What is the difference between intentions and goals?

To help you define the difference between intentions and goals I have two questions to get you thinking about the nuances of each:-

How do you feel when you’ve failed to achieve a goal? Cross with yourself perhaps? Frustrated with the things that got in the way and distracted you? Setting a goal can sometimes do that, set you up to seemingly fail.
How do you feel when you live with intention? Happy? Fulfilled? At ease with yourself and the way your life is going?

There are differences to goals and intentions, big differences.

A goal is a destination. A decision is made that a certain task needs to be completed by a certain time. If you are efficient at goal setting, your goal will be SMART and by that I mean specific, measurable, achievable and time orientated. A goal is an external achievement, something outside of yourself that you strive towards. You decide if you’ve succeeded or failed in achieving your goal, it is a tangible thing.

An intention is not, it is part of your inner world. The first thought towards something, it is secret and within you. It sets the timbre of the energy that you hold when moving towards something you want.

So you could set a goal of – I don’t know – um – earning £100k in a year. BUT if you do that without the intention of enjoying the process of discovery and expansion, that year could be filled with stress. Without setting the intention to look at every challenge as an opportunity, or to receive help when it is offered, or to celebrate every small win, the goal may not feel good even if it is achieved.

Think about a dog walk, a dog needs a walk, its owner needs to take him everyday for his wellbeing come rain or shine, snow or thunder. The goal is a daily dog walk. If the owner sets the intention that the dog walk is a time of self reflection, a time of exercise, a time of health for himself and his dog then even if the weather is awful the dog walk will be more than an inconvenient walk in the rain that has to be done.

I’m a great one for setting intentions, and for setting goals for that matter. I like to set goals that are achievable and I like to achieve them being the best I can be in any given moment.

Yesterday was my 50th birthday. Yep.. gulp… I am today in the first day of my next half century, except, surely I’m going to live forever.. energy never dies.. I am energy… OH NO… I’m getting distracted.. that is another blog post!

As I was saying, yesterday was my birthday. I had plans, Stuart, my Man had set the goal of having lunch by the sea. My intention was to smile all day, feel fabulous and go home tired, happy with a feeling of living a day of celebration.

To achieve the goal of having lunch by the sea, we had to get ready reasonably early, you know a guy does this in 10 minutes, or at least my Guy does. It takes me a bit longer, and I don’t like to be rushed, I like to be calm and collected and organised. Then once we were on the road we had to drive for 2 hours, we were going to The New Forest with our two dogs, once we’d arrived, Bear and Ruby, our Golden Retriever and our Hungarian Visler needed attention, walking, a dip in the lake and then a rub down, not to mention copious amounts of water and the air conditioning blasting in the car – yesterday was hot for the UK. Then we had to find somewhere to eat, preferably by the sea that accommodates dogs and served fish. All of which we found, and by 3.30pm we were sipping Chablis, eating potted crab and chatting to a couple we had just met in the restaurant. Our lunch turned into one of those life ‘moments’. It was memorable, delicious, fun and interesting.

Our day wasn’t over, we found a beach, I got out my bikini (yikes!) and we swam in the Solent with the dogs, the sea was bracing and I definitely felt it reminding me that I was alive, the sun was warm and the love felt from our dogs and Stuart palpable.

So, our goal was fulfilled and my intention of smiling, feeling fabulous and going home tired and happy and feeling alive had seeped into everything we did. Even when we got stuck in traffic, as often happens on a sunny bank holiday, I was smiling and thinking how wonderful life was.

The next time you set yourself a goal, do it with intention. An intention that offers you the opportunity to be the best you can be in any given moment.


It made me achieve, I was the best I could be at school, on the athletics field, in the dance studio, looking for approval.

He wasn’t there much in my teenage years, he had a drinking problem and a smoking problem and my parents marriage was failing. Part of his business was to network and entertain, which meant late nights, boozy meals and distance from the family. This is when he started to get fat. This is when I first realized he was unhappy. This is when I first really clashed with him.

I realize now that he played a huge part in how I manage my romantic relationships. He was the first man I ever interacted with, to my inner self, this relationship was a failure, in this relationship I had to give too much, ignore my needs to get noticed and I wasn’t allowed to express my true feelings of voice my thoughts. Ultimately, I just wanted him to love me, he did, but not in the way I needed him to. I wanted him to see who I was and encourage me to keep going, not tell me of all the reasons why I might fail. I wanted him to be proud of me for my achievements not just what I looked like.

The relationships we have with our mother and father are absolutely pivotal to how we ‘relation’ in adulthood. Yet most of the time our inbuilt behavior and beliefs were laid down when we were emotionally immature and vulnerable children. Delving deep into the make up and history of the first relationship experiences bring such insight, awareness and growth.

I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg here with what my Dad taught me through the way he behaved, there is much more to unravel I am sure.

What is poignant to me is that two weeks before his death, he had (finally) agreed to come and live with me in my home so that I could look after him. I have an artist’s studio that we were going to convert into a self contained apartment for him, I live in a village so he wouldn’t be isolated and I would be there to help him when he needed it. He was reluctant to agree to this as he said he didn’t want to be a burden. I wonder when he first believed he was a burden in life (at his mother’s knee perhaps?). Anyway, I got him to agree and as soon as he did relinquish control over his life and came to a place of acceptance he died. I felt we had healed our relationship, it is as though unconsciously he was waiting to do that before he left.

Now, three years on I have a great relationship with him. That physical being that he was in life I feel was an expression of all the things he came this time to learn. The soul that he is visits me often, and I know is guiding me now more than he ever did alive.

I am truly grateful for my Dad, for the gift of life that he gave me and for all the things he showed me not to be.

Love you DAD!​

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