Setting Intentions for the New Year

Setting Intentions for the New Year

In 2011, I was introduced to a new way to start the year off right—using intentions instead of resolutions. By using New Year intentions, I have experienced more compassion, growth and self love. And bonus—I’ve enjoyed the review of each year as time goes on, instead of beating myself up. 

Today, I will share about the difference between resolutions and intentions, how to use the energy of intentions in your year end review/new year planning ritual, and provide you with a free download of my annual new year intentions worksheet for you to fill out and start living your best life!

Why I did away with New Years Resolutions

I did away with New Years resolutions because they Just. Don’t. Work. How many times have you made resolutions in the past and come February, you were back to your old ways? Trust me, I  have too! Funnily enough, one such “bad habit” that I was going going to break in 2012 was using Instagram. It took 9 years. But that is a story for another time.

By 2013, I had created a way to hold myself accountable, use positive energy to inspire positive change in me and my habits, and have beautiful keepsakes preserving the old me, and my hopes, wishes, dreams and, of course, intentions. 

10 years of intentions

Resolutions vs Intentions

If you are still curious why intentions are better than resolutions, here is a more granular description. To resolve is to give up something. The focus is on the loss of something, and if you know anything about your ego, you know that your ego is determined NOT to let anything go. When you intend, you are focusing energy in a powerful way to  improve something, or allow something new to come into your life. Win-Win, in my opinion!! The energy behind intentions, or rather the magic, is how they are far more effective than resolving. 

When you set an intention, there is positive energy behind it. You are making a decision to improve something. With resolutions, you are trying to prohibit yourself from doing something. If your inner rebel is strong, it’s a fight, you are never going to win. Ever raised a toddler?

If your inner rebel is strong…

Your inner rebel is your inner child, and sometimes, they are as young as toddler-age. They want their way, and will inspire any sort of behavior to get it. Even self-sabotaging behavior. I have a pretty strong rebel over here. Stubborn, crabby and powerful as eff. Which is why it is so important for me to intend rather than resolve.

Resolutions don’t take into account your rebel (or your subconscious patterning.) People think they actually have conscious control over their habits and patterns. Which, we don’t. I learned recently from Dr. Valerie Rein, just how powerful that subconscious is in keeping one stuck in place. And the key to releasing from the grip of it is self-compassion. 

How I quit drinking

One of the ways that I used intentions in previous years was to stop drinking. At the end of 2019, I heard a podcast that changed my life. I didn’t think I was anywhere close to being an alcoholic, but from the information presented, I was exhibiting signs of a functional alcoholic. Sad, but true.

I didn’t go into AA. There was no tearful, messy, difficult recovery. My life didn’t fall apart when I stopped drinking. No sponsor. I just quit drinking.

Those New Year’s Intentions are attributed to creating that powerful change. 

My intention was to be a person that doesn’t drink alcohol. Period. And here I am, nearly two years sober, after the most difficult two years human kind has experienced as a collective, still a non-drinker, and happier than ever. That is the power of intentions.

If you haven’t gathered, setting intentions, even if at the start of everyday, is a powerful way to focus your powerful energy to inspire change or flow. By setting intentions, either spoken or written, you are sending the signal as if the desired result has already occurred. And this is where belief and faith take over and make magic happen!

The Evolution of my Intention Setting

I started this practice at the end of 2011. I downloaded someone else’s freebie. And it was more “resolution” focused. By the next year, I adjusted it to be more about intention rather than resolve. I did have a bit of help from an unknown source. Sorry! No recollection of whom, but I am willing to bet it was someone like Alexandra Franzen or Danielle LaPorte. (I will update to credit the proper author if it comes up!)

I created a printable worksheet structured around intentions. And every year, I have adjusted it, added to it or removed the unnecessary parts. I have also adjusted it to proper intention setting language that includes the present tense. 

How I set intentions at the end of every year

My process for setting intentions is continuously evolving as I learn more and grow more. One part of my practice has expanded to include a teaching from Kate Northrup that I learned in 2019—in-depth reviewing of the past year. It was already in my practice, but now it is more involved and requires a journal and a special list in my Trello that holds wins and lessons month by month.

Process to set powerful New Year Intentions

Prepare yourself by gathering your intentions worksheet, an annual journal (see below for my suggestion,) a writing utensil that you adore, a candle if you wish, and anything to help you reflect on the past year.

  1. Set aside time and a quiet space, or altar area to sit and reflect.
  2. Review the past year: Go through your google calendar, social posts (don’t get lost!), emails, journal entries etc. to take stock of how much you have accomplished and learned in the past year. Also include reviewing your intentions or resolutions that you made last year, if you wrote them down.
  3. Make sure to document this information in a journal so that you can start tracking progress over the long haul. I got this fantastic journal 2 years ago, (affiliate link) and excitedly pull it out every time I sit to do this process.
  4. Celebrate! You