Setting Powerful Intentions for a Fulfilling New Year: A Step-by-Step Guide (PDF + Video)

By Madeline Farquharson, CPCC

As we embrace this fresh chapter, it's the perfect time to talk about setting intentions that resonate with our deepest desires. Gone are the days of rigid resolutions that feel more like a chore than a choice.

I recently led an intention-setting workshop, and guess what? I'm here to spill the beans so you can craft your very own roadmap to a fulfilling year. Ready to dive in? Let's get started!

Before we start, you can download the free worksheet to go with this article below!

You can also listen to or watch the video version of the article.

Why Intentions Triumph Over Resolutions

Let's face it – resolutions often end up forgotten by February. Why? They're rigid and don't account for life's curveballs. Intentions, on the other hand, are like your personal north star, guiding you with flexibility and kindness. They focus on how you want to 'be' rather than just what you want to 'do', allowing you to adapt and thrive in a constantly changing world.

The Magic of Setting Intentions: Mental Flexibility

Intentions are about shaping your mindset and approach to life. They're not about ticking boxes; they're about evolving each day, week, and month in a way that aligns with your core values. It's like choosing the scenic route on a road trip – you're not just rushing to the destination, but savoring every twist and turn of the journey.

For example, in 2023, my biggest "being" intention was to invite in SPACIOUSNESS. If I had just started my year with a "to do" list, I would have ended up with things such as going for more walks, saying no more, etc. And if I "failed" at those things, my resolutions would have gone out the door.

By focusing on the "being" of spaciousness and making it an intention, I could ask myself day over day: how can I honor this today? Some days, yes, that would have looked like a walk. Other days, it would be eating out to buy myself some time.

The Wheel of Life: Your Blueprint for Balance

Here's where the fun begins! The Wheel of Life is an incredible tool used in coaching and therapy. It helps you take a bird's-eye view of your life's domains, like relationships, finances, and personal growth. No printer? No problem! Just grab a pen, draw a circle, and divide it into slices – as many as you need to represent the different areas of your life.

Scoring Your Life Domains

Each slice gets a score from 1 to 10. One signals "as unbalanced as it gets," and ten means "no room for improvement." But remember, this isn't about self-judgment; it's about awareness. Maybe you're at a 5 in relationships and a 4 in personal growth. That's your starting point, not a verdict on your worth.

Prioritizing and Setting Realistic Goals

Now, let's talk priorities. You can't juggle everything at once, and that's okay. Maybe this year, boosting your career from a 6 to an 8 is more pressing than upping your fitness score. It's all about choosing what matters most to you right now.

Take a moment and choose your next ideal score. Would we all like to be at 9's or 10's across the board? Yeah! That would be awesome. Is it realistic? Less so.

One of the lovely humans who took our intention-setting workshop suggested starting with 15 total points for improvement. You have to distribute them according to what matters most to you right now.

Crafting Your Success Recipe

Here's where it gets personal. For each domain, think about the qualities or "ingredients" you need to improve your score. Seeking a better work-life balance? Ingredients might include discipline, creativity, or mindfulness. It's like building your own success recipe – unique and tailored to your taste.

Some suggestions for ingredients are in the worksheet. You can also find a few here:

  1. Mindfulness: Being present and fully engaged in the current moment.
  2. Resilience: The ability to recover quickly from difficulties or setbacks.
  3. Empathy: Understanding and sharing the feelings of others.
  4. Gratitude: A sense of thankfulness and appreciation for what you have.
  5. Creativity: The ability to think outside the box and generate new ideas.
  6. Discipline: The practice of training oneself to follow rules or a code of behavior.
  7. Courage: The ability to face fear, pain, or uncertainty.
  8. Flexibility: The willingness to adapt or change one's approach when necessary.
  9. Compassion: Deep awareness of the suffering of others coupled with the wish to relieve it.
  10. Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
  11. Joyfulness: A state of happiness or delight.
  12. Perseverance: Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
  13. Self-awareness: Conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
  14. Balance: The ability to maintain a healthy equilibrium in your life or approach.
  15. Kindness: The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Macro vs. Micro: Two Ways to Tackle Your Wheel

At this point in the journey, there's kind of a choose-your-own adventure. You can take the macro look at your life or the micro look at your life.

We're gonna start with the macro first. The macro version is to look at your entire wheel of life and all of the beautiful ingredients.

Did any repeat?

Are there any patterns?

Are there any ingredients in particular that are really calling out to you?

For the next step, you can choose three to five of them.

It doesn't mean that you can't have the others involved, it's just easier to work with when you have only a few.

If you choose to go the micro route, take one wedge and choose three to five, and then you can repeat this process for all of the other wedges.

Spotting Roadblocks and Building Bridges

On a fresh sheet of paper, or on the next page of the workbook, Put your three to five ingredients at the top so you know what you're focusing on.

And then we're going to ask ourselves two very important questions.

If I were to honor {INGREDIENT} what would that look like? How would I be showing up? What might someone see me doing? That's one category.

The other side of it is, if I were honoring {INGREDIENT} what might get in my way?

This essentially creates your out and in list. Out being the things that you're going to let go of, which are the things that might get in your way.

And in being the things that you're going to be inviting in. These might be states of mind or actual activities. What's really important is to remember that these are only ideas. These are only things that are coming to our mind right now.

We're giving ourselves permission to change our mind, to build in flexibility and to know that when life happens, we might have different ideas or things that seemed possible originally might not be possible anymore. That's okay.

Daily Ingredients for a Joyful Journey

Now you have a great list of things that you can draw from to honor these intentions. And you can change it every day. When you wake up in the morning ask yourself:

What ingredient is the greatest asset to my day? What could I really use more of knowing what's ahead?

Then, brainstorm again. If I were to honor {INGREDIENT} what might that look like? What might get in my way?

Conclusion: Where To Go From Here

Setting intentions is a dynamic, personal process. It's not a one-size-fits-all formula but a journey of self-discovery and growth. Remember, the aim is not perfection but progress. Explore, experiment, and most importantly, be kind to yourself along the way.

Additional Resources Looking for more inspiration or tools to help you on your journey? Check out these resources for deeper dives into personal development and intention setting.

New Year, True North: Setting Transformative Intentions for 2024

Show Notes
Episode 35

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