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Intention Setting For The New Year

Let go of the past and look ahead to 2020 with these simple exercises!

Ok, ok… admittedly, some of you may be thinking “oh great, yet another resolutions post.” But, we promise this one is different. As the year (and the decade) winds down, we want to arm you with some super simple yet super effective tools for reflection, turning mistakes into lessons, letting go of any regrets, and planning for an incredibly fulfilling year ahead!


Before we make an ambitious list of resolutions, many of us first need to come to grips with the fact that we may not have achieved everything we had set out to over the past 12 months. But, guess what? That’s totally ok. 

It’s important to let go of any guilt or regret in order to make the most of the opportunity the new year presents for a brand new fresh start. 

It may seem cliche, but if you look closely enough, every so-called “mistake” you think you may have made probably has a lesson attached. Here’s a simple exercise to prove it:

  • Grab a notebook/piece of paper and pen/pencil (we promise going analog for this rather than typing it is more effective, but the “notes” in your phone will suffice otherwise)

  • Make 2 columns: left = mistake/regret, right = lesson/takeaway

  • Fill out the first (left) column with every possible mistake/regret you may have from the past year. Be honest with yourself, even if it feels harsh. Whether it relates to finances, family, career, romance, health/wellness or anything in between - admit to every last cringe-worthy thing. 

  • Next - go through the second (right) column and attach a lesson/takeaway to each item on the left. For instance, if on the left you wrote “I didn’t spend enough quality time with my family,” then on the right you might write something like “but, I am making up for it this holiday season and plan to do better in 2020.” Or if you wrote “I felt like an imposter” on the left, you might add “but I know I’m a badass and will prove it this year” on the right. And so on. The more personal and detailed the better.


Before you move on to outlining what you hope to accomplish and/or focus on for 2020, it’s important to make the distinction between goals and intentions (you should be thinking about both!):

  • Goals are focused on the future. Intentions are in the present moment.

  • Goals are a destination or specific achievement. Intentions are lived each day, independent of achieving the goal or destination.

  • Goals are external achievements. Intentions are about your relationship with yourself and others.


Once you reflect on and evaluate the lessons from the past year and you understand the differences between goals and intentions, you’re ready to move on to your two 2020 lists.

Picture yourself at the end of the year in 2020. What might your mistakes/regrets and lessons/takeaways list look like if you don’t take specific aims to avoid some of the pitfalls that led to your list this year. How do you want the people around you to feel about you and your relationship with them? How do you want to feel about yourself? These thoughts should inform your “Intentions for 2020” list. 

Now think about what you want your achievements to look like by this time next year. What do you want to proudly say you accomplished? What do you want to be recognized for? What new projects/challenges do you want to have tackled? Do you want to have gotten a raise/promotion, started family planning, relocated, or lost some weight? Or perhaps something like finally repainting the attic, purging/reorganizing, picking up a new hobby, finally taking that vacation, etc. These items will comprise your “Goals for 2020” list. 

Extra Credit: delve deeper by answering the following for each intention and goal:

  • What challenges will be associated with this intention/goal?

  • How will I combat these challenges?

  • What measures will I use to measure success?

  • Who in my life can help keep me on track and/or support/motivate me in this intention/goal?


If you need a little help manifesting your intentions and goals beyond writing them down and thinking about them, you’ll score bonus points for any of the following:

  • Find a manifestation meditation recording/video (there are lots of great ones out there)

  • Make a vision board 

  • Invest in a goal journal/calendar

  • Involve your significant other and/or friend or family member

You got this, EVOLVhers! Happy almost New Year!!

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