Bucket lists seem to be the new trend. Especially for people with young children who want to make the most of summer vacation. By the time this became popular (or by the time I realized it was) my kids were all practically grown. It honestly never occurred to me to make a seasonal bucket list. But, I suppose that it makes sense. I’m sure that if you have one you are much more likely to make the most of your time. After all, time slips away from all of us! Without a plan we often fail to get much accomplished… even the fun stuff! So of course the same is true with accomplishing your goals!
Accomplishing Your Goals is Better Than a Bucket List
Do you know what’s more important than a bucket list though? A goals and intentions list! Is it more fun? Well… I don’t know what you think but I believe that living with intention is EVERYTHING! When you live with intention you get the stuff done that really matters to you, including the fun bucket list stuff. The thing is though that if you don’t write it down, time will probably slip away. You’ll feel disheartened and frustrated! You’ll be going through the motions, not really living and certainly not becoming your best self.
So, instead of creating a seasonal bucket list, it’s time to learn to set quarterly goals and intentions! That way you can stay on track to building your dream life, accomplishing your goals, and becoming the person you long to be!
What’s the Difference Between Goals and Intentions
Some of us are very familiar with either goals or intentions but we often struggle to consider both. Many people think they are basically the same thing, just for different crowds. You know, goals are for serious businessy type people. They’re for ambitious type A perfectionists. Intentions are more hippie-dippie. They’re for people who “manifest” stuff, hug trees and are more crunchy granola!
This simply isn’t true! Intentions and goals go hand in hand and if you aren’t evaluating and planning both you’re making a HUGE mistake that WILL hold you back!
Goals are measurable and future tense. This is something that you are working toward. There are very specific measurable expectations and there are usually timelines on goals. For example, the ever popular, my goal is to lose 30 lbs by June 1. They are destination based or connected to a specific achievement. Once you’ve accomplished your goal, you’re done. There is a definite win / lose mentality surrounding goals. The famous Yoda quote, “Do or do not, there is no try”, definitely applies to goals. They are about external achievements. Even if they’re related to you they aren’t internal. They aren’t about growth or personal development. You either lost 30 lbs according to that scale or you didn’t. You succeeded or failed. It really isn’t about lessons you may have learned along the way or ways in which you have grown as a person. It’s only about that number!
Intentions are more related to a way of thinking than an action. There is no win or lose, there also isn’t an external or tangible destination or outcome. They are more present tense or focused on the journey. For this reason intentions can be more broad. They are also typically based more upon your values. You live them everyday and they are deeply personal. Intentions are focused on your relationship with yourself or others. They are about who you are as a person and your path to self discovery. Using the example above, your intention would be to take care of your body and choose foods and activities that are healthy. You may or may not lose 30 lbs but guaranteed you WILL learn a lot along the way. You will grow as a person and benefit. This is because you plan to carry out your intentions regardless of the outcome. Therefore you are guaranteed success.
Goals are the destination but intentions are the road map. To be truly successful in accomplishing our goals we need both!
Annual Goals & Intentions Review
In case you’ve never set a long term goal or intention or it’s been a while, let me give you a simple review.
If you haven’t already you need to consider what you want your life to look like in 5 – 10 years. Daydream about it. Visualize it like it’s real and imagine every detail you can. Once you’ve done that think about the steps it will take to get there. Not just the milestone smaller goals you’ll have to accomplish along the way but also the ways in which you will have to change. You’ll use these smaller steps to create mini goals and areas of focus.
It is often helpful to set an annual intention using a word or short phrase that indicates the area of personal development, self improvement or growth you are focusing on. This intention should be connected to your goal for the year.
If you don’t have one for this year it’s time to create one! No need to wait until January 1st just get started now! What is your dream life? Where do you hope to be this time next year? What will it take to get there? Create your annual goals and intentions to set you on the right path to accomplishing your goals.
Creating Your Quarterly Goals and Intentions
Break down your annual goal into 4 segments. Each of them should be somewhat equal and obtainable. Think of this as a rough draft for your quarterly goals. Now make a plan for the next quarter you are entering, or the rest of the year. Make this step even easier! (Be sure to get your handy goal setting and tracking workbook.)
Now, Imagine yourself having accomplished your quarterly goal and becoming the new improved version of yourself. Imagine that you are watching the end of a movie (that has a happily ever after, of course). Then rewind one segment at a time. Evaluate each bit of film. What did you do to get there? What choices and actions did you take? Continue doing this until you are exactly where you are right now, at the beginning of the movie. Write it all down! Each of these steps is a milestone mini goal!
Consider the things you will need to learn and the ways in which you will need to grow along the way to accomplish your mini goals. Be specific! Do you need to work on self love by creating positive body affirmations? Do you need to develop boldness by identifying and verbalizing your needs at least once a week? Consider the areas in which you need to grow and set an intention to do so. Add this to your quarterly goals and intentions list.
Take action! You can use your quarterly goals and intentions list to generate daily affirmations and intentions. Plan activities or tasks to bring you closer to accomplishing your goals. And, address habits that may be holding you back or create new habits that will propel you forward!
At the end of each quarter review your progress. Don’t just consider whether you achieved your goal or not, but really drill down. Think about what worked for you and what didn’t. Use that information to prepare for your next quarter. Are you ready to tackle that next goal? Should you readdress your previous goal? It might even be best to simply spend some time mastering the process of quarterly goal and intention setting.
If you aren’t where you were hoping to be at the end of the quarter don’t beat yourself up! Pat yourself on the back for the effort you put in. Do some self evaluation and be grateful for the metaphorical muscles you developed through this process. You have certainly grown and you should be proud!
Accomplishing Your Goals is Better Than a Bucket List
It isn’t easy but if you keep at it you’ll get where you want to go! You’ll accomplish your goals and have the life you’ve always dreamed of! In my opinion that makes this exercise WAY better than a bucket list (even a completed one)!
What’s your goal and intention for the remainder of this year (& decade)? Have you ever tried goal and intention setting?
I loved this! I had an epiphany about “the bucket list” this summer and wrote a blog on it!
That’s super cool. I’ll have to check it ou!
It’s like my internal clock is set by quarters. I started feeling the urge to reevaluate and reset the course of intention. Thanks!
I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!
This is great! I really like this so much more than the traditional bucket list! Thanks for sharing! I love your blog!
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
This article is great! Very thought provoking! I need to get to work on my list! Thanks for the motivation!
It’s surprisingly helpful. It really helps give your brain some direction!
Such an interesting concept! Setting goals and being intentional are definitely both key aspects to leading a great life
They definitely are!
I really like the idea of breaking goals and intentions down into quarter increments. It sure makes them more attainable. I am definitely going to try this!
I typically break them down further and prioritize different components. It’s a lot easier to get big tasks accomplished by breaking them into smaller pieces. Makes it much less overwhelming!