What is the difference between goals and intentions?

by | Sep 30, 2019 | Planning Your Business

Many people get goals and intentions confused. And that is understandable because they are very similar. Here are the basics of what they are so you won’t be among the confused.

What is the difference between goals and intentions?
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Goals Defined

Goals are things you want to accomplish by a specific due date. You can have short term goals, mid-range goals, and long-term goals.

Short term goals usually have a deadline within a week or month. However, some people will include three- to five-month goals in this category.

Mid-range goals have a deadline six months to about three years in the future. That said, some people consider three- to five-month goals to be mid-range, as well.

Long-term goals are generally those with deadlines of five years or more from the present date.

Once your goals are established, you create a plan to reach them. You can break them down into daily tasks, weekly tasks, and monthly tasks. Often, you set milestone points to celebrate along the way.

Reading your goals often can help you stay focused on reaching them and keep you motivated to keep working on them. Doing this also lets you course correct before you are too far off the path.

Intentions Defined

Intentions are more immediate than goals. Many people set daily intentions every morning when they get up to help start the day on the right foot.

Whereas goals are specific results you can take actions to achieve, intentions are more of a feeling of how you want things to go. Intentions are much more like affirmations that prepare your mind for the day and work ahead. They help focus your mindset for productivity, positivity, and success.

Like affirmations, setting intentions can also help you overcome a negative mindset. If you struggle with negative thoughts, setting a daily intention to be more positive can help you focus your mind on a more positive day. Intentions can also help you become more aware when you are being negative.

Examples of Goals and Intentions


  • I will clean the dishes by lunchtime today.
  • I will schedule an email to my list by Friday.
  • I will finishing writing my book by June 30 of next year.


  • I will have a productive day today, completing all my chores.
  • I will be productive this week, accomplishing all my business goals.
  • I will be motivated to write 1000 words of my book today.

How Goals and Intentions Work Together

Intentions can help you achieve your goals by focusing on daily results. Setting a daily intention is like putting a fence around your flower garden. The fence helps protect them from foot traffic and helps you keep to your original garden plan as you maintain your flower bed. An intention helps you guide the outcome of your own day, giving it some protection from distractions that will derail your goals.

This is not a perfect or exact science, but many people claim to have better days when they set intentions. On the days they skip setting intentions, many things tend to go haywire or out of their control.

If you want more control over your life and to achieve your goals more consistently, start setting daily intentions and see if you don’t get better results.


Do You Want More Success and Happiness?

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible… in turning ideas, dreams, and desires into reality.

But even S.M.A.R.T. goals won’t work if they aren’t right for you. This is the missing piece in most goal-setting training.

Set the Right Goals for You provides you with a 6-step process that helps you choose the right goals, articulate them clearly, and create a plan of action that will move you toward your goals and keep you on track.

Available in ebook or spiral-bound workbook formats. A VIP mini-retreat package is also available.

Learn More


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