What comes to mind when you hear the word goals? Do you set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals?

What about intentions? Do you ever check in on your intention behind your words, actions and the way you show up in your life?

There is a popular message I see many people sharing that suggests it’s somehow advantageous to society to be on a personal mission to improve and be better with each day. That hopping on the latest bandwagon that promotes constant improvement is somehow healthy role modeling and an ideal more of us should be implementing– say what?!

Please tell me I’m not alone in noticing that external goal-obsession and striving to be the ‘best version’ of ourselves, actually causes us to turn our backs on ourselves. Constantly attempting to be more, do more and have more is an endless cycle that disconnects us from our truth.

When we accept who we are, as we are, we let go of the preoccupation to constantly feel the need to improve. When we let go of the idea we must always be doing, performing and improving, we make room to simply be okay with our being.

I love approaching intentions with the idea I’m not trying to change myself or my life. Rather, being clear on my intentions opens the gateway to consciously connect to my values – the ones that already exist at my core.

Setting an intention opens the pathway to come back home to who we are and connect to the wisdom that lives within us. Intentions don’t require us to change, improve or strive to be different than we are. Our intentions help us connect deeper to our inner truth and humanity.

To be clear, I’m not a stranger to goal setting, nor am I opposed to creating goals. What I am passionate about, is sharing the idea it’s time we rethink the way we view self-improvement – and more importantly the toll striving to constantly improve has on our spirits.

Goals are external and are incredibly valuable in achieving success. I make daily lists and create weekly, monthly and yearly goals. They serve as a road map for where I’d like to go. But what I have come to realize is my goals are not part of who I am, they contribute to the experiences I have.

Who I am, and my worth as a human being, has absolutely nothing to do with my level of external success.

Who we all are and our level of greatness cannot be quantified by the external world. None of us can be any better than we already are, because we are amazing as we are – it’s just a matter of whether we see it, that’s all.

Having goals will shape our experience and setting intentions will help us stay grounded in our truth. But neither dictate who we are as human beings.

Setting an intention for your day, week, month or year – is declaring to yourself what superpower you’d like to tap into. You already have lots of them, so it’s a matter of deciding which value you’d like to experience life through.

For example, I might set an intention of wanting to experience a sense of gratitude for the simple things in life, or to experience deep connection with my inner circle. I will then use my intention to guide my interactions and reactions. I tap into my intention to connect deeper to my core values of gratitude and connection.

Setting an intention isn’t about being better than I already am. It’s about tapping into something real and powerful that nourishes my spirit because it’s aligned with my values and truth. Setting an intention is like choosing the channel you wish to view life through.

Here is an invitation, next time someone urges you to spend your days attempting to be better than you are, see what happens if instead you set an intention to compassionately see you are already enough.

By all means, have fun creating goals. Find the joy in your experiences. But never forget, your external world is your playground, it wasn’t meant to be a measuring stick for your worth. You are already amazing exactly as you are.


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Originally published at emilymadill.com


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse; WellthyLiving.ca; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: emilymadill.com