How To Set A Meaningful Intention For The New Year

Photographed by Kara Birnbaum.
Right now, there's a good chance you're getting bombarded by "New Year, new you" messages from everyone from your gym to that wellness influencer you follow on Instagram. Maybe you're feeling jaded about the year that hasn't even started yet, or just annoyed by the prospect of making a resolution.
The thing is, come January, most of us do experience an inevitable refresh, says Tanya Richardson, angel intuitive and author of Angel Insights. "We all get this real boost of spiritual, psychic, wonderful energy from the universe, where we really do get a fresh start, and we feel some momentum," she says. This shift is something that Richardson says she notices with clients every January. "You could say it's astrology, but there's an energy that's sweeping through all of our lives," she says. So, it's not just the cultural cues telling you to start anew, it's also the universe.
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Along with this rejuvenation, it's only natural to make intentions or resolutions that involve your physical wellbeing, says Amy B. Scher, expert in mind-body healing and author of How To Heal Yourself When No One Else Can. "People tend to look at the diet and lifestyle first because in a way, it’s easier than looking at the truth of how we feel," she says. "Because what then?"
Of course, deciding to examine your emotional energy and make some positive intentions requires more time than, say, vowing to lift heavy weights or meal prep more. If you're not sure where to begin when crafting your New Year's intention, ahead are some tips from Scher and Richardson.
1 of 5

Broaden your intentions.

Broaden your intentions.

This sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes having a narrow, specific goal can be detrimental and lead you to disappointment, Richardson says. "I think the broader the intention, and more holistic, the more nourishing, the greater chance you have of actually seeing yourself making real gains throughout the year," she says. Focusing on one thing can be self-sabotaging, so aim to make your intentions general and achievable.
2 of 5

Don't judge yourself.

Don't judge yourself.

Scher suggests asking yourself this tough question: If I wasn't afraid of what anyone would say or think, what would I want or feel? "As human beings, we are often swayed by what we think we should do," she says. "Taking our fear of judgment out of the equation can really bring a sense of clarity." Envision a world in which no one cares what you choose to do, and go from there.
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Don't dwell on the past.

Don't dwell on the past.

It's important to look back and reflect on your year, but only so that you can course-correct, Richardson says. "When you're always looking in your rear-view mirror, you're obviously missing what's happening right now in the present moment, but also you keep yourself trapped in a pattern where you keep recreating that," she says. Instead of wishing you would have done things differently, or framing your goals as bad habits you need to correct, allow yourself the opportunity to step into a new experience, she says.
4 of 5

Use the present tense.

Use the present tense.

Phrase your intention as if it's happening right now, Richardson says. So, instead of saying, "I will," start your intentions with "I am." Wording matters a lot whenever you're making a goal, and it can affect the energy and opportunities that are brought to you, she says. "It’s not so great to think of it happening in the future, think of it happening now," she says.
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Let your goals evolve.

Let your goals evolve.

Remember: You're allowed to change your mind and change your own "rules," Scher says. "It can be a huge stressor when we force ourselves to stick with a goal instead of allowing ourselves to be in the flow," she says. Instead of checking in with your goals at certain intervals, just notice how things unfold, she says. "Maybe what you feel or want has changed. Let yourself have that luxury."
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