As December comes to a close, we bid farewell to another chapter. But where we’re going is a catalyst of where we’ve been. There’s a delicate balance between acknowledging 2021 (for all it was—or wasn’t) while focusing on what lies ahead. Your 2022 lens is a culmination of the past: ups and downs, milestones, traumas, and more. Given circumstances, you might be anything from hopeful and curious to pessimistic and unsure. And while everyone approaches the new year differently, today I’m sharing how to set intentions for 2022. This guide isn’t about strict resolutions or seeking external validation. Neither of these are sustainable. Rather, creating intentions are about tapping into your unique needs and wants. New year, evolved you.
Intentions vs. Resolutions
Another trip around the sun, another batch of, “I resolve to…” We all know the drill: we seek goals like a specific number on the scale, a particular salary, or quitting caffeine. And once these things happen, we expect our lives to magically transform. That’s often not the case, though. Most resolutions are unattainable and superficial. They set us up for failure. Instead, I encourage you to turn to intention-setting. It’s a gentler, more realistic approach. In essence, intention-setting is less about a specific goal and more about a mindset shift. This habit-forming shift helps you achieve your goals.
A resolution might look like…
- Meditate 5 times a week for 10 minutes each
- Avoid sugar
- Reconnect with an old hobby
And here are their corresponding intentions…
- Develop a calm mind
- Live more healthfully
- Make more time for creativity and play
Why do resolutions fail?
Studies show 45% of Americans usually set New Year’s resolutions. But a mere 8% of people actually end up reaching those goals. The problem? Shooting for ambitious new goals (without a strategy) often sets you up for failure. We get so excited about the end goal, we forget about the steps we need to take to actually get there. It’s about the journey—not the destination.
But, what are resolutions? In essence, they’re goals. Great in theory, but they can subtly set you up for failure. As mentioned, they don’t include a plan for how to achieve your resolutions. Intentions, however, are more like a how-to for making your life better. They’re about forming everyday habits: a way to keep you accountable in the process. While a resolution tethers you to the future with no clear path forward, an intention grounds you in the present. Intentions aren’t nearly as black and white as resolutions.
How to set intentions for the new year
Without further ado, here are seven ways to set intentions for the new year. This guide provides structure and encourages a practical approach.
REFLECT ON YOUR WINS AND LOSSES
In a situation like the new year, moving forward requires reflecting on the past. What went well? What went awry? What did you accomplish that you never thought you could? If you were to do 2021 all over again, what would you change? Let these reflections—your wins and losses—fuel your intentions for 2022. Write them down. Creating a list for your wins and a list for your losses. They can be big, small, and everything in between.
Think about how you want to feel in the new year
We are often so hyper-focused on titles, salaries, projects, etc. that we neglect to think about how we want to feel in the new year. Do you want to feel empowered? Proud? Strong? Smart? Get specific. Let your feelings dictate your goals. While this may seem counterintuitive, consider this: your goal is to get promoted in 2022. Come April, you achieve this. You’re now managing five people and have increased your salary by $10,000. Incredible, right? Not so fast. In some cases, it’s the job of a lifetime. In other cases, it comes with a slew of emotions you weren’t prepared for. With that promotion (responsibility) comes potential stress, feeling burned out, a lack of balance, and more. However, if your intentions are centered on finding happiness and fulfillment in your career, you’re on the right path.
Find Your WHy
Like considering how you want to feel in the new year, you need to find your why. Ultimately, it will serve as your point of reference for all your actions and decisions in 2022. It will allow you to measure your progress and know when you have met your goals. Unsure of your why? Read this article for more books on discovering your purpose.
Consider what brings you joY
The law of attraction states that by focusing on the things that bring you joy, you’ll bring more positive experiences into your life—so give it a try. Get out a notepad and write down the things you’re passionate about. What brings you happiness and gives you purpose? Doing so will teach you a valuable lesson—to prioritize actions that the future you will be grateful for. No one looks back at their life and regrets spending time doing what’s fulfilling to them. If you know something won’t matter to you at the end of 2022, don’t focus on it throughout the year. This seems simple enough, but we often get caught up in friendships, work tasks, to-dos, etc. that don’t bring us joy. Make 2022 the year that you set boundaries around your happiness.
Create a Vision Board
A good visual never hurt anyone. Plus, creating it is often therapeutic. Make a board with clippings of words, phrases, and images that serves as a reminder of your intentions. Your vision board will keep you motivated. Tip: make sure to keep your vision board somewhere you can easily see it every day.
Come up with a mantra for the new year
Once you have your intentions (whether it’s one or five or 10), come up with a short mantra incorporating some of the things you’ve written down. Instead of resolving to lose weight, what you can say is, ‘I intend to practice self care daily.’ Or, if you want to have $5,000 in your savings by the end of 2022, your mantra can be, ‘I will become more disciplined with my finances.’ Your mantra can even be just one word—like patience, loyalty, love, or openness.
Share Your intentions with a friend, partner, or role model
Find someone important in your life who knows and supports you. Tell them about your intentions—because while intentions may make us more responsible for our actions, we’re all bound to have slip-ups. A friend or mentor can help get you back on track. Especially when you find yourself thinking negatively or are struggling to stay in the present. This person can also cheer you on as you celebrate your small wins.
And with that, what are your 2022 intentions? Leave me a comment below.
Images courtesy of Unsplash.