5 Differences: Intentions vs’ Expectations

Lately, several opportunities have been available to me to speak about the differences between expectations and intentions.  I take great pleasure in sharing one of those experiences here today.

It seems to me that many people have a lot riding on their expectations.  The expectations they put on themselves, others, their governments, schools… it’s a long list.  Today I’m going to get into expectations and how much better we can do by switching those expectations to declared intentions, and breaking down some of those limitations we put on ourselves.

An expectation is defined as a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

When you expect something several things happen:

  1. You are attempting to control outcomes.

  2. You are trying to control others.

  3. You  limit yourself to possibilities that lie outside of your expectations.

  4. You are adding unneeded stress.

  5. You are not allowing for new experiences to show up.

Intention is defined as a thing intended; an aim or a plan.

Now, when you declare your intentions several awesome things happen:

  1. You control yourself by staying focused.

  2. You are controlling yourself by practicing the art of letting go.

  3. You are breaking free of limitations by allowing people and situations to come to you.

  4. You are learning the art of staying calm.

  5. You are allowing new experiences by being open to new possibilities.

By setting your intentions you break open a whole lot of possibilities that you can finally see by squeezing out those old expectations

I have an excellent example of how to begin to make this switch.

A client of mine came to me looking for some relief.  She explained how she has to get up early, organize her kids, get ready for work and she never has time to go work out in the morning.  All of the daily activities she expects of herself must get done so how she will ever get time for herself to workout was beyond her.

We went through the 5 steps of expectations, which were very clear to her. She was attempting to control every outcome and each person involved.  She was limiting herself to everything, accepting what her expectations dictated to her. She had a huge amount of stress when these things didn’t get done to her standards, and obviously no new experiences could show up since she was on a very strict schedule and had a hard core case of “tunnel vision”.

I walked her through the 5 steps to set her intentions. Even though I knew the new experiences were going to show up, she was not an easy sell, until she actually witnessed it happening in her own life…her A-HA moment.

First, she wakes up and says out loud, “I intend to get up, get ready for work, organize my kids and find time to work out. Now she’s focused with a clear intention but no expectations of when. Notice she didn’t say, “Go work out this morning”. She did not limit herself to getting to the gym at a certain time.

Second, she practices the art of letting go of how or when she will make it to the gym, just by having the intention to go without the limitation of when.

Third, while she was at work a friend of hers asked if she wanted to try out a yoga class later in the week.  She was so happy about it and she let me know that by not limiting her experience by expecting to go to the gym, she allowed for a new experience she wouldn’t have ever been open to previously. So although it wasn’t the work out she had expected, she was open to a new experience, and how it was going to come about, she realized, was actually none of her business.

Fourth, by staying present, her ability to stay calm when she had to stay late at work one night, thereby, missing her workout class, was completely gone, because…

Fifth, she didn’t feel stress about missing one day because her co-worker had already invited her to yoga class the week before, and it started later so she would be present for that.

Any expectation you put on yourself is self-inflicted.  You can turn any of those expectations into intentions and begin practicing the art of letting go or surrender.  It is possible; I am living proof of that.

I wish you all an amazing week!




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