In this article, discover how to set an intention for manifestation, plus learn the difference between goals and intentions and why you need both to manifest your dreams. You’ll also learn how to communicate your goals to the universe and why you must surrender your dreams and trust your aligned path.
Planting Your Seeds Of Intention
I often compare manifestation to planting a garden.
It starts with the soil you’re growing your plants (or manifestations) in.
This soil is your mindset. In order to manifest your dreams and desires, you first must cultivate a positive mindset. And by positive mindset, I don’t mean only ever having happy thoughts and emotions. You are absolutely allowed to experience lower, heavier emotions from time-to-time.
You’re allowed to be imperfect. You’re allowed to have bad days.
Frankly, you’re allowed to be human.
What I mean by positive mindset is this:
- You believe in yourself, and you believe in your own innate power to create the life you desire.
- You show yourself unconditional self-love and self-compassion.
- You’re willing to view obstacles and challenges as opportunities for growth. (And you’re also willing to see how a roadblock might actually lead you to a better path.)
- You consistently show up for yourself.
- You’re willing to choose courage over fear.
- You have a picture of your higher self and consistently align with this truest, deepest part of you day-after-day.
- And even when life isn’t perfect, you choose to view the world through a lens of gratitude and appreciation.
All of these components are like the nutrients in the soil that acts as the foundation for your beautiful garden. The more nutrients you have, the more your garden will thrive.
Once you’ve created this rich, nutrient-filled soil, it’s time to plant your seeds.
And in manifestation, these seeds are your dreams, goals, and intentions.
In this article, we’re going to talk all about how to set an intention for manifestation. We’ll go in-depth on goals versus intentions, how to set goals and intentions, how to communicate your goals to the universe, and the importance of surrendering your goals and releasing control of how they show up for you.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s dive straight in. You can also skip ahead to any of these sections by using the links below.
In This Article
- Setting Goals Versus Setting Intentions
- Guidelines For Setting Goals
- How To Set Goals For Manifestation
- How To Set An Intention For Manifestation
- How To Communicate Your Goals To The Universe
- Why You Must Surrender Your Goals & Dreams
Setting Goals Versus Setting Intentions
First, let’s discuss what it means to set a goal versus setting an intention. Often, you’ll see the words intention and goal used interchangeably, and that’s completely fine. However, there can be slight differences to how we perceive these words.
- A goal is the static, end result of your manifestations; it’s the thing you want to manifest in your reality.
- An intention, on the other hand, is how you want to be as you work towards your goals. For instance, if you want to manifest financial prosperity, you might set the intention to be the embodiment of abundance in your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Here are a few more examples to help you differentiate goals from intentions. In the left-hand column, you’ll find a goal that someone might set for themselves. On the right-hand column, you’ll find a corresponding intention to support that goal.
Goals Intentions To get accepted into a specific university or program. To embody the feelings of success and achievement in your daily life. To write a successful children’s book. To align with the flow of creativity and inspiration within. To lose or gain a certain amount of weight. To see yourself as capable, powerful, and strong. To go on a great first date (that will lead to a second). To be the embodiment of pure love and joy throughout your day.
In manifestation, it’s important to set both goals and intentions to support your journey. Your goals are your ultimate desired outcome. What do you want to manifest? What do you ultimately hope to receive? What’s the long-term vision you have for your life?
Write down these goals you have for yourself so that they don’t just exist in your head. This is important, as writing down your goals will help to turn them from an abstract idea in your mind to a concrete, achievable thing you can have and experience. (Vision boards help, too!)
Now, think of some intentions you can set that will support your goals. You might write down some new intentions for each month, week, or even day.
For example, if you want to manifest a raise at work, then you might set the intention to vibrate at the frequency of financial prosperity. Write down this intention and come back to it regularly. This will help you to remain aligned with your overall goal throughout your daily life as well as support your long-term manifestations.
