How to Set a New Year’s Intention (and how it is different than a New Year’s Resolution)

As we enter the new year, we are presented with a fresh start and an opportunity to set New Year’s resolutions…and honestly, probably fail at them too. It sounds like a negative way to start 2023, but the reality is that very few New Year’s resolutions are carried out through December. 

Giving yourself a problem you didn’t have before is what New Year’s resolutions are about at their core, and this can lead to living each year the same way, and truly not understanding why nothing has changed by the time the end of the year rolls around. In order to change your 2023, you need to live each day with intention and focus on the process of a valuable goal rather than setting one and forgetting about it until it is time to do the exact same thing for another 365 days.

I have started setting intentions for my year rather than sporadic goals, and I have already seen improvements. It has been 10 days. A resolution I might have given myself the timeline of a year for in the past, I have reframed into a daily intention, and have already completed it and am ready to focus on what is next. 

The first step in setting a New Year’s intention is to understand why it is different from a resolution. The main difference between the two is that an intention is value focused, while a resolution is solution focused. 

The first step to setting an intention is to decide what adds and takes away value from your life, and get a clear idea on how you intend to respectively make those changes. For example, I value my physical and mental health. They are something I want to focus on improving this year. 

It is incredibly important to not try and make a hundred changes at once. People will often set many new year’s resolutions and try to change their entire lives just because the date reads January 1st. One of the benefits to an intention is that you are constantly reminded of it and can focus on one thing at a time. 

Creating a sentence that is specific and without a deadline is the next step in setting a New Year’s intention. Once you grasp what you value and want for your year, you can solidify it through an affirmation that focuses on process rather than an end goal. 

I know being mentally and physically healthy adds value to my life, so this year I am going to wake up every day and intend to make calculated and conscious decisions that will help me continue to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Being intentional with your thoughts, actions, and words will take you much further than setting a goal you will overdo for two weeks and then forget about. 

A crucial step in differentiating a resolution and an intention is to make your intentions real and present! One example of this is a vision board. Setting the intention is fairly simple, but what will make it come to life is how you display it as a daily reminder. This is where you can kind of go crazy and see your intended year manifest before your eyes. 

You can make your vision board digitally or physically, but either way you want to make it specific. Collect images and quotes you would like to implement into your life, and make a collage. Keep it in a place where you can see it every day, and when you do review your affirmations and intend to live what is on your board. I keep mine as my phone background, but you could frame it in your room or fold it in your wallet. This will remind you of the ways you wanted to show up for yourself when the year started. 

Setting intentions can be a process, but you will see your goals come to life when they are completed from a place of intention versus a place of pressure. 

Resolutions are false promises with few reminders and constant disappointment, while intentions are consistent as they turn into actions, which produce end results.

What do you want out of 2023? As you answer that, avoid setting it as an end goal, and instead be intentional about the process everyday.