I love the optimism that accompanies a new year. There’s something so empowering about having the entire year laid out before you, knowing that it’s within your power to choose your own narrative and outcomes.
With 2022 drawing to a close, now is the perfect time to check in with yourself. Look at everything around you—your relationships with friends and family, your professional career, your love life, your outlook, your happiness, and your truths. What’s gone well for you this year? What do you want the next 12 months to be?
To set ourselves up for success, fulfillment, and mental strength, we need to approach this new year in the right way. Usually, we half-commit to a resolution that we know deep down won’t stick. Hands up if you’re guilty of that—I know I am. Instead, let’s set intentions. Whether it’s making time for meditation, spending more time outside, or actually sticking with your skincare routine, intentions are my secret for personal progress.
What do I mean? Let’s walk through the process and set you up for a fantastic 2023!
Resolutions versus intentions
When it comes to resolutions, we often set ambitious new goals without a second thought about how we’re going to get there. We say we want to lose weight, eat healthier, or learn a new language. But the lack of structure or strategy leaves us feeling overwhelmed. We wonder why we end up falling off the bandwagon by the time spring rolls around.
Such an all-or-nothing approach might work for some people, but for many of us, it only sets us up to fail. It becomes something else to beat ourselves up about, rather than staying focused on the positive end result we’re actually craving.
This is why I prefer setting intentions. Where resolutions are specific and loaded with ‘good’ or ‘bad’ connotations, intentions are much softer. They’re based on how you feel on the inside, and they bring you further along your journey to personal growth. They set you up for long-term success, fulfillment, and will help you feel more connected to yourself on a daily basis.
Lead with compassion
No matter your goals for the year, I encourage you to approach 2023 with a more compassionate mindset. We often focus on all that we lack. But that negativity and pressure doesn’t get us anywhere, which is probably why only 9% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. Try to be kinder to yourself when thinking about what to focus on this year. There are better ways to inspire and improve yourself than by coming up with a list of what you’re lacking in your life. Why not focus on what brought you joy last year and think about how you could expand this more in 2023?
Setting your intentions
Here’s a quick list of tips to start your intention setting well:
- Uncover your why. There are going to be moments over the next year that test your motivation and resilience, which is why it’s important to figure out exactly why this intention is so important to you. What will it help you achieve? How does it fit into the bigger picture of your personal growth?
- Start small. Giving yourself 10 intentions right off the bat is only going to overwhelm you and stunt your progress. The trick is to start small and devote all your time and energy to seeing each goal through. Maybe give yourself a new intention every month or every quarter.
- Keep yourself accountable. Self-improvement is a huge test of our discipline. With no one watching over us, it’s all too easy to stop when the going gets tough. I personally find it helpful to write my intentions and affirmations down and keep them somewhere I’ll see them every day, such as on my bathroom mirror or at the front of my journal. This way, I’m frequently reminded of what I want to achieve. Sharing your goals with someone you trust is also just as useful for holding yourself to account.
Setting your affirmations
There will be times when you falter. After all, self-improvement is a journey with ups and downs. That’s why I pair my intentions with affirmations. They’re the boost of motivation I need to stay committed. But what makes a good affirmation?
- Start with “I” or “my” so they feel personal to you.
- Keep them grounded in the present moment. We want to channel some ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ energy here.
- Make sure to link it to your intention
- Tie your intention to a daily action. This way, it becomes another part of your day—a new habit.
Let’s look at an example you might have. Say your intention is you want 2023 to be a brighter, happier year. Here’s what it could look like:
Intention: Happiness. May I find happiness with any experience.
Affirmation: I choose happiness, even in the small and tough moments.
By repeating the affirmation, you help your brain spot new opportunities aligned with your intentions.
I hope you take this next month to prioritize yourself and think about where you’ve been and where you’d like to go next. When it comes to setting your goals for the next year, remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself. Approaching your self-development from a positive, empowered perspective is always going to bring better, longer-lasting results.
Think of your skincare routine as a chance to slow down, realign, and focus on your intentions, recentering your mindset before moving forward.