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  • Starlene Justice

Don’t Wish or Hope; Intend

Don’t Wish or Hope; Intend


Let me tell you a little secret about psychology: the way you frame a wish, or a desire, or a dream during its burgeoning stages inside your mind has a huge impact on what becomes of it.


Think about the language you use when you talk about things you want, or goals you have set.


“I wish I could start a garden.” (Or a book, or a business, or a family)


“I hope I make it into management someday.” (Or the university of my choice, or the Honor Roll, or the Air Force).


“I hope I keep my resolutions this year.”


“I wish I had the discipline to get better at guitar.”


These are passive statements. They make these outcomes sound as if you have no agency; as if the universe will arbitrarily grant or not grant you these desires. They are flimsy, powerless, and shallowly-rooted.


And, believe me, your brain knows it.


Maybe that’s why you frame them that way. They are iffy. They are uncertain. They are easily backed out of if circumstances start to look challenging.


No one will blame you if you let these desires drift away in the next wind. After all, it was never up to you. You were just hoping. Just wishing.


But what if you flat-out intend something?


That’s when shit gets real, to put it bluntly.


Suddenly, the modifiers in your language disappear. No more wishing, hoping, trying, wanting. Intending is all about doing. Intending says “I will” vs. “I hope I get to.”

You know it, don’t you? Of course you do! We all do. That’s the power of intention. That’s why we sidestep it sometimes. Why we don’t look it straight in the eye. By God, it might think we’re challenging it. It might hold us accountable.


You see, when you become intentional about something, right away your brain begins to formulate a plan. Because, with intention, your subconscious knows it’s up to you. And if it’s up to you, then you’ve got to figure out how to get it done.


From this initial plan, you then create pathways—the means by which your desires can come to fruition. The how. And when you make a plan, and you identify pathways, and you start taking action to move down those pathways, you will reach the target.


For example, if you were to say to me, “I sure do hope I can lose this extra weight before summer,” I’m not even going to ask you what you’re doing to reach that goal. I can tell by your language that you’re probably not doing much. (Think about it. Is it true?)


A wish has no teeth. A wish is backed with no action. A wish is dependent on something arbitrary—like fate.


If, instead, you were to say to me something to the effect of, “This extra weight will be gone by summer.” Or, “I’m committed to being such-and-such a size by the end of June,” then I’m absolutely going to ask you what you are doing about that because I know you’re doing something, and I love hearing about the strategies people use to make their dreams a reality.


Those statements are statements of intention, and I know exactly how intention works. It locks you in like a contract. It fires up those parts of your brain devoted to motivation, action, and pursuit. It’s like kicking your fighting instinct into gear.


So, how serious are you about those things you “wish” or “hope” will happen? This is a real question. Answer it. How serious are you?


How much does it matter to you that you find a great job, pursue your fondest dreams, cross things off your bucket list—or just see your favorite band in concert? (I mean, heck, it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Not always).


If you are serious (feel-it-down-deep-in-your-guts serious), it’s time to get acquainted with intention. It’s time to open the door to it, look it in the eye, and say, “Bring it on!”

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