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How to Set Intentions for the New Year

With the holidays behind us, it’s time to start fresh with the new year ahead of us. The change in date creates the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year and set intentions for what you want to achieve in the coming one. To help you out, here are five steps on how to set intentions for the new year.

What are intentions?

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a friend about how she wasn’t really into setting New Year’s resolutions. Her reasoning was that most people don’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions. I get where she was coming from, and it is true that setting intentions for yourself in any year can be a hit or miss thing.

If you are someone who likes to set intentions at least part of your motivation is probably tied into some belief about having a positive impact on your future. After all, setting intentions is a way of making clear in our minds what we want to happen and how we want things to unfold. If you know what you want, then it’s easier to work towards getting there. But sometimes we don’t even know where we want our lives or careers headed and that can be scary too.

Why do we set them?

To make sure we follow through on our goals, no matter how big or small they are. It is important to take a few minutes each day and reflect on your past behavior, where you have come from and what you want to achieve. This helps keep us focused on our intentions so that we can work harder towards them. If we don’t do it now then when will we? The new year is upon us and its time to create some positive changes in your life.

Having Intentions Changes Our World

If we want our life to feel better and work out in a way that makes us happy, we have to set our intentions on it. The reason behind why people don’t reach their goals is that they don’t set clear intentions. When setting your intention you want something that works for you not against you. You should be using words like I intend... rather than I wish... In order for these words to work, you must believe them and know them.

It won’t matter if you say these things over and over if you do not mean what you are saying. Setting an intention helps with creating an environment of positivity instead of negativity. This takes effort because many times we can catch ourselves being negative or just plain letting things get to us. By taking time every morning before getting out of bed and putting yourself into a positive state can assist with changing your outlook on life.

Examples of Intentional Actions

(These are only examples. Feel free to write your own intentions and make them fit into your life.) Give more hugs / kiss my partner more often / spend time with family weekly / take my kids out on a date. Slow down, meditate, and breathe more deeply. Get more sleep each night. Call an old friend I haven’t spoken with in years. Go back to school or get retrained for a new career path.

By being intentional, you’re taking control of your life and putting yourself in a position to grow, learn, and experience new things. Intention is a powerful force that we have all around us, but only some of us are able to harness it.

Tips to Help you Set Effective Intentions

Goal-setting is a year-round activity. Some of us might set goals for New Years, others prefer setting them on their birthday or during major life events. Regardless of when you decide to set goals, it's important that you do so - even if it's something as simple as I want to spend more time with my family or I want to eat healthier. This exercise can help increase your self-awareness and prepare you to succeed in all areas of your life!

To help you set more effective intentions, here are a few tips you can use:

  • Determine your values. What do you value most in life?

  • Be specific. Avoid vague statements like I want to be rich or I want to be healthy. Instead, identify specific outcomes that relate to your values and personal goals.

  • Focus on progress, not perfection. In his book The Miracle Morning , Hal Elrod talks about an exercise where you rate yourself from 1-10 in different areas of your life - relationships, finances, fitness and so on - with 10 being a perfect score in all areas. Then you set out to achieve 8s and 9s within a year! That way you're celebrating incremental success instead of beating yourself up over what's not right yet.

  • Have accountability. Tell someone about your goals and hold yourself accountable by reporting back on your progress.

  • Track your progress. You can do it manually or with a tracking tool like Fitocracy or Lift . You don't have to share your results with anyone, but having tangible proof of your progress will keep you motivated and inspired. That way you're celebrating incremental success instead of beating yourself up over what's not right yet.

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