The Ultimate Guide for Setting Intentions for the New Year

breaking habits change compassion happy new year intention setting journaling exercises mindset neuroscience new year intentions wheel of life Jan 02, 2023
Intention Setting for the New Year

Happy New Year Everyone!! It’s the beginning of January and a perfect time to set your intentions for the new year ahead. A great question to ask yourself is what do I want to call into my life this year?


It has been forever ingrained in our minds at the beginning of January, every new year, that it is time to change and set goals for the year ahead. The beginning of January does have a different feel about it. It has this fresh energy within the collective that signals to us that we have a chance to begin again and move towards changing into the best version of ourselves. Even though January is a great month to hit the reset button on our lives, it’s a really great reminder that we have the power to change at any time of day, day of the week, time of the month or year. We can consciously choose to change whenever we decide to do so. We do not need to wait until the start of a new year to do so.


New Year Resolution vs Intention




We can easily get caught up in our new year resolutions. Studies show that about 1/3 of new year resolutions do not make it past the first month of January. The definition of a resolution is the firm decision to do something or to not do something. The mindset around having a resolution feels restricting. Having a resolution has an all or none vibe to it and the decisions that we are to make in the new year. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for grace or compassion towards reaching our new year goals. A resolution sets us up to either succeed or fail at what we are wanting to call into our lives this new year. 


When thinking about what we want to change in our resolutions – it comes down to the big picture future items like quitting smoking, saving money, losing weight, or clearing up acne. All of these goals take time and small daily action steps to achieve the desired result. They are not quick fix goals. We can overwhelm ourselves when focusing too much on the end results and not planning out the steps on how we get to our desired result.




The definition of intention is a thing intended; an aim or plan to carry out. Using the word intention allows space for a better mindset instead of the all or none mindset when using the term resolution. Having an intention allows us the compassion and grace to plan our way to our desired results. This drops the pressure of needing that quick fix and demanding results now from ourselves. You can make daily, weekly and monthly intentions instead of one huge resolution that is all or nothing. When setting an intention, it allows us to fall down and get back up again and keep moving forward. Setting an intention honours the process and the journey from getting where you are now to where you want to go. It’s not looking at just the future and final results of whether or not you’ve lost the 30 lbs as either a success or failure. There is no such thing as failure when you are setting an intention, as long as you are continuing to move forward.


How Long Does It Take to Develop a New Habit?


We also tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to break and change our habits. Research shows it takes 40 days to create a new habit. That means it takes 40 days to strengthen the neural pathways in the brain for establishing a new habit. 40% of what we do is on autopilot. When our habits are on autopilot whether they are positive or negative, it helps our brains to save energy. When our habits are unfavourable, it takes time to get our habits out of autopilot mode and create the new desired pathways in the brain for our new favourable habits. The more a habit is reinforced, the more embedded in the brain it gets. Slow and steady progress makes huge positive changes overtime to the brain’s neural pathways.


Journal Exercises to Help with Your Intention Setting This Year


Take out your journal and work through these following questions to guide you in your intention setting for the year!


  1. Wheel of Life.The wheel of life exercise is a helpful tool to encompass all areas of your life that you can start setting your intentions around. The wheel of life has 8 categories that can be used as a guide to help you set intentions in these various areas of your life. In each of the 8 sections, describe what an extraordinary life would feel like in each area. Get clear and focused on the steps you need to take for closing the gap between where you are right now and your ideal life. You can also rate your current satisfaction in each area of your life from 0-10. 0 being not satisfied and 10 meaning highly satisfied. The rating is about getting an idea of which particular areas in your life you may need to focus your attention on more to have a more satisfying life.  

 Journal Prompts continued... 

  1. What is one word to describe what you’re calling in this year?
  2. Create an I am affirmation for the year?
  3. How do you want to feel this coming year?


4 Tips for Keeping You on Track to Reach Your Intentions this Year!  


  1. Seek Support. Having an accountability partner helps to gain the support and accountability that can help us stay on track to achieve our goals. When sharing your intention with someone else, it ensures they can be there to check in on your progress and celebrate your wins along the way.
  2. Know Your Why. Why do you want what you want? Your why is the driving force behind your success. Your why will keep you motivated and be your driving force to keep you on track during the challenging and tough times. It is important to get clear on why you are ready to take action and embark to your journey towards your goals and intentions this new year.
  3. Visualization. Use visualization techniques to help you visualize and imagine achieving your intentions right now. Visualization techniques is a form of meditation, with your eyes closed, where you can imagine yourself on a movie screen living out your best life. See yourself in as much detail as possible from the sounds you hear, how you are feeling, your facial expressions, and who is surrounding you. Imagine your goal already being completed. Seeing the goal already completed in your mind’s eye is a key technique to harness the power of the subconscious mind. When you start to visualize your goals as complete if creates conflict in the subconscious mind between what you are visualizing and your current reality. Your mind will work towards creating a current reality that matches the one you have envisioned. Completing your visualizations daily, even for 10 minutes, will guide you towards your desired results. Remember repetition is key.
  4.  Schedule. Schedule time into your day or week for action steps to help get you closer to your goals. How can you prioritize yourself in your calendar to reflect what needs to happen? To show up for yourself and to create space in your life for what you want. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King. Being able to take small daily action steps towards your goals will lead you in the right direction.   



Happy Intention Setting,

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