- You May Also Like: How To Manifest Something (10 Essential Manifestation Methods)
Guidelines For Setting Goals
Before we go deeper into the importance of intentions, let’s talk about your goals. The first step in articulating what you want to manifest is to define your life vision.
What’s your ideal future? Where do you see yourself in five, ten, and even twenty years? What dreams are most prominent within you?
Be honest about your goals. They should never be based on what someone else wants for you. Your goals, dreams, and visions should always align with your authentic truths and desires.
Manifestation may seem hard from the outside, but half the battle is setting goals that feel right to you. Because once you set a goal that aligns with your truest desires (and that feels really good to you), you’re in alignment with the Universe. It becomes easier to trust the flow of your life’s path. And even more, the Universe will do everything possible to support you. (Though you may not always see it right away.)
The difficult thing for many people is that this also means you can’t force something that doesn’t truly feel right.
Have you ever tried to force a relationship, even though deep within, you knew something was off? You may be able to keep it up for a while, but it isn’t sustainable.
And even more, when you do this, you’re actually holding yourself back.
Because the truth is, when you stop forcing and instead align with what feels good and right to you (i.e. get in a flow state), you open yourself up to receiving things that are much better than what you’re trying to force.
Setting goals that feel sincere, heartfelt, and unforced is key to a successful (and happy) manifestation. When you try to set a goal that feels forced or insincere, you’ll most often meet one of two outcomes:
- Your manifestation doesn’t work, causing you to feel like either you failed or that manifestation in general doesn’t actually work. The reason it hasn’t worked is because there’s an underlying desperation to your desire. Instead of surrendering and allowing something to happen, you’re trying to force something to happen on your timeline.
- Your manifestation does work, and you get what you want. But it turns out, it’s not as great as you had imagined.
So how do you start with setting goals? First, we’ll talk about a few guidelines for goal setting, and then we’ll talk about how you can communicate these goals and dreams to the Universe.
Be Specific (But Leave Room For Possibilities)
When you set a goal, you want to be specific.
For instance, if you want to manifest love, think about the specific qualities you want in a partner. Are you looking for someone to travel the world with, or would you prefer to find someone who will plant roots with you somewhere?
Also think about the duration of your desired relationship. Are you looking for someone you can have fun with but aren’t sure you’re ready for lifetime commitment yet? Or are you looking for a lasting, forever kind of love?
Finally, describe the qualities you desire most in a partner: non-negotiables like humor, faithfulness, and generosity.
So essentially, have a clear vision of what you want and define the most important aspects of this vision.
But keep in mind, there is a line between having a clear vision and being a bit too specific.
Specify the qualities that are most important to you, but leave some room for the unexpected. Using the same example as above, you might not want to specify the exact hair and eye color of your future partner. And maybe they don’t have to work in a specific career field. When you leave room for the unexpected, you’ll often be surprised with an outcome even better than what you had imagined.
Don’t Focus On The “How”
This is actually one of the biggest blockages to manifestation, and it’s often something we don’t even realize we’re doing.
Often, when we set goals, we imagine exactly how this dream scenario will play out. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s fun to visualize! The problem is when you limit yourself to just this one possible path.
When you’re setting intentions, don’t worry about how this desired person, thing, or experience will come to you. Focus simply on the end result.
Here are a couple examples of how you don’t want to set intentions:
- “I want to manifest one million dollars by winning the lottery.” (What if that money could actually come to you in a way that’s easier, more meaningful, and brings you more joy than winning the lottery?)
- “I want to manifest my soulmate in a meet-cute at the coffee shop.” (What if you never cross paths with that perfect person at the coffee shop, but they’re just a click away on the dating app you keep hearing about?)
Set Small And Big Goals
When you think about your dreams, you’re most likely thinking about the really big things. But don’t forget to set some smaller goals as well. (These “smaller” goals may even be steps leading you to that really big thing you want.)
One powerful practice I like to use in my personal daily routine is write down one small thing I want to manifest that day.
