What’s the Difference Between an Intention and a Goal?

January 18, 2022

person writing down goals and intentions for the day

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.” - Richard Bach, American spiritual writer

Goal setting and intention setting aren’t the same, but they do support each other harmoniously.

Once you set big life goals, and use your intention setting skills to help you live in alignment with achieving those goals, then you position yourself ideally for getting across that goal finish line. 

If you've ever wondered what the differences are between an intention and a goal, continue reading to innerstand (a deeper, internal form of understanding).

The better you innerstand the subtle differences, the easier it will be to incorporate these practices into your life and enhance the way you approach your day!

woman waking up with intention and living an intentional lifestyle

Defining Goal Setting vs Intention Setting

Goal Setting is the act of crafting long-term plans like opening your own business, buying that dream house or running a marathon. Once created, these goals become visions of your future, happy self after manifesting your goals.

Intention Setting is the act of creating a mini purpose each day that aligns with your goals, allowing you to accomplish them over time. Intention setting keeps you focused on the day-to-day tasks and mindset required to reach your goals.

Working in Alignment with Natural Laws

The Universe appreciates structure and focus; therefore, you’ll find that intention setting helps the Universe conspire with us (think…the natural law of attraction).

vision board with goals and intentions in Nefertem soap studio

By setting intentions daily, you command the energy of your personal space and declare outcomes before they even happen. For instance, you might say “This shower will rinse away self-doubt and empower me to do better.” or “I will find an amazing real estate agent this week to help me house hunt.”

Goal setting requires careful planning, being honest with your circumstances and timelines, and the ability to see yourself already accomplishing those goals.

Whereas intention setting requires faith and focus to connect your mind, body and spirit with what you want out of each day.

Now, if what you want out of each day and your goals are not in alignment, it doesn’t matter how many times you “set” it, you’ll never reach your goals. You can’t desire to be a marathon runner and lie like a couch-potato at the same time.

woman running down street after using nefertem skincare and setting intentions

7 Specific Differences Between Intentions and Goals

While their differences are subtle, knowing them can help improve how you use each one as a tool for growth.

  • Intentions are aligned with the Universe and the spiritual world. Goals are aligned with physical action and the material world.
  • Intentions support your lifestyle. Goals support the achievement of a task.
  • Intention works with your spirit and emotions. Goals work with your mind and physical body.
  • Intentions connect you with the collective desire to do better. Goal setting connects you to your individual desire to improve yourself.
  • Intentions are lived in the present moment. Goals are future focused.
  • Intentions are based on your values, morals, and conscious way of living. Goals are based on specific accomplishments you wish to experience in a desired time frame.
  • Intentions are the why behind what you do in a day. Goals are the what you should do in a day.

How to Set Goals and Intentions

Some prefer to keep their goals and intentions private, write them down in secret and hold them quietly in their mind - cause to make them public is to set expectations.

person writing intentions out in private using aromas by nefertem

Some prefer to shout them from the rooftops, tell everyone they know and plaster it on social media - cause the more you state it, the more likely you are to achieve them.

Most of us find a happy balance.

1. Write your goals down in a journal, create a vision board that expresses your intent, or tell a close friend/family member what you wish to achieve.

2. Then, each day as you awaken, give thanks to the creator/God/spirits for allowing you to live another day (gratitude raises your vibrations making your ability to attract positive things more easy).

3. State your declared purpose for the day, remembering your long-terms goals and values. This could be “I will choose healthy food and movement to strengthen my body for this marathon.”

4. Go on about your day while being mindful of this original intention.

How to Enhance your Intention Setting

woman in shower practicing conscious bathing using intention setting

Some people use their personal self-care routine as a tool or baseline for connecting to their daily intentions. For instance, before stepping into the shower, they might state their intention aloud.

Then, using the natural purifying power of water, they visualize rinsing away what no longer serves them. When they step out, they use an intentional moisturizer to lovingly massage moisture (and their intention) into their skin.

Finally, a spritz of aroma spray to remind them (via scent) throughout the day to live with purpose and be intentional with their words and actions.

Intention Powers Your Goals

By now, you should have a clear understanding of the differences between goal setting and intention setting. Goals are specific actions that require careful planning and dedication to achieve. Intentions are the power, energy and daily momentum to manifest those goals into reality.

woman laying in bathtub surrounded by intentional things like flowers and crystals

Choose Intentional Living

Living with intention can nurture your ability to achieve what you want in life. It can help build your passion, clarify your purpose, and provide the energy needed to sustain living the lifestyle required to achieve your goals.

Intentional living is the secret sauce to setting and achieving goals and living the life you wish to live in every moment of every day.

Be supported and reminded to live in your purpose with Nefertem Intention Skincare.

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