How To Set Intentions For Success

Man Holding Beautiful Lotus Flower On Bright Background, Closeup

Artwork©Olga Yastremska/

How many people end up failing with their New Year’s resolutions every year? The reason resolutions don’t work is because they often lack realistic goals and meaningful intentions.

How would you feel about going on a plane with no pilot? The same thing happens when you don’t set your intentions with a goal you want to achieve. Incorporating the power of intentions puts you in the driver seat of your life. Intentions keep you grounded in the present moment and remind you to keep your focus on your dreams.

The key to setting conscious intentions is knowing that in every moment you have a choice about where you want to put your energy and your focus. You can harness the power of being more mindful as you welcome the opportunity to start fresh each day with a clean slate. What you focus on now is what will grow. Expect miracles as you activate the law of manifestation and attract that which you desire in life. Always remember that “energy flows where intention goes.”

In the yogic philosophy, the word sankalpa is a Sanskrit word for “san,”meaning a connection with the highest truth, and “kalpa” for a solemn vow. If we follow a path of sankalpa, we are making a commitment to ourselves to support our highest truth, affirming a resolve for our heart’s true desire.

As you become clearer about how you want to live your life, the path also becomes clearer. Point your goals in your heart’s direction to tap into a life filled with gratitude, hope, determination, grace, peace, joy and presence.

Consider these detailed aspects of intentions and goals to help you clarify the importance of each.

Intentions are inward driven and focus on the present moment.

Goals are outward driven and focus on the future projections.

Intentions are based on our feelings and heart’s desire (state of being).

Goals are based on facts and action (state of doing).

Intentions are about the direction we are heading and enjoying the journey.

Goals are about the destination and the end result.

Intentions create long term growth and transformations.

Goals create short term gains.

Intentions are about who you are and why you want to act.

Goals are about what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.

You already may be familiar with the SMART acronym for setting goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).

Well, It’s Time To Set SMARTER Intentions:

S   Soul-based: dig deep and connect to the core of your being

M  Meaningful: what’s of value to you to help set your priorities

A   Attitude adjustment: create a positive mindset to support your goals

R   Review along the way: be open to feedback and learn to refocus

T   Trust and believe in the power of intention; eliminate self limiting beliefs

E   Envision: visualize and pay attention to the details of your dream

R   Relax: have fun and enjoy the ride

Practical Tips For Setting Intentions

  • Press the pause button. Use quiet time to lower the volume on the outside noise and make quality time with yourself. Tune into your inner voice, listen to your heart’s desires, reflect on what you want in life and connect to what is important to you. Ideal time to meditate, write in your journal, draw, paint, do yoga, go for walk in nature.
  • Write it down. Make your intentions more tangible and concrete, like a contract. Make an action plan with the specific steps you’ll be taking to fulfill your intentions. For example, if your Intention is “I want to be healthy,” one of your goals is to exercise 4 times a week.
  • Make it visible. Do a vision board or put up pictures to serve as a reminder.
  • Keep them positive. Use affirmations, written or spoken, to reinforce  and give you a booster shot of confidence and strength every day. For example, say “I want to be calm and relaxed” as opposed to “I want to be less stressed.” Paint the picture of what you want, not of what you don’t want.
  • Make it special. Create a daily ritual where you set your intentions either in the morning, evening or whatever time is convenient for you.
  • Release your intentions. Let go and let the universe work out the details. Watch all the synchronicities appears as you pay attention.
  • Have faith. Just like planting a seed, you trust the universe will nourish your dream. No need to doubt or to dig up the seed to see how it’s doing. Keep nourishing it and your dreams will grow into your reality.
  • Celebrate with rewards. Don’t forget to treat yourself !

Every journey starts with the first step of creating your intention.  When we live with intention, our actions are aligned with our truest desires and our highest self. We learn to live our lives on purpose and with purpose. This will keep your soul nourished and alive with passion. Choose to your life with awareness and compassion in the here and now.

Antoinette Giacobbe is a stress reduction therapist, Kripalu- trained Yoga instructor, and holistic health educator with over 30 years of experience. Her passion is helping people with practical advice and guidance to facilitate healing, change, and personal growth. Visit

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