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Setting A New Year Intention: A Ritual for The Festive Season

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

Setting goals for the New Year seemed like a great idea when I first discovered coaching but I as I journeyed through life I became aware of another more wholesome way to end the year and ritualising the start of another one. A new year intention is a little bit different to a goal in that it is more about the energy or motivation you're bringing to all your experiences and goal achievements rather than reaching one outcome or result that is in the future.

Goals have their place and can guide our activities with purpose and meaning but an intention is for every moment and speaks to what lies underneath.Once you've read the whole article and then I recommend trying this ritual. It will take about 30 minutes all up by all means take your own time and as long as you need to get really clear. I highly recommend doing this ritual on your own, with your partner or loves ones. Make a night of it and create a setting that feels right for you.

The Setting

Decorate the environment to suit the ritual much like we decorate the Christmas tree to celebrate the festive season in December. I like to use candles, burn my favourite oils and surround myself with objects I have collected from my favourite experiences in nature. An acorn, feathers from my winged kin, peddles from far shores I've explored, rose petals and more. I also love lots of large soft cushions, blankets and house plants surrounding me. If I'm outdoors like this year, a rug, shade from a tree, yoga mats and refreshments and a picnic were the perfect setting. You get the idea! Try not to be too performative with this part, just go for what feels right and avoid cultural appropriation. Remember your own roots, stay in your lane and do what is meaningful.

Preparing Your Mind

Before we move more deeply into the what and how of intention setting let's look at where we are right now. Perhaps taking some time and space to do a short meditation. A simple yet effective mindfulness practice can help us to slow down enough to listen deeply. Try the breathing meditation if you want a short and easy to follow instructions. You'll find it on my playlist in number one position

Reflect on the Year

Open your journal and begin to reflect more deeply on the past year. You can do this in a timeline by writing down all the significant moments that had a positive impact on you and seeing what you have done that hasn't been helpful. Being able to get a sense of what we would like to let go of coming into the new year can be really helpful for intention setting. But it’s important to do this enquiry with acceptance, compassion and gentleness. By being aware of it we might listen deeply within ourselves in our mindfulness practice to what might be more helpful for us moving forward.

New Year Intention

When you have identified the things you'd like to let go of that have been unhelpful this year see what the true longing in your heart is. The things you were really looking for and they are not necessarily material things but qualities, relationships or states of mind. For example I might be letting go of the behaviour of distracting myself and renewing my focus to approach life with a fresh sense of creativity. The intention is the energy behind what you're doing and it's the energy you put into everything you do and the way you seek out experiences.

Self Leadership

Once you establish your intention for example, "to be more creative in my approach" you can start to work out the different ways you might enable this intention to be front of mind. For me it might be practicing meditation in different ways, writing morning pages on new ways to be creative or seeking out creative experiences on a regular basis. If you create opportunities to touch on your intention you will continue to build momentum and bring more of it into your life.

Now it is time to give it a go. I recommend trying this little ritual on New Years day with your partner, children or close friends. I have done this ritual with a women's circle too and it worked really well. My partner and I have been setting new year years intention since we met and it is a fun way to bring us together and make our new years meaningful.


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