Attention and Intention: How to Set Achievable Goals

It’s a new year, so you know what that means – it’s time to reassess the path of your life, choose the direction you want to take, and make some new goals for yourself. New Year’s resolutions are a game we play every January, when we make a resolution or two, knowing that we are likely to abandon it by February. According to, out of the 45% of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving them. Knowing that the odds are stacked against us, why do we keep making resolutions? Why is it so hard for most of us to stick to our goals? The answer lies in the attention and intention behind the goals. Choose your goals wisely, and you will succeed in achieving them.


We experience life through the awareness of our senses. What we see, feel, hear, and think determines what we experience.  We can choose which perceptions to notice by utilizing our ability to focus our awareness. We call this ability to focus our attention. The course of your life is greatly determined by where you place your attention. It is a choice you are constantly IMG_0888making…what to pay attention to, what to notice.

You are at your most powerful when you are focused. In fact, your ability to focus thought and action is at the root of your strength. Focused attention is the most potent when directed on a singular point. Like a laser, focus beams forth a stream of energy toward one, single direction.  If your attention is scattered, your energies will disperse chaotically and progress will be at a standstill. You must use your attention to choose a goal, then, the more focus you can put on your goal, the more likely you are to hit it.

What has your attention right now? Are you paying attention to yourself, or your personal goals, at all? How much of your time is focused on where you want to go, and how much is focused on where you already are? If you don’t change a thing, where are you heading? Ask yourself these questions, because the more attention you place on your current patterns, the more likely you are to make realistic goals you can stick with. You must be aware of where you are before you decide where you want to go.

Utilizing your attention is powerful. A simple shift can make a huge impact on the course of your life. You may even want to make this one your new, daily goal.


Energy follows thought, and action follows energy. To achieve a goal, you have to do more than just think about it; you have to actually do something. And just as attention dictates the direction of your thoughts, intention dictates the direction of your energy. It’s the driving force that births motivation, propels action and fuels personal strength. A clear intention motivates the energies of your thoughts, words, and deeds that are necessary to deliver you to your target. You set your direction by choosing your intention.

Whether you realize it or not, you always have an intention. You either intend to keep things as they are, or you intend to change. A goal is an aim toward something new, and to get to something new will require that you do something differently than how you do it now. Otherwise, if you don’t purposely make a change, your habitual desires will decide your direction for you. What do you intend for yourself, and what are you willing to change to get it?

On your quest to reach a goal, you may have some struggles ahead of you. We usually have the most steam at the beginning of a journey – as we are rested and ready to go – but once things get tough, and our energy store has depleted a bit, what keeps us going then? A major key to success is not only to know your intention, but to reiterate it to yourself regularly. Be firm in your choice, and keep yourself focused on it by stating your intention to yourself daily.  This is the key to the finish line, because when things get tough, strong intention will carry you.


Force vs. Flow

Like a river, your habits of thought and action have a specific pattern and flow of energy to them. And, like paddling on a river, working with the flow of your energy is much easier than working against it.  When considering a goal, keep in mind that it will make it an easier journey if you choose one that works with your current patterns. Rather than working to omit something from your life, or drastically changing your direction, consider what you love about yourself or your circumstance as it is now, and make it a goal to enhance and nurture that. This is a much more pleasant way to progress, and one that flows with the energies that are already moving through your life.

Change does not happen overnight, nor can it be forced. When you try to force yourself to a goal without your intention to back it, you are forcing a suppression of your current energy flow. This can create a blockage of energy that builds against the wall of your opposing yearnings until, eventually, it breaks. This is what causes people to binge on a bad habit. Choose a goal that does not require excessive force, and one that you can truly desire for yourself. Artificially suppressed desires only become stronger.

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The one constant in life, the one thing you always have, is choice. You are the only one who gets to choose your direction. There may be times when you feel stuck, or you cannot physically do what you would like to do, or you are truly held back in some way – but no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, you always have the capacity to direct your own attention, and choose your own intention. So choose to live a bigger life, to experience more happiness, to see the bright side, and to keep growing and progressing.  Whatever you choose is up to you. As long as you set your sights high with your attention, aim with your intention, and shoot with your actions – progress will be made.

The resolutions and goals you make are opportunities to achieve new heights, to direct your life according to your own choices, and to create hope for the future. Start out the New Year right and give yourself a well-thought out, focused challenge to rise to, and enjoy the positive new you!


Coming next:  New Year Newness: Take the 40 day Challenge

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