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Let’s run straight at the problem with the long list of goals you’ve started sketching out: They may not make you happy.

Setting intentions has become a little like giving a genie three wishes. On January 1, you think big, cross your fingers, and hope everything comes together.

Yet we all know how that works out!

An intention that can change your life – the one where you look back and say, “That year was the game changer for me” – has nothing to do with perfecting the more, more, more mentality. If your mindset is oriented around the chase for getting stuff or constant activity, you’re only going to be temporarily satisfied.

So, let’s start over and do something radical. Let’s look at “why” you’re setting the intention as well as “how” you’re going to get there this year. When the why, how and what are working together, you’ll have intentions that satisfy your soul, the theme of the January series, My Soul Says Yes. 

Intentions What and Why

Jim Koch never planned to start a brewery. His father discouraged him from pursuing what had been the family business for six generations. He ensured him it was a miserable way to make a living.

Jim followed his father’s advice, earning an MBA and JD and working with important clients as a management consultant. And he was really good at it. But his life took a left turn when he asked himself some hard questions. He remembers thinking about his job at Boston Consulting Group: “Do I want to do this the rest of my life? The answer came back: No. The next sort of corollary to that was: Well, if I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life, I probably don’t want to do it tomorrow.”

On the surface, it may look like Jim Koch’s goal was to create a successful business. But founding Sam Adams was about more than the prestige of running his own shop. It brought him closer to what made his soul say yes, which was spending his days doing something he deeply cared about.

Jim’s dad was right – becoming a brewmaster is one of the hardest things Jim has ever done. He knows a lot about running a multi-million dollar company, yet over 30 years later, his takeaway advice isn’t about how to launch a blockbuster start-up. Instead, it’s about the art of being present and authentic, which can be the intentions of a lifetime. Jim counsels, “Leadership is more about living and modeling the behaviors and the values that you want people to embrace. The values you want to live have to come from your own living heart.”

Imagine yourself at the end of this year. What sounds better – a long list of stuff or being more aligned with your deepest values? As you’re toying with your list of 2018 intentions this week, draw two columns, separating the “what” from the “why”. Like Jim Koch, your why may change your life.