Setting Intention for a Mindful New Year

December 14, 2021

“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

Parker J. Palmer

New year, new goals. The unfortunate truth is that most New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it far out of the gate. The excitement and motivation for change wanes quickly in the late weeks of January, a distant memory by March. The problem is not in goal-setting itself; it’s that we don’t ask ourselves why. Why do I want to read 50 books, organize the garage, or lose weight? Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves who do I want to be and how can I live accordingly.

Instead of looking at changing a behavior, consider setting a compass for how you want to live by reflecting on your personal values and setting an intention for the new year.  Here are some of the steps I take to set a New Year’s intention.

Reflect on the past.

In 2021, what were some of your personal triumphs?

Name three values you lived by last year.

Looking forward, what would you like to have more of? What experiences do you want to build on?  What are you ready to let go of?

Find inspiration in the present. Throughout your daily activities, collect words and images that speak to you.  What do these things represent to you? How do they represent who you want to be in the upcoming year?

Set your intention for the future. 

Pick one word or short phrase. Thinking about where you’ve been and where you would like to go, what one word comes to mind? Look through the images and words you have saved. Lift each one up in front of you, one at a time. Which do you feel aligned with?

Choose one word that will stick with you for 365 days, guiding the changes that you seek. Keep it taped somewhere where you will see it every day. I usually choose a place above my coffee pot or on my desk.

In this next year, you will pick your path one choice at a time. With each new day, ask yourself what you are doing to align yourself with the intention that you set. This is not about doing or accomplishing. It is about connecting with the person that you wish to be—the person that you likely already are.

Brianne Rehac, LMHC