It’s that time of year again!  I don’t know about you, but a new year always feels like a new school term for me, full of promise, a fresh start (and if you’re lucky, a new pencilcase!).


We think about how we’d like our life to change, what worked & didn’t work in the previous year, and vow to do something – often to give something up.  Now, I don’t know about you, but the minute I’m told I can’t have something, I want it even more.


That’s where positive goal setting comes in.  Rather than “I need to lose a stone” (which can have negative connotations), try “I will eat nourishing, healthy food as often as possible”.  Maybe “I will move my body for 15 minutes a day” instead of “I will join a gym”.

There’s a lot of conventional wisdom out there around goal setting, and different approaches will suit different people.  Some people like to follow the SMART approach, where you make your goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and give it a Timescale.  This works well for any goal that can easily be measured or quantified.  But what about those goals that can’t be so easily measured?

Here at Damsels in Success, we like to use the word “intentions” as well as “goals”.  This is particularly helpful for those not-so-easily-measured desires.

It might be “I want to be happier”, for example.  That’s hard to fit in the more traditional goal setting methods, but is still a very valid intention!

Another bonus of setting intentions (rather than goals) is that it’s much harder to fail, and therefore you’re more likely to continue with it rather than giving up at the first hurdle.  Think about the traditional dieter’s scenario – they follow a plan for a few days, and then they eat cake.  If that isn’t part of the plan, then they feel they have failed, and so they give up on the whole goal of losing weight.  How many of you have found yourself in that situation?  How many of you have then gone “well, I’ve ruined it now, so I’ll carry on eating cake & give up on the diet”?

Whereas if we have set an intention to eat more nourishing, healthy meals, then we simply recognise that a little of what we fancy does us good, and we continue to make nourishing, healthy choices more often than not.

So it all depends on your personality and your preferred way of working, and in fact the goal / intention itself.

For example, if there is something that fits well into the SMART process, then it can be a lot more effective than setting an intention (e.g. training for a marathon).  But if your life changes are feelings rather than actions, then setting an intention is a much more graceful & feminine way to do it.

Post written by Nikki Stephens – Damsels in Success Director For Bristol