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Consciously vs. Intentionally: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 10, 2024
Consciously means being aware of one's actions or surroundings, while intentionally denotes doing something with a specific purpose or design.

Key Differences

Consciously refers to the state of being aware of one’s actions or thoughts, often implying a deliberate focus or attention. Intentionally, however, implies doing something with a specific aim or purpose, often premeditated.
An action performed consciously means it is done with full awareness and mental engagement, without being automatic or reflexive. Intentionally doing something suggests a plan or desire to achieve a particular result, indicating deliberation and forethought.
Conscious actions might not always have a specific end goal or purpose; they are simply performed with full awareness. In contrast, intentional actions are driven by an objective or a desire to bring about a certain outcome.
Being conscious of something does not necessarily mean that the action is driven by a deliberate intent. However, acting intentionally always involves a conscious decision to achieve a predetermined objective.
The concept of doing something consciously emphasizes the state of mind during the action, highlighting awareness and presence. Acting intentionally focuses more on the motive and purpose behind an action, underscoring the planned nature of the behavior.

Comparison Chart


Being aware of one's actions or thoughts.
Doing something with a specific purpose or aim.


Awareness and mental engagement.
Aim, purpose, or desired outcome.

Implication of Planning

Not necessarily planned, can be spontaneous.
Involves planning or premeditation.

Relation to Objectives

Awareness of the action itself, not necessarily goal-oriented.
Directly related to achieving a specific goal or objective.

Example of Use

Being conscious of one's breathing during meditation.
Intentionally saving money for a specific purchase.

Outcome Dependency

Dependent on the state of awareness.
Dependent on the achievement of the intended result.

Consciously and Intentionally Definitions


Making decisions with a clear and present mind.
She consciously chose to avoid processed foods.


Done deliberately and with forethought.
He intentionally left early to avoid traffic.


Deliberately focusing one's thoughts or attention.
They consciously practiced gratitude every morning.


Acting with a predetermined goal or outcome.
The company intentionally targeted a younger demographic.


With full awareness and deliberate attention.
She consciously adjusted her posture throughout the day.


With a specific purpose or plan in mind.
She intentionally avoided mentioning the controversial topic.


Being aware of one's surroundings or actions.
He walked through the museum, consciously observing every detail.


Making a conscious choice to perform a particular action.
She intentionally kept her schedule free for the weekend.


In a manner that shows active mental engagement.
He consciously listened to each word of the speech.


Engaging in behavior with a clear intent.
He intentionally kept silent during the argument.


Characterized by or having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.


Done deliberately; intended
An intentional slight.


Mentally perceptive or alert; awake
The patient remained fully conscious after the local anesthetic was administered.


Having to do with intention.


In an intentional manner; on purpose.


In an intentional manner; with intention; by design; of purpose.


With intention; in an intentional manner;
He used that word intentionally
I did this by choice


Is consciously about being aware?

Yes, consciously is about being aware of one's actions or thoughts.

What does consciously mean?

Consciously means with awareness and deliberate attention.

What does intentionally imply?

Intentionally implies doing something with a specific purpose or plan.

Can you act consciously without a specific goal?

Yes, you can be conscious of your actions without having a specific goal.

Is intentionally related to goals?

Yes, intentionally is often related to achieving specific goals or outcomes.

Can actions be both consciously and intentionally done?

Yes, actions can be done both with awareness (consciously) and a specific purpose (intentionally).

Is consciously always deliberate?

Yes, consciously implies a deliberate state of mind.

Can someone be unconsciously intentional?

No, intentionality requires conscious awareness and decision-making.

Can you act intentionally without being conscious of it?

Generally, intentional actions require conscious thought.

Does consciously relate to mindfulness?

Yes, consciously often relates to being mindful and aware.

Is intentionally a matter of choice?

Yes, acting intentionally is a matter of making a conscious choice.

Does intentionally require planning?

Yes, intentionally usually involves some level of planning or forethought.

Does intentionally mean the outcome is guaranteed?

No, intentionally means the action is aimed at a specific outcome, but it's not guaranteed.

How does consciousness affect intentional actions?

Conscious awareness is necessary for truly intentional actions.

Can habits be formed consciously and then acted on intentionally?

Yes, habits can be formed consciously and then acted upon intentionally.

Can you unintentionally act consciously?

No, acting consciously is by definition a deliberate act.

Is consciously a conscious decision?

Yes, acting consciously involves making a conscious decision.

Is being conscious the same as being intentional?

No, being conscious refers to awareness, while being intentional refers to purposeful actions.

Does consciously imply control over actions?

Yes, consciously implies a degree of control and awareness over one's actions.

Is intentionally a synonym for deliberately?

Yes, intentionally is often used synonymously with deliberately.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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