How to Set a Powerful Intention For the New Year


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how to set a powerful intention for the new year

Happy New Year friends! We’ve just entered “Sweet 16” – the new moniker of 2016 I’ve seen floating around the interwebs. And I have to say, I kinda like it. There’s something pure, kind, playful and hopeful to it – all positive attributes to kick off a new year!

But the beginning of a new year also spurs the need to set resolutions, goals and lofty ambitions. Are you feeling it? For years and years we’ve been trained to make lists, prioritize goals and if we’re good, even give ourselves delicious, motivating rewards. Something along the lines of “do this…and get that.”

But this year, instead of declaring resolutions (which are typically short sighted and often fizzle out before the end of February – you’ve seen the gym, right?), let me offer some advice. Focus instead on setting positive intentions!

So what’s an intention?

An intention is an aim or manifestation that aligns to your dreams and desires. It motivates positive action and creates a powerful mindset which helps you stay the course. Think of it this way, it’s the compass to your map. Yes, of course I have a travel analogy!

Your map has a destination – and you know where that destination is. Heck, you can see the little dot. But without your trusty compass, you might head northeast instead of northwest and get yourself all kinds of lost. Your compass keeps you headed in the right direction and is integral in helping you reach your destination.

In that example, the destination is what we typically think of as a goal. A well-defined, future-focused outcome. But trust me on this one, the intention is where it’s at! The intention isn’t tangible like the goal, but it’s the guiding principle, feeling and motivation you’re committing to. It’s the thing that gives you the warm and fuzzies. And when you say it out loud, it seriously lights you up!

To reach your destination, instead of saying, “I want to go on vacation,” you might have said, “my intention is to refuel my soul through an amazing journey of cultures, landscapes and experiences.” Now imagine waking up and saying that every morning? It’s a little bit of bliss and a whole lot of powerful, don’t you think?

So how do you set an intention the right way? Here’s a few tips:

  1. Keep it positive and make it affirmative // Don’t use words like “want” “hope” “I’d like” “should” and so on. Place your stake in the sand and use language that affirms you WILL do it. Start your intention by saying, “I will” or “My intention is to” and phrase it in a positive manner. So instead of saying, “I will stop wasting energy on those who don’t believe in me,” say “I will surround myself with positive, uplifting soul-sisters who share and value my dreams.” Sounds much better, right?
  2. Keep it simple and focus on key words // Once you start brainstorming your intention it’s easy to get carried away – especially with all the goodness I know you desire. So instead of writing a paragraph of dream-inducing language, keep it short and sweet. A simple sentence that you can memorize and repeat every morning or a few key words that embody your intention. On the above example, you might distill your intention (and the daily habits that support it) down to feeling “positive, uplifted and valued.”
  3. Say it, visualize it and put it to paper // When you wake up each morning, close your eyes say your intention out loud. Hear your own voice, visualize it and believe wholeheartedly in your words. To kick your intention up a notch, create a vision board and place in a location that you’ll see every day. Make it the backdrop on your computer or even use those words as an updated password for the year. If you’re saying, seeing and typing it every day, it’ll be amplified 1000 times. 
  4. Share it and declare it from the mountaintops // There’s no point in keeping your intention all to yourself. Share it with family, friends and loved ones. Let them in on your intention and what you’re gonna bring more of into your life. Sharing it and declaring it adds accountability (always a good thing!) and may even inspire them to create one for themselves. Remember, positivity spreads! 

What is your intention for the year? If you saw my post on Instagram, you saw that my intention is to feel abundant, connected and boundless in 2016. I’d love to hear yours! Share in the comments below.


About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Such great advice and a great method for truly making progress in the new year! My intention for the year is to make sure that I nourish myself adequately and that I don’t over-exercise. Still working on true balance and getting healthier (I’m still very underweight, so I have a long way to go; but I’m staying positive on my health journey!). Wishing you the best in 2016, and I look forward to more great posts and inspiration from you!

    1. Feeling nourished is a beautiful intention, Liz! Especially as that spans both food and lifestyle. I’m sending you happy thoughts for a wonderfully nourished 2016! xo