The Science of Goal Setting (TED)
"How you describe your goal makes a big difference. Focusing on what you want to bring into your life — not what you want to avoid — will make you more likely to actually pursue it. “That’s basically just brain chemistry,” says McGonigal. “Any sort of avoidance is going to trigger inhibition systems, whereas positive goals are going to trigger approach and reward motivation.”

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

"...If habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits? Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits--and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin's compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation." (Description from IndieBound) 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (Public Library)

“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.” 

Think about your life goals by Leo Babauta (Zen Habits)

A helpful, concise framework for thinking about your larger purpose and life goals from one of our favorite modern thinkers, Leo Babauta. Follow it up by reviewing your goals weekly and consider your most important task 

Goals vs. Intentions (Dharma Wisdom)

“Buddhist teachings suggest that there are certain characteristics called paramis, or perfections, you must develop before you can ever achieve liberation. One of these qualities, right resolve, has to do with developing the will to live by your intentions. Through practicing right resolve, you learn to set your mind to maintaining your values and priorities, and to resist the temptation to sacrifice your values for material or ego gain. You gain the ability to consistently hold your intentions, no matter what arises.”

The Power of Intention in Business (Harvard Business Review)

“A fellow business leader complained the other day that although he had repeatedly sought feedback, his team had never told him what they really thought about his management style. We’ve been friends for a long time, so I asked: “Do you want feedback so you can do something with it? Or are you asking only because you think that’s the right thing to do?”


  • Insight Timer: This app hosts thousands of guided meditations from people like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Naht Hanh, Tara Brach and many more. It also acts as a simple, elegant meditation timer if you prefer unguided meditation.
  • Productive: This app is designed to help build consistent habits. Studies have shown that it takes 66 days of doing something before it becomes a habit. This App has been incredibly helpful for us.
  • Runkeeper: If running is among your goals for the new year, we highly recommend this app. It is easy to use, and is a great way to set and reach regular running goals - if that is your thing!
  • Bullet Journal: For our paper list/planner/journal keepers, we have to give a little shoutout to the Bullet Journal system. Great for to-do lists, goal trackers, and more. "The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less." 


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This article is part of our series on the theme of Intention.

EXPLORE Intention

Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.