Take the time to set intention and create goal this week. 

What drives you to come to your workout classes each week? For many of us, we might have goal we’re hoping to accomplish in class, like improving our flexibility or cultivating a positive mindset. You might even have something you’d like to work on in each specific hour you spend in the studio. When we set an intention at the start of your class, this is a way to work towards these goals, immediate and future. But this isn’t the only time you can harness the power of goal and intention setting in your life. Working these goals and intentions into your life can be an important way to further yourself and your dreams. 

Why set goals?

Whether it’s for New Year’s resolutions or the start of a new quarter at work, you’ve likely tried your hand at setting goals before. Berkeley’s Well-being Institute defines goal setting as “the process of thinking about and deciding on specific aims or objectives that one would like to achieve”.  Taking the time to set goals gives us the time to think through what we want and what it would take to get there. When we have something we want to achieve, or someone we want to be in the future, setting goals is a way of creating stepping stones to help us get there. Setting goals has been suggested to improve both productivity and self confidence. They increase how much effort we put in. They might also improve your happiness, through creating meaning in your life. And while it’s great to consider what we want and how to get it, some methods of goal setting may prove more effective for you than others. 

How to set goals that will stick.

If you keep some of the basics of goal setting research in mind when setting our goals, you might find you have more properous results from your goal setting. Edward Locke, a goal-setting researcher, suggests we make are goals ‘specific’ and ‘challenging’. His research with Gary Latham further adds that having ‘commitment’, ‘feedback’, and ‘task complexity’ can help you goal set in a more successful manner. If you’ve tried goal setting before and found you have trouble sticking to your goals, or that complications tend to get in the way, try again with these aspects in mind and see what the results may be. You could also try learning more about using the SMART goal system for an increase in the accomplishment of your goal. 

What is intention setting?

Somewhat different from goal setting, we can also use intention setting  to our advantage. As explained by Sonia Brill, intentions aim to invite something that’s already in the universe to “join forces” with you. Whereas your goal setting might focus on a habit you want to change or a new skill you want to master that you will create a plan to accomplish, intention setting will give you the opportunity to welcome what you want in your life to be there. These intentions could be something for the immediate hour as you step into class, or it might be something more long-term. Intentions can both stand by themselves as something positive added to your life, and be a tool to use as the first step of your goal setting journey. 

Intention setting can help your goals. 

Intentions can help you to get started in your goal setting, and research suggests that this actually helps us reach out goals. By combining the opportunities and energy around you to set intentions at the start of your yoga class, or in whatever other time works for you, you might not realize you could also be working towards your goals. If you haven’t considered this yet, why not consider what intentions might align with your goals, and try putting some focus on them in the future. Not to mention, intention setting allows us to live more purposefully and consciously, helping us create a life where we are taking a more active role in your life. 

Whatever reason you have for coming to your yoga or fitness classes, take the time to consider how it connects to your goals or intentions. What do you want to change in your life, or what would you like to add to your life? If there are goals that you are working towards right now, what is the first step that you could break down and set as an intention in your life? And, when you’re taking the time to set an intention, what do you want the focus to be? Take the time to consider these questions, and to learn more about goal setting and intention setting, and keep what you learn in mind next time you step into the studio.