We’ve made our new goals. We’ve seen our new results in our imagination. They’re awesome, exciting, inspiring. We got super pumped and set our intention. I’ve already visited the closet where I keep my size 44 suits.
But, 4 days into the new year it’s easy to feel our old patterns creeping in. The trouble with habit building is the habits we’ve already built. Everything we’ve trained our brains to pay attention to is grabbing our attention. That’s why it’s not called intention setting. It’s called goal setting. And goals have an attribute that intention lacks.
In the past, we called vacations to Vegas, Cabo, or Cancun "off the hook." But, have you ever heard of a trip to see your in-laws described that way?
No… Why? Because "off the hook" was slang for - The temporary abandonment of responsibility.
Intention setting is easy, fun, and exciting. It’s like a flash of lightning during a night storm. But it’s a bit off the hook. We read a book, attend a conference, have a meaningful conversation, and dream of an outcome that would be amazing but fail to imagine the work involved in getting it done.
Setting intentions is different than setting goals. Goals are specific and concrete, they are aggressive but realistic, measurable, and verifiable. You can ask and answer the question: Did I do it yes or no?
They have a hook!
Goal setters design new hooks for themselves. It’s a hook they want to get on. It’s a great hook that impacts their world. It’s a measuring stick. It keeps them focused, provides feedback, and retrains their brain to pay attention to something new, and better.
But It’s easy to avoid measuring sticks. Measuring sticks make it real. But isn’t the point to make your intentions real? Measuring sticks reveal a problem. But isn’t the point to solve a problem Measuring sticks are awesome… IF... you actually want to accomplish what you intend.
So if there is something you’d like to permanently abandon, don’t try to get "off the hook." It’s a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Instead, design a new hook that you want to get on.
And then go to Vegas, Cabo, or Cancun because it’s still fun to temporarily abandon some responsibilities.