Setting Intentions

As we begin a new year, I wonder how people are generally feeling. My curiosity is partially due to the past several years, which for many, have been particularly challenging. It seems that as we begin 2023, there may be a renewed sense of hope and excitement. For others, it may be that the weight of recent years remains heavy and has crossed over into the new year. From wherever we may be right now, we could set an intention to help create a kind tone for the new year.

An intention may be thought of as a gentle vow that could help us move in the direction of personal growth we hope to embrace. While this time of year is known for resolutions or lofty goals, which can imply that something is ‘wrong’ and needs ‘fixing,’ intentions take a different tone. Intentions provide space for understanding that we are imperfect human beings, and while we aspire to live with intention, it is okay to make mistakes. In this way, setting an intention may feel like less pressure than setting a specific goal which could imply ‘success’ or ‘failure’ depending on achievement.

Let’s consider steps that may help us set a meaningful intention In the new year.


We could start by bringing mindfulness to our experiences. Mindfulness can be a powerful tool that may help us become more aware of our moment-to-moment experiences. Increased awareness about our inner and outer worlds can be beneficial when we are trying to better understand the types of thoughts and actions that could contribute to , , or . These may be examples of the types of experiences where we desire change, which may make them good places to set intentions.

For example, “Cindy” doesn’t enjoy going to social events because she feels a lot of pressure to ‘have it all together’ – the perfect job, relationship, and self-care routine. Cindy is aware (using mindfulness to notice) that because of this perceived pressure, social gatherings often cause her significant anxiety.

Meaningful Change

We could continue by considering what change we want to see – what do I want to bring to the experience that could add meaning to my life? As we embrace challenging or difficult experiences with intention, the intention can serve as a compass that may steer us in a direction of growth.

For example, Cindy practices ‘letting go’ of perceived pressure and recognizes her desire to connect with others. She sets an intention to aim for meaningful connection with others when she is at social gatherings. Focusing on what she wants to bring to social events (an intention to connect) helps her move in the direction of change that contributes to fulfillment in her life.


Setting an intention does not mean growth will be perfect or clearly marked as ‘complete.’ As imperfect human beings, we will make mistakes and fail. Self-Compassion, a practice of offering kindness and understanding to ourselves, can be our ally when we veer off course. As meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg has said, “we can always begin again.”

For example, old pressure crept in for Cindy and she decided to skip a friend’s birthday party because she felt anxious. Cindy offered herself understanding that social gatherings can still be challenging for her, despite the progress she has made connecting with others. She gave herself permission to realign with her intention of connection at the next party.

An intention can encourage us to practice self-compassion, focus on future growth, and move on from mistakes.

Tomorrow presents a new opportunity.

Let’s Grow

If you would like support letting go and moving forward with intention, reach out for a free 15-minute informational consultation. I want to support my clients on their journey.


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