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Explained: Goals versus Intentions – what is the difference?

by Lisa
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You might wonder: Aren’t Goals the same as Intentions, what is the difference? If you look at both at first, indeed, they go pretty much hand in hand and are, about, the same. Both define something you want to accomplish in the future. However, to differentiate is important! Especially if you are working on your future Intentions and Goals, or starting to do so.

What are Goals

A Goal is something you definitely want to reach. It’s a definite milestone in the future, you want to achieve. For example, it’s a certain degree you want to get. You work towards this by joining the seminars, passing the exams and doing all the extra work that needs to be done, like internships, to definitely reach this degree you aspire to attain. Something like a degree is a set thing, once you have hopped on the wagon towards this degree, there are usually no other ways or turns in reaching this very degree. This goal is set in stone, once you completed the exams and required work, you get this degree.

What are Intentions

If you set and define an Intention, it is not as set in stone as a degree. An intention can be “reaching any degree”. It can be about A or B or something completely else. It’s about something you want to achieve, not one specific thing. In direct comparison an intention doesn’t sound as strict or desirable maybe, but it defines a broad direction you want to go. Maybe you are working full time and want to learn on the side, to receive any degree to have a better job outlook in the future. An Intention can be to join any course. By drafting this intention, you have already completed a first step. Your Goal will be this certain degree, your intention towards this is “reaching any degree”.

What is the difference between Goals and Intentions

Of course Goals and Intentions don’t have to be about reaching degrees, which you can later hold physically in your hand or attach to your digital CV. Also, Goals will put you under pressure, as they are big steps you want to achieve. Intentions will give you a bit more freedom, in how and when to reach them.
Depending on what and how you see yourself in the future, an Intention or a Goal will work better for you and your own individual way of life.

This Article is part of a weekly series. Previous article: Introducing: Hello Spring – Hello new Me Series

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