New Year’s Notions: Set an Intention, Not an Agenda


Image via Tribal Harmonix.

As we drift closer to 2014, I’ve been thinking about things I’ve learned over the last year that have helped me enjoy life more. Here’s one I’ve taken to heart recently: set an intention, not an agenda.

What’s the difference?

If you have an intention, you’re adjusting your energy and focus in a particular direction. This is under your control. For example, “I’m going to bring my enthusiastic spirit to this party. And I’m going to compliment at least one guy on his tie.”

If you have an agenda, you’re directing your energy and focus away from yourself, toward a particular outcome. This is not under your control. For instance, “At this party, I’m going to talk to a cute guy, and get his number. Or get him to ask me for my number. I’d like to leave with a couple of good prospects.”

Why is intention better than agenda? Because agenda is stressful. You can’t control how other people will react to you. All you can control is yourself, your own mood, and the vibe you bring to the party (or any other setting).

Having an agenda is what makes a stranger come across as slightly creepy. They want something from you, but you’re not sure what it is. Intention isn’t creepy–it’s healthy. (As long as the intention is positive, that is.)

So as we head into the New Year, set a cheerful and healthy intention for yourself. And leave the agendas back in 2013, where they belong, with the rest of our discarded baggage.

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