As we look ahead to the new year, there’s plenty of the usual buzz about setting resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, get more organized, and such, but something I actually prefer to focus on is setting intentions for the year ahead. It can be a powerful exercise that’s rooted in how you want to feel and what will light you up that you want to encourage more of in your life rather than in society-driven “should”s.
Want to try it yourself? Here are some tips for setting an intention for the new year:
-Reflect on the past year. What went well? What would you have liked to go differently? What do you want to carry over into the new year? What do you want to let go of?
–Think about how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish in the year ahead. What lights you up? What are emotions and experiences you want more of in the coming year?
–Write it down. You could also make a vision board with images and words that resonate with you.
–Choose a word or phrase that encompasses your intention(s) that you can repeat or look at to remind yourself of your intention through the year.
–Trust yourself. If you struggle with confidence, remind yourself of all the obstacles you’ve overcome, of all your accomplishments, and remind yourself that you can do what you set out to.
–Be open to surprises. Sometimes the universe sends surprises our way that can lead us in directions we’d never otherwise think of!
I also love the practice of choosing a word or phrase to focus on in the year ahead.
This year, I actually have two. One I chose for myself, and the other kept showing up so much, it felt like something I needed to pay attention to.
So, the first word I chose for 2022 is “align.”
Focusing on alignment in my professional and personal life has been on my mind for a while now. I felt like I was a little all over the place in 2021 and processing so much new stuff, and now I’m excited to integrate and move forward with intention. I forgot I had chosen this word for 2020 as well, which is funny because, as I was going through it, I felt like my whole life veered wildly off-course after I had started the year with a very clear plan. Two years out, I can see how, in so many ways, that big shake-up had to happen in order to put me on track for even better things that I probably wouldn’t have been open to otherwise.
The second word that I’m bringing with me into the new year is “surrender.” To be honest, this is a word that makes me so uncomfortable. I’m a control freak, so this one has never been in my regular vocabulary, but over the past months, it has come up over and over again that I started to pay attention. Some of this is about letting go, some of it is about asking for help.
2021 was a major growing year, and one in which I went through a lot of changes (positive and challenging) that I then needed to figure out how to integrate them and adjust accordingly.
I also became aware of some major imbalances in my life and how they were impacting my physical, mental, and emotional health. Not living in our new house yet has also been hard. I didn’t even realize at first how much I had been tying to our living situation.
I’m an impatient person who wants everything to happen, like, yesterday, so I’m approaching the new year, I’m working a lot on being okay with small steps and surrendering that need to control so I can have more energy for what actually matters.
I’m also challenging my inner critic and anxiety demons by also asking myself the question, “What if everything works out?”
While a lot of this “word of the year” stuff is big-picture, I also think it’s important to set smaller goals too, and to check in with yourself at set times through the year. I do that monthly and quarterly, but you can obviously check in any time you feel called to. I just find that having those check-ins on my calendar helps me actually do it.
Are you setting an intention or choosing a word for 2022? I’d love to hear about it. Drop a comment or tag me in a story about it on Instagram.
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