saying things like “when I get to be 29 I will be married with three kids and all the comfort I can handle.” Or, “by the time I reach 55 I will have put away enough money to retire to Maui and live a life of leisure.”  Along the way to age 29 I found my plans kept getting delayed, changing because this happened or that did not happen.  Retire by age 55 with a life of leisure on Maui?  Sorry, that ship has sailed while I did other things!

I have begun looking at things in a different context, one I find much more life affirming: I now embrace intentions.

For me, the word intention encourages me to complete certain tasks, achieve whatever goal I can achieve, but leaves open exactly how something is to take place, and if that achievement takes a different path than my goal might have taken, I am in a more flexible place to move forward without thinking I have failed somehow.  My intention has allowed me to work toward something with an open mind, open to possibility rather than locking the how down and saying I have to do this now, this then, and that at this place or time.  For me I find being aware that there is a whole universe of possibility out there is more supportive than a goal.

There is no one way to live this life.  For some people having that timeline keeps them sane and happy, for people like me, a timeline is just an invitation to feel I have failed somewhere along the line.  Embrace your most effective strategy.

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