For instance, I might decide I’m going to manifest a really great conversation with someone or an unexpected moment of laughter and joy.
This is a great way to build your confidence in your manifesting power! You might think of these as “mini manifestation goals” that help you grow your confidence in manifesting the bigger things.
How To Set Goals For Manifestation
So now that we’ve articulated some guidelines for setting goals, let’s talk about how you can start setting goals and deciding what exactly you want to manifest. Again, it’s important to write down your individual goals, as you want to transform these abstract ideas in your mind into concrete, achievable things that you can manifest.
- First, connect with your authentic dreams and desires. Is there a certain dream that’s been in your heart for several years? Has a new dream begun to enter your vision? What excites you? What ignites that inner spark? What do you truly desire for your life? It might help you to first step back and simply visualize what your ideal life would look like. Paint a picture in your head, or write about it in your journal.
- Articulate these dreams and long-term visions for your future into clear, specific goals. Write down these goals. You might also create a vision board that includes words and images that embody what your ideal life looks and feels like.
- When you’re first setting goals, don’t worry about what the path ahead might look like. Allow yourself to focus solely on the end result of what exactly you want to manifest. Instead of worrying about controlling your path, focus on setting daily intentions to support your journey. (More on that below!)
How To Set An Intention For Manifestation
One of the most profound practices you can do throughout your daily life to support your manifestations is to set daily intentions.
Setting an intention will help you to continually remain aligned with your dreams and desires, no matter what’s going on in your outer world. Even if something happens that causes you to become misaligned, you can keep returning back to your intention and realign with the thoughts, feelings, and overall frequency of your desired manifestation.
For instance, if your goal is to write a bestselling novel, then your daily intention might be to connect with your inner creativity and embody the feelings of success throughout your day. You can choose a different intention daily, weekly, or monthly.
Your intentions will be based on feelings and what you want to prioritize each day. You might set an intention to feel abundant, successful, peaceful, happy, or free. You might also set an intention to prioritize your creativity or make space for more play in your daily life. Whatever your intention is, let it be something that feels good and is aligned with your overall goals.
Here are some tips for setting an intention for manifestation:
- Have a dedicated notebook or journal (or a page in your bullet journal) for daily, weekly, and/or monthly intentions. Write down your intention and take a moment each morning to align with the thoughts and feelings associated with this intention.
- Even if you have multiple goals, try to set only one intention a day. Setting too many daily intentions can get overwhelming and cause you to lose focus. (And it’s entirely possible that a single intention, such as embodying the feelings of abundance, will support multiple goals you have.)
- It can be easy to lose sight of your intentions throughout your day, especially if your job and other daily tasks can be stressful. To help, create some phone notifications to go off throughout the day to help you realign with your intention. You can also place post-it notes in places where you’ll easily see them throughout the day.
- And if you do become misaligned with your intention? That’s okay! The worst thing you can do is criticize or judge yourself. Instead, simply acknowledge it and allow yourself to realign, over and over again if needed. You don’t have to be perfect here. Some days are harder than others, and that’s completely normal. The important thing is that you consistently show up for yourself and do the best you can.
How To Communicate Your Goals To The Universe
Once you’ve gotten clear on what it is you want to manifest, it’s time to communicate your vision to the Universe.
So how exactly do you do this?
This is a question I get a lot, and I think it’s a practice we often overly complicate.
The truth is, the Universe is already well aware of your dreams and desires. In fact, the Universe knew of this deep-rooted desire when it was only a brief hint of a vision in your mind, before you had ever articulated it into words.
However, having a formal practice for communicating your intentions to the Universe is a powerful way of saying, “I’m ready.” The Universe has been patiently waiting for you to align with your inner truth and power. This is your moment to convey to the Universe that you’re ready to be guided forward.
Before I discuss some of the methods of communicating your intentions to the Universe, I want to add this: this is more than just communication. It’s also about surrendering – or handing over – your plans to the Universe.
It’s about saying, “Here’s what I want. I trust your path for me. Even if it doesn’t come to me exactly the way I envision it, I know it’ll be even better. I release my dreams to you in faith, trust, and love.”
Find a practice for releasing your vision to the Universe that feels good to you. Some people do better with visualization practices, while others prefer to write a letter to the Universe. One method isn’t better than the other; it all comes down to your personal preference and what feels best for you.
Methods For Communicating Your Goals And Intentions
- In meditation, visualize your dreams and desires in detail. You might visualize what a perfect day would look like once you have your deepest desires. Allow yourself to feel all the positive feelings of having what you want in this present moment. Once you’re finished with your visualization, imagine that you’re placing this dream in a balloon or paper lantern. Visualize your dream rising higher and higher into the sky until you can no longer see it. Now, it’s in the Universe’s hands. Trust that everything is working out exactly as it’s meant to.
- You can do this same practice in written form, if you prefer. Script a day in your dream life. At the end of your script, let the Universe know you’re prepared for all of your deepest dreams and desires. Thank the Universe for gently guiding you.
- You might also write down your dreams in list form. Some people like to burn their lists as a symbolic way of saying they don’t have to hold on tightly to their dreams because they know the Universe is taking care of them in perfect timing.
- Sometimes, the best way to communicate is to simply talk to the Universe. Tell the Universe what you want. Communicate your intentions. Surrender your desires, let go, and walk forward in faith and trust. If you prefer, you can do this in letter form.
Why You Must Surrender Your Goals & Dreams
Again, I want to make this clear: communicating to the Universe is more than just stating what you want. It’s also about surrender. This is a profound moment because it shows that you’re willing to let go and trust your path.
It’s important to remember that you are a co-creator. This means that you’re working with the Universe to create the best possible future, for the highest good for all. There’s give and take in co-creation:
- You let the Universe know what it is that you want (and that you’re prepared to receive it).
- The Universe sends you little nudges and messages through your intuition to guide you on your path. (And the Universe is also working behind the scenes to help you out, though you may never see all the things that are happening for you in this very moment.)
- You follow the nudges and take inspired action.
- The Universe presents you with experiences and opportunities that are (most often) even better than you can imagine.
So as you communicate your intentions to the Universe, honor this sacred role as a co-creator.
You’re not simply telling the Universe what you want.
You’re letting the Universe know you’re ready to lean into the divine flow of life, to allow universal energy to move through you, and to trust the path ahead, even though you can’t yet see every step.
And finally, your vibration is key in your daily communications with the Universe.
By vibrating at the frequency of your desires, you’re continually communicating that you are ready to receive more of this positive thing.
Additionally, being in this vibration will allow you to hear the Universe communicate back to you, usually through your own intuition (as well as signs and synchronicities that appear in your outer world).
Conversely, being in a vibration of stress, anger, worry, or fear (or otherwise low vibration) will prevent you from receiving this communication.
This is why meditation can be such a powerful addition to your daily routine, as it allows you to quiet all of the outer noise so you can hear what the Universe is trying to tell you.
So as you step forward in your manifestation journey and set goals and intentions to support your dreams, begin asking yourself this daily:
Is my vibration communicating that I’m in alignment with my deepest desires, and am I in the vibration to hear when the Universe is communicating back to me?
Do you have any specific practices that you use when you want to set an intention for manifestation? Share your tips in the comment box below!
And for positive affirmations, self-love tools, manifesting tips, and spiritual resources, be sure to follow me on Pinterest and Instagram. For more resources to help you manifest your dreams, be sure to check out these items in my online shop:
- Dreams, Goals & Manifestation Printables
- The Ultimate Manifestation Workbook
- 30-Day Manifestation Journal
Zanna Keithley is an author, poet, and social media content creator who writes short prose dedicated to inspiring readers to follow their dreams, trust their intuition, and create beautiful and fulfilling lives. You can find her original writing on Instagram @zannakeithley.