How you set intentions for the New Year is just as important as your actual intentions. Find the best method to start your year off right.
The end of a year has typically been an exciting time for me. After the rush of the holidays it feels so good to have quiet moments to look ahead to what’s to come. I absolutely love taking this time to think about the New Year. Call it goal-setting, planning, setting an intention, manifesting – I’m here for it.
However, if you were to ask ten people how they put intention into their new year, you just might get 10 different answers. Even personally I’ve cycled between several different methods. So I won’t be claiming there’s one “right” or “best” way to go about it. What I will say is the five variations below happen to be my favorite. And, just maybe, one will strike a chord with you.
How do you set intentions for the New Year?
If you’re new to setting intentions you might not know where to start. So here are 4 simple steps to send you on your way:
- Choose your method of intention setting
- Give yourself time and space to decide on your intentions
- Commit your thoughts to paper using one of the five methods below
- Live your life
5 Ways to Set Intentions
1. Choose a Word for the Year
This method is exactly what it sounds like. You select a word that defines what you want to increase, claim or embody in your life. And though it seems to be a straightforward concept, I’ve spent quite a bit of time with this intention setting method. (Of all the words out there, how do I choose the most relevant one for what I hope to manifest?) That said, having a word for the year has served as a quick and powerful tool. I can look at any choice I’m about to make and decide whether it is in line with my word, or counter to it.
2. Make a Vision Board
Growing up in the late 80s/early 90s has probably made me destined to love collages of all kinds. But creating a vision board makes me so happy. For those who are unfamiliar, picture yourself sitting in a room with stacks of magazines, photos, and printed images, along with markers, stickers, scissors, and a blank poster board. Now imagine flipping through the magazines, letting your gut draw you to the words and images that speak to you, ripping them out, then assembling and decorating your board as your heart guides you. If that sounds like a delightful use of 3 hours then you, my friend, need to make yourself a vision board! Of course, there are folks who take a much more purposeful approach to vision boarding. So, again, I’m not here to tell you how to do you.
3. Draft a Personal Mission Statement
Next is another method that I’ve found to be very powerful. My mother (who’s an Enneagram 1) first introduced me to this concept as a teen, and I will say twenty (plus) years later those statements still hold true to who I want to be.
According to Indeed.com: “A personal mission statement is a statement that defines your values, who you are, or how you define success. A personal mission statement can be used to guide your decisions and help you stay focused to meet your long-term goals.”
The particular exercise my mom took me through was from a book she was reading at the time. I never asked the name of the book, but here is the gist of what I remember doing:
- Find a list of verbs like this Active Verbs for Goal and Objective Statements, found here: https://sbccd.edu/_resources/images/ActiveVerbsGandO.pdf.
- Pick 3 words that best describe what you want to do or the type of person you want to be. (I was told to pick 3 words that all started with the same letter, because alliterations are great, you know.)
- Form your statement using your 3 chosen verbs.
Here’s an example of a personal mission statement I might use:
I will communicate and create an environment of love to connect people to themselves, to nature, and to each other.
4. Make a List of Intentions
This can be a list of goals or simply ways you want your life to be different in the coming year. Your intentions list will take the form of “I want to” or “I will” statements. And while you will not necessarily be planning out any steps or actions in this list, it should include things that you believe can be achieved in the coming year.
Some examples might be, This year:
- I will start my business
- I will become a better friend
- I will be present with my children
The possibilities are endless.
5. Draft a Detailed Action Plan
Finally, a detailed action plan is goal-focused and is the most structured approach in this list. Your action plan can include as many categories as you wish, such as:
- Physical Health
- Spiritual & Mental Wellness
- Financial Health
- Business / Career
After you’ve chosen your categories, think about what you want to achieve in each one. Then identify specific steps or milestones you will set to reach your goals. The important thing to remember is that this is not a To Do list. Don’t let yourself get caught up in feeling obligation or guilt about how much progress you make throughout the year. The fact of the matter is, any step you take is one step further than when you started.
I hope these ideas are encouraging and motivating to you. Which method will you be using to set your intentions for the coming year? Let me know in the comments.
Click here to read about how I started to involve my kids in setting intentions.