Every goal we hold is in the hope that we will feel a certain way when we arrive there. And for many of us we aspire to reach a place of joy, love, freedom, and ease.

And what better time of year to reflect and move forward with intention setting.

Goals vs Intentions: If we think of our goals as our ‘what,’ then our intentions are our ‘why.’

Take a moment to reflect upon the goal that excites you most right now. What is the feeling that you hope this goal will inevitably bring you? This is the thing you really crave. This is your intention; your ‘why.’ Working with intention not only invites that feeling into the present moment but our goal in, too.

By bringing awareness to our intentions we can craft them more lovingly…

We’re big on setting intentions at Living Flow and here are our favourite intention-setting perks to inspire and excite your every-day life.

1. Clear intentions make us more likely to achieve our goals

Intention-setting is a way of bringing the emotions we want to feel into our present reality. Rather than something far-off in the future, our goals become deeply felt within our bodies. They become something familiar and fathomable; a truth that our subconscious mind starts to treat as fact rather than fiction.

Say you have a goal to hold a shoulder stand comfortably for one minute – create an intention of feeling calm, balanced and strong. By holding this intention from the beginning of your practice, your capacity to embody this becomes an experience of now. You realise that you can actually feel this way throughout your practice and become far more confident and comfortable in attempting the challenging shape.

2. Loving intentions melt away doubt and self-doubt

Reviewing our intentions helps us to ensure that they are of a loving nature. We require far less convincing of our intention because we’ve chosen intentions which are heartfelt and true.

When we set goals in the hope that they will ‘fix’ us or allow us to feel ‘enough,’ we will likely struggle to reach them. We sense that they are built on mistruth. Our body always knows when our goals and intentions are fear-based, so we will either struggle to achieve them or feel unfulfilled when we do.

We sabotage our goals when we don’t really want them, and a good reason why we may not want to achieve a goal is because it will confirm a negative belief about ourselves. Being clear on our intentions ensures that both our heart and mind are in agreement with what we are calling into our life, and that they won’t fight against each other in the process. When we form our goals from love and truth, we needn’t call on self-control or willpower, because it will be our natural inclination to pursue them whole-heartedly.

3. A focus on intention keeps us grounded in the present moment

Because intentions bring our desires into the present moment, they invite us to be more mindful. We can fulfil our intentions constantly, in every moment if we so wish! They encourage us to feel a continual sense of gratitude and accomplishment, rather than focusing solely on our end goal, which may inspire us, but can also lead us to ruminate on what we don’t yet have.

For example, if your goal is to write a book or lengthy thesis, perhaps your intention is to inspire people and affect change with your words. This is a beautiful intention and something you can do every day, without the pressure of refinement or reaching a word count. And as we bring this feeling into our daily experience, we stoke our creative fire and passion for working towards our goal.

Similarly, if your goal is to meditate every day for a year, you true intention might be to simply experience greater peace in your daily life. You can choose to realise this intent in myriad moments throughout your day, perhaps when you’re stuck in traffic, or just dropped your phone in the toilet! Taking five deep breaths in moments of tension will surely deliver you to the same internal experience as a constant meditation practice.

4. Positive intentions lead to a positive attitude

Our positive intentions lead us to enjoy a more positive attitude by showing us that everything we truly desire, we actually already have. Our subconscious minds will always believe what we tell them, so if we infuse our intentions with positive, encouraging emotions, chances are we will begin to experience them!

We can do this every day, both on and off our mat, to help us move more graciously through life’s inevitable challenges. Maybe you have a huge workload and are finding your workday to be increasingly overwhelming. Rather than focusing on a goal of completion, focus on working mindfully and patiently, and allow this to transform how you feel about the task at hand. This way, you will feel a sense of progress and accomplishment regardless of how much you get done, and the shift in attitude will likely inspire motivation and unlock creative solutions.

Whether we investigate and articulate it or not, everything we do starts with an intention.

By bringing awareness to our intentions we can craft them more lovingly, ensure that they are in line with our deepest, truest desires, and use them to reach our goals much quicker and with greater joy and effervescence.

If you are ready to set your intentions but would like that extra motivation or guidance, our Commit to You program may be just what you need. It’s open to all of our Living Flow Community. Members can upgrade for just $149 and casual students can sign up for $259. We start with a Vision Boarding Workshop – sure to get the creative juices flowing and intentions rising to the surface. Otherwise, we encourage you to take some time to journal, hand-write your hearts desires and create clear intentions for the year ahead.


Lovingly written for Living Flow Yoga by Erin Dooley, yoga teacher, traveller and copywriter.