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Intentions vs. Expectations


Intentions are internal values or wishes that we want to do or achieve, under our control and based on our own actions and decisions. Expectations are events or specific outcomes that we anticipate will happen or will be given, and they’re based on external factors and other people's actions.

An example of how intentions and expectations may run parallel: You may have the intention of exercising regularly to stay healthy, and your expectation may be to lose a certain amount of weight or gain specific strength or skill within a specific timeframe. Where this becomes more frustrating is when we hold too tightly to our expectations and lose focus on our intentions.

It’s important to differentiate between intentions and expectations to avoid disappointments from unrealistic goals. Focusing on intentions also allows us to stay tuned into the “why” and remain flexible when plans or strategies need to be shifted. We can find more freedom when we let go of expectations.

How can you maintain focus on your intentions? How might this positively impact your goal-setting?




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