Memory Keeping, Work/Professional

Create Value-Based Intentions Instead of Goal-Setting


In my pursuit of living my one little word cultivate this year, I’m spending the month of January focused on goal-setting resources and ideas. I’m seeking out people with great ideas, resources, and inspiration. This week, I’m talking about Jess Lively and her approach to developing value-based intentions.

What are value-based intentions, you ask? Essentially, in place of an outcome-based goal like “I want my husband to listen to me”, you develop a value-based intention like “I want to cultivate a relationship of trust and mutual respect.”

By developing the value-based intention, an intention based on values that are important to you, the steps necessary to realize that intention change from arguments and pitted disagreements, to focusing energy on taking small steps to make real change in that relationship. It’s about re-focusing your energy on positive actions and positive growth. It’s about detaching from outcomes and focusing on experiences. And it’s about making joy in your life.

Jess talks about how she lived many years striving to acquire symbols of success – nice car, nice house, nice wardrobe, nice travel excursions, etc.. These symbols of success are somewhat universal and socially reinforced. We all occasionally have those conversations with ourselves: “if only I had.. (insert desired possession or experience).. I would be happy.”

Even when you know it isn’t true, it’s so engrained in our social fiber that the thought of acquiring possessions is almost synonymous with “happiness.” The thought enters our minds when we’re vulnerable. We hold onto that idea. We let it take over our priorities and shift our focus.

It happens to all of us – even when we know, deep down, that the thing we want to acquire will not help us get what we need/want. Instead, it will distract for a time. And maybe that’s really what we’re after. More time before we have to do the real work.

This is a subject that I talk about, in some sort of form or fashion, quite a bit on this blog: doing the real work. And I talk about it because there’s always work to do. Life presents challenges and we work through them. And when we’re done with that work, there will be something else. Good or bad, there is always something else.


If you’re interested in learning more about values-based intentions and how you can get started developing and working towards your own, go to and select “get started” to sign up to view her free 3-part video miniseries. It moves a little fast, but you’ll get a sense of her approach and how to develop and work towards your own intentions.

After watching the videos, I have a clearer sense of how I want to frame my intentions for the year. To some extent, One Little Word is already framed to be a value-based intention. But watching the videos gave me a different (more type-A) way to look at it. A very organized, distilled, action-oriented way. And sometimes us action-oriented ladies need to hear it.