Quoting Yoda, Trashing Goals & Declaring Intentions


The prompt for today was actually the word try, but like Yoda I believe,

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

So I’ve replaced it with the word intend.

intend: to have in mind as something to be done or brought about

Compare it with another word you’re probably more familiar with.

goal: the result or achievement toward which effort is directed

I know which appeals to me more, especially after reading 100 Days with No Goals by Joshua Fields Millburn.

Like many, I used to be very goals oriented. I created all kinds of goal tracking worksheets and action plans and produced some great results. I was perhaps a bit driven.

I’m done with that, have been for a long time and wince when I find myself seduced by the lure of goals.

And then I remind myself of the power of intention. . .

“to have in mind as something to be done or brought about.”

My insides relax, my heartbeat slows down and I feel a spaciousness that chasing goals never once produced.

In my reading about goals and intentions I came across the Hawaiian concept of Ho’ohana and I felt a strong connection.

Ho’ohana is about making your living in a world that provides direction and intention while leaving you much more fulfilled than the familiar, goal-obsessed path.

Intentions or Goals?

I know which I’m choosing.

So, back to the prompt and the creation of 2012.

1. Write a book.

I learned how to read at a young age and have read voraciously ever since. It’s time to balance that out with a book of my own. It’s scary to declare publicly, but that’s the best way I know to hold myself accountable. My dream (and yours) deserves that declaration.

2.  Celebrate a decade of coaching.

I’ve done a lot in my 10 years of coaching. I’ve sat on boards and organizing committees, run events and volunteered hundreds of hours. I’ve assisted at trainings, mentored new coaches and done whatever I could to further the profession.

This year the International Coach Federation’s (ICF) annual conference will be held in London, England. To be honest, I’m more excited about visiting a good friend there and seeing the city, but why not tack on a conference to celebrate 10+ years of doing this work I love?

3.  Take a sabbatical.

Since becoming self-employed, I’ve taken regular vacations yes, and I’ve had a schedule that is way more flexible than your average ‘Joe’ but I’ve yet to take a sabbatical. I’ve been thinking in order to do the amount of writing I want to do I’ll have to do something different, create space. I’m pretty sure my creative muse needs more time to keep her end of the bargain, and squeezing my writing in at night isn’t going to cut it!

When I put my mind to something I usually produce results (remember my goal-driven past?), so I’d probably be able to write the book without taking a sabbatical. But I want to give it my best and I believe that deserves my full attention.

4.  Be in the best shape of my life.

Another scary dream to declare, but there it is. I’m not talking about running marathons, bodybuilding or any extreme activities. I’m talking about feeling healthy and strong in my body, able to do what I like including dance the night away. It’s time to honour my body, up level my self-care and take small, consistent actions to forward this intention. This is going to take some doing as 2011 was a year of health challenges.

I’m allowing myself to want and declare it anyway. Too often we let our fears stop us from even acknowledging what we most desire. But really, just between you and me, what do you want?

5.  Become a yogini.

Well, ok, maybe not a yogini but a regular practitioner of yoga. Years ago I dabbled in it but never long enough for it to make a difference. And if I’m really going to take on #4 without injury, I think yoga just might be the way to go. I think my inspiring friend Farnoosh Brock will be happy to hear this, as I’m going to continue using the 10 Minute Invigorator to build a strong foundation.

6.  Make room for creating.

I’ve worked with thousands of people, mostly one-on-on. I’ve also run groups and facilitated workshops, but mostly I have been happy to connect on an individual basis. But the time has come to package up some of that experience, a) so I can reach more people and b) make time for the writing sabbatical.

My intention is first and foremost to create products that serve and make a difference. I’ve got a lot of ideas, but what would make a difference for you? If you’ve been a client or reader for some time, I’d love to hear from you and I invite you to email me directly or leave a comment below with your suggestions.


I know without a doubt there’ll be days that tempt me to make to-do lists, track goals and beat myself up when I fall off track.

That’s when I’ll be reminding myself to intend. . .

“to have in mind as something to be done or brought about.”

The intentions I’ve shared will take some doing, there’s no getting around that. But holding them in my mind in this new way will inevitably create something new just by virtue of the fact it’s not the ‘same old, same old’ way of doing things.


Over to you:

What intentions are you willing to declare for 2012?

Hint: If they trigger your butterflies you’re probably on the right track!

Tell me in the comments below.


#reverb11 is a prompt driven writing project during the month of December. Its purpose is to inspire reflection and create intention for the coming year.

This was prompted by Day 11 – Intend: What new intentions do you have for 2012?