Intentions vs Affirmations: What's the Difference?

October 25, 2021

lotus flower with sparkles coming out

While the differences between intentions and affirmations are slight, understanding how to effectively use each one can make a big impact. Having tools such as intentions and affirmations can guide you on your spiritual journey and help keep you focused on what matters most in life.

vision board of future plans


Intentions are the actual behaviors you want to engage in. They are your emotional, mental and physical motivations. When you understand and identify your intentions, you can begin to use them to determine how to be productive, helpful and happy in all areas of life.

When you know what you want in life, it will become clear what actions you need to take to accomplish that goal. To learn more about manifesting your dreams and desires, you can begin to focus on what you want.

For example, if you're looking to change careers or land a new job, use your intentions to help you envision how it will feel and how you'll feel in your new role. Ask yourself what type of lifestyle you'll live and what you'll be doing in your new job.

woman setting intention through meditating

Define your Intention

Intentions can be broken into two groups, intention-making and intention-acting. Both types of intentions are helpful and are related but don't have to be used together in the same practice. For example, before you engage in any kind of yoga, you could set an intention for feeling good, strong, joyful, and grounded. With that intention in mind, you can then act on those feelings by engaging in yoga poses or chanting mantras.

woman doing chair pose by the lake

Benefits of an intention-making practice include its therapeutic benefits. According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, any intention-making practice that's successful in finding its origin and bringing to fruition should bring you peace, stability, tranquility, happiness, and overall well-being.


affirmation board next to alarm clock

Affirmations help remind you to make your intentions a reality. By using affirmations, you start to focus on what you truly desire, and allow your subconscious to work on transforming what you desire into the subconscious mind, making it more conscious.

When you affirm something, you are saying the words and creating a mental picture in your mind. With the intent behind your affirmations, you create a desire, bringing it closer to your consciousness. You are giving the subconscious mind the necessary instructions to create the outcome.

However, simply repeating affirmations do not give it the power or magic to manifest what you want. For that reason, it's important that you do them with sincerity.

Choose your words wisely

Intentions are big and bold statements that can define how you operate and what you attract. Therefore, your intentions should be aligned with what is important to you. Even if they don't resonate with how you initially feel, don't disregard them or stop believing in their power. If setting intentions and stating affirmations out loud makes you uncomfortable at first, try jotting them down in a journal instead. Bonus - when you look back at what you wrote, you may find you truly have experienced the growth you were seeking!

writing affirmations in notebook

Affirmations and intentions are both very powerful tools for growth, therefore, should be carefully considered to ensure you are attracting what you truly want. And while both are usually positive statements about yourself or others, they don't have to be positive. An affirmation can simply be "I am." to affirm to yourself that you have value just being you. An intention can declare an intended outcome for the day such as "I will be patient with my children." To affirm your intentions, use phrases that resonate with your inner values and your moral compass.

When you write an affirmation or an intention, you add to a healthy belief system that you already hold.

affirmations written in a notebook

Benefits of Intentions and Affirmations

Intentions are more personalized and can help guide you on your journey to bring forth your highest goals and desires. You'll want to be deliberate with your intention, make sure you give it ample room and do not add on extraneous goals or affirmations. By doing this, you will help guide your intentions to manifesting your highest goals and desires.

Affirmations come in many forms and help you remember to be the kind of person you wish to be in life. You can actually use affirmations to help you remember your intentions. Affirmations can remind you of your highest aspirations and help strengthen your resolve to fulfill them.

Both intentions and affirmations are great tools for guiding your spiritual journey. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using Intentions and Affirmations

While you do not have to match your intentions with your affirmations every time, it is wise to do so. If one states "I am a spiritual person", and the other states "I will try to be more spiritual", you may be countering your own manifestations.

Another issue can arise when you declare an intention, but then choose not to follow it through. It is a mistake to decide, "I will read the scriptures every day," but then make excuses about why you do not have time. Start small, develop your "intention setting muscles", then build on your commitment.

Sometimes a simple change in wording, such as "I will do my best to..." can help ensure that your intentions and affirmations will always serve you.

Support your intention setting practice with products designed for this purpose. Try Nefertem Intention Skincare now. 

Girl in Namaste

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