What is the difference between Goals and Intentions?

Published by Samantha on

Last Updated on: 16th November 2023, 12:52 pm

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash.

Goals and intentions may seem similar at first glance, but they are quite different and have distinct purposes. Let’s checkout the key differences, their benefits, and how we can set them.

Goals are specific, measurable, and time-bound objectives that you set to achieve a desired outcome.

Intentions, on the other hand, are more about the journey than the destination.

Understanding Goals.

Success is often a result of setting goals. Goals need specific, measurable, and time-bound objectives set to achieve a desired outcome. They provide a clear target to focus on and often involve tangible results. Goals are typically associated with actions, such as running a marathon, and help map the path to success. Setting goals allows you to create a plan to achieve your desired outcomes and helps you to understand the steps required to accomplish them.

Benefits of Setting Goals.

Clarity and Focus.

Goals provide clarity by outlining precisely what you want to achieve. This helps you stay focused on your priorities and avoid getting too distracted.


Goals can be great motivators. They give you a reason to push through challenges, overcome obstacles, and persevere through hard times.

Measurement and Progress Tracking.

Goals can be measured, making it easier to track your progress and adjust your efforts accordingly, keeping you on track.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash.

Understanding Intentions.

Intentions, however, are more about the journey than the destination. They guide your actions and mindset. Intentions are rooted in the present moment and focus on how you want to be, rather than what you want to achieve.

Benefits of Setting Intentions.

Mindfulness and Presence.

Intentions encourage mindfulness and being present in your daily life. They remind you to be fully engaged in each moment.

Flexibility and Adaptability.

Intentions are flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. They allow you to respond to unexpected challenges with grace and resilience.

Alignment of Values.

Intentions help you align your actions with your values and principles. They promote authenticity and a sense of purpose.

Setting Goals and Intentions.

Let’s look at how you may set your goals and intentions:

Define your Goals.

When setting goals, be specific about what you want to achieve. One of the frameworks you can try is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). This will help you to create clear and actionable goals.

Break Down Goals.

Sometimes goals can seem overwhelming, try dividing larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. This makes your goals less daunting and allows you to celebrate incremental achievements.

Set Positive Intentions.

To set intentions, reflect on how you want to show up in various aspects of your life. Use positive language, such as “I intend to approach challenges with resilience” or “I intend to cultivate kindness in my interactions.”

Practice Mindfulness.

You can incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine to reinforce your intentions. Meditation, journaling, or taking a few moments to breathe deeply can help you stay connected to your intentions.

Combine Goals and Intentions.

To maximise your success, use goals and intentions together. Set goals that align with your intentions, ensuring your actions support your values and desired way of being.

Goals provide direction and help you measure progress, while intentions guide your daily actions and foster mindfulness. So, you should set your goals with intention and watch as your journey towards success become not just about reaching the destination but about enjoying the entire ride.

Goals & Intentions Infograph.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments