How to tap into the science of intention in order to meet your goals
2022 has officially come to an end, and we’re not particularly sorry to see it go. That said, as is the case each year, it offered up much in terms of overcoming adversity and how/where we can align our intentions for 2023 – personally and professionally.
The connection between intentions, goals, and outcomes
At the end of 2021, in our post about setting intentions, we described what intentions, goals, and objectives are and how they align with one another. To recap:
Intentions are ideas, aims, or commitments that you plan to carry out, regardless of outcome. They are typically broader than goals and are a way of thinking and moving through your day. So long as they’re positive, they give purpose to your actions and are intended to inspire and motivate. Driving behaviour (but with no success or failure attached), they are the fuel behind your goals and objectives.
Goals and objectives, on the other hand, while meant to set us up for success, can also set us up for failure because they are specifically attached to outcome. They’re more specific, they help us create a plan with milestones and timelines, and to stay on track. They clearly play a critical role in business, AND they are stronger and more likely to be achieved, if they’re fueled by positive intention.
Appreciating there are many things out of our control (especially our immediate control), the intentions we choose shape how we see the world, and given that, have the power to impact outcome.
The science behind how we perceive (and therefore, shape) the world
While it’s been the foundation of quantum physics since the early 1900s, the 2022 Nobel Prize for Physics has confirmed that our minds create the world we see and experience. Up until recently, there were a number of potential loopholes to the theory. However, the research done by Aspect, Clauser, and Zeilinger has addressed many or most of these loopholes – making way for emerging science, technology, and understanding about ourselves and how we relate to the world. This evidence shows, as noted by Scientific American, that “local realism is false” and “objects are not influenced solely by their surroundings, and they may also lack definite properties prior to measurement.”
In other words, as Pam Grout (author of E-Squared, E-Cubed, and other books) explains, we “literally create the world from our minds” rather than there being a factual, measurable, objective set of objects that we interact with.
What does quantum physics have to do with our intentions?
If the reality we experience is based on our own perceptions, it stands to reason that, while we’re not exactly “in control”, our reality is based on how we choose to perceive it.
Among other scientific evidence, Dr. Joe Dispenza’s research shows that when we clearly set intentions in our mind, we can not only work towards making them a physical reality, but that those intentions may also be connected to the brain’s neural pathways related to decision making and reward. The brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) influences how we process stimuli and regulate attention, and then determines what information moves into our conscious minds. So, when we set an intention, we’re essentially telling the RAS to prioritize and focus on certain information. This creates new neural pathways and can overshadow/replace other pathways. Over time, with repetition and focus, our brains “learn to pay attention to that input” and we start to make decisions and take action as a result.
Dr. Dispenza also talks about the importance of bringing heart into it. When you bring emotion into intention (i.e., “tuning into the feelings of your future”), you further fuel and sharpen that focus.
There’s a growing body of research suggesting that since “conscious human intentions and our universe are intertwined”, that our consciousness and focused attention can impact our intentions.
How to set intentions to meet your goals
Start by getting clear on the thing, action, or state of being you desire, the feeling associated with it, and what characteristics you need to embody in order to realize the intention. From there, outline the specific steps you think you need to take towards it, keeping in mind that these may evolve and be adjusted over time. In doing so, redirect negative or doubtful thinking into more positive thoughts and actions. When you achieve a milestone or in any way move towards realizing your intention, name it, talk about it, and reinforce it. But don’t let it control you or become so specific that you don’t notice the direction it’s taking you in. There’s power in allowing, as opposed to controlling or resisting.
Whether a personal or professional intention, write it down in whatever way feels meaningful to you. It may be through journalling, social media, or a strategic planning or visioning session. Be creative with it and let thoughts flow freely as you reflect upon what you truly wish to see. Don’t simply write it down and forget about it. Revisit it regularly, make it visible, put it on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, fridge, or computer, where you’ll see it every day. And from there, build the action steps that form your goal.
To illustrate, imagine that you start with an intention of bringing more abundance to your life (or your business) or being a trusted and respected ‘go-to’ accounts manager. On a daily basis, you intentionally focus on being the kind of person that your clients naturally gravitate towards; they trust you, and they want to build relationships with you. While you should still focus on your target and milestones (e.g., landing 5 major accounts), you may not meet them (maybe you’ll only land 3, but maybe 10!). You are, however, consciously creating a successful way of being and of doing business that fuels your continued focus. This, in turn, fuels greater motivation (for yourself and those around you) and stronger business connections.
As you move forward into 2023, before you dive into goal setting, consider reflecting first on what you truly intend for yourself, your role, your team, and/or your business overall, and let that drive your goals.
Jouta’s HR Consultants can help you make the connection between your intentions and the reality you wish to see for your organization.