Setting Intentions: How To Target & Meet Your Goals With Maximum Ease
A lot of times in life we approach situations in one of two ways: We take things as they come and then we react emotionally, riding the wave of those emotions, or we have a goal and we try to control environments, people, or situations to try to make things happen the way we want them to and then we become upset if we can’t.
Many years ago I was thinking about the exhausting nature of these approaches. I observed how much work it takes to make things happen and how much energy is expended by ongoing emotional responses. I wondered how it might be possible to stay really focused on our goals and make the best choices to fulfill them without having to feel like it takes so much effort to steer things all the time in the “right” direction.
The metaphor that I came up with as a solution was this:
Imagine that you are walking through the woods with a bow and arrow. The bow has the power to create the momentum to make the arrow move. The bow is like your will, your energy, your life force. The arrow is like your intention, your focus.
If you simply walk through the woods carrying your bow and arrow without using them, you are essentially wasting energy by carrying these tools around for nothing, not living to your potential. This is like when we don’t set goals or focus on what we value.
If, however, you just randomly start shooting the arrow without aiming at a target, again you are wasting energy and you are unlikely to hit the target that you want. This might be like working hard to achieve something but without really being clear about what is at the heart of why you are doing what you are doing.
If you want so badly to get the arrow to the target that you carry the arrow there, then you are not using the tools to their fullest capacity. You may get the arrow to that target but you will expend a lot of energy doing so and it won’t land with the same force as it would if you aimed, shot, and let it go. This is like when we want something so badly that we feel the need to control every little thing, to ruminate and worry all the time, or when we won’t ask for or accept help. We may get what we wanted but we often are exhausted or feel frustrated or let down when we get it.
Sometimes people are afraid that the goals they have for themselves are “selfish” or will interfere with what a loved one wants them to do or will be met with disapproval. Sometimes people are afraid to set intentions, but If you shoot an arrow at a target and it is not meant to hit that target, there might be a gust of wind or a falling tree that will block the arrow. If you set your intentions and spend a little time reflecting on what is at the heart of that goal so that you really connect to it, and then you aim, shoot, and let that arrow go, you are using all of your tools to their greatest capacity.
In other words, think about what you really value and the important elements of your goals. Then set your intention and take some actions to set things in motion that are consistent with that goal. Next keep your eye on the goal but allow things to happen to some degree in their own way and in their own time. You will find a greater sense of ease and power by having a clear and meaningful target and then trusting that the energy you put out will move things along.
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