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Intentions vs. Decisions

An intention is a desire to do something. We have lots of them.

Intentions are useful.  They’re how we try on new ideas. They’re the stories we tell ourselves about the future. They create focus and momentum.

But an intention is not the same as a decision. Decisions occur when we irrevocably allocate our time, money, or attention. When we cut off all the other possible choices and we do this thing.

I intend to go to the movies tonight. I really want to go. But it’s not a decision until I buy the ticket, buy the popcorn, and sit down in the theater. Just an intention.

Turning intentions into decisions is the way we most directly shape our future. Closing that gap builds habits, which in turn builds character.

Filling our lives with intentions that never make it to action has the opposite effect. It’s even more toxic if we lead an organization. A persistent gap between intention and decision kills culture.

Intentions are great. Decisions are better.