My name is Sarah and I'm so glad you're here!
This blog is where you'll find all my best tips and tricks to organize, simplify, and streamline your business and life.
It’s that time of year again — you know, the time when everyone is talking about their goals, resolutions, and all the ways they’re going to make change happen in the new year.
Like many, I spent a good bit of time at the end of last year planning and preparing for the new year. But would it surprise you if I told you my goals for this year are virtually the same as last year? And that I already know they will be the same for next year as well?
First, a bit of history.
I started using PowerSheets in 2015. It took a couple of years before I was able to notice a pattern — my goals were virtually the same every single year.
When I looked back on them in more detail, I realized it was because all of my “goals” weren’t goals in a measurable sense. Few, if any, of them were things I could actually accomplish, check off a list, and be done with. They felt more like broad statements about what I wanted to be a reality in my life.
It wasn’t until I attended a conference in 2018 where Emily Thompson used the word intentions and I had a major lightbulb moment!
I hadn’t been setting goals. I’d been setting intentions.
So what’s the difference? And how can it impact the way you plan growth and change in your own life?
Intentions create the big picture vision of what you want to be a reality in your life, either for the long-term or a season.
Goals are the tangible, measurable things you can check off a list that make those intentions a reality in your life.
Basically, intentions tell you where you want to go and goals are the steps that actually help you get there.
For example, a “goal” of mine every single year is to grow in my faith and love of the Lord. That’s all well and good, but unless I establish where I’m at now, where I want to go, and what will help me get there… that’s never going to become a reality.
On top of that, a goal like that is a never-ending one. I will always want to be growing in my faith and love of the Lord. It’s something I will never fully accomplish, never be able to check off a list and move forward.
In reality, it’s not a goal, it’s an intention. The big picture vision is that I want to be a woman after God’s own heart, someone whose life is marked by mature faith and love of the Lord.
I break down that intention by analyzing where I’m at and areas I can be growing in. This could include things like developing more consistency in my prayer life, memorizing Scripture on a regular basis, or getting plugged into a Bible study.
Without breaking it down, that intention is just an abstract thing that will likely never become a reality.
There are plenty of people out there who set goals from year to year without having intentions tied to them and it seems to work fine. They accomplish a lot and are able to look back on each year viewing its successes.
So why should you set intentions and goals?
Intentions help you cast a vision for what you really want your life to look like, which is super helpful, but it can also be intimidating or overwhelming if there’s a huge gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
One of the reasons I think many people abandon their so-called goals is they aren’t actually goals, but they’re intentions that feel so huge and abstract they feel impossible to complete.
Goals help you create the road map from where you are now to where you want to go, based on the intentions you’ve set and the vision you’ve cast, and help create a path for you to follow. They break down those lofty, abstract intentions and ground them in the reality of actionable steps you can actually accomplish and check off a list.
One of the other reasons I think many people abandon their goals or feel like they never make progress is because they’re setting goals without intentions, which means there isn’t a big picture vision or reason for why you want to accomplish something. This makes it so easy to get off track and stuck in a cycle of doing what others deem successful, right, or good, instead of accomplishing the things that actually matter to you.
This is why intentions and goals work best when they’re used together. Intentions direct the setting of goals, and goals ground the loftiness of the intentions.
Now that we’ve walked through the difference between intentions and goals, I thought some examples might be helpful, so these are my current life intentions.
Several of these intentions have been around since I started using my PowerSheets and I know will continue to be the case year after year. It’s possible some will shift a bit, but these intentions cover my long-term vision for each broad category in my life and help me remember where I ultimately want to end up.
As I mentioned previously, this has been a “goal” of mine since the beginning, and it will always be my primary intention for my life. Each year, I want to continue growing in new ways, so at the end of it, I love the Lord better and deeper than ever before.
Similar to my faith, I always want to be growing as a person. This means setting goals for things like reading (which helps me continue learning), learning new languages or skills, traveling, trying new things and generally expanding my experiences and horizons beyond what they currently are.
I’m getting married in February and I know my marriage will always be a priority. Together with my husband, I want to have a strong marriage that honors and glorifies the Lord, where he feels loved and respected, and people see Christ.
I love people, plain and simple. So I always want my relationships with those in my life to give them life, to encourage and uplift them, to help them grow.
I grew up the child of two financial counselors, which had some major blessings, one of which was seeing good stewardship and the resulting generosity it allowed for in action. Recognizing everything I have, including my money, is a gift to steward from the Lord, I want the pattern in my life to be that I do that well and I cultivate a mindset which lends itself toward generous giving, regardless of the balance in my bank account.
Confession time? My first love is writing. This business is a pretty amazing gift, but writing has and always will be my favorite. I love encouraging people through writing, and though different seasons will necessitate this playing out different ways, I know writing will always be something I desire to steward well.
Last year brought about a lot of change in my thought process regarding work. I realized I have a tendency toward workaholism and finding my worth and value in my work, which isn’t where I want to be in the long-term.
Part of this intention is setting specific goals for my business, but ultimately, whatever season of life I’m in, I will be working in some form or fashion, and I desire for my attitude toward that work to always be right and to always work as unto the Lord, whether I’m running a business or hanging out with babies.
Life gets complicated fast and I’ve learned over the years that the more complicated things are, the more stressed I get. Conversely, the simpler things are, the more at ease I am. I don’t want to live in a perpetually stressed state. I want to live joyfully and at ease, and that necessitates a pattern and intention of simplicity in my own life.
There you have it, friends! Intentions, goals, and mine for this season of life!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and some of what you’ve set for 2020 — intentions, goals, or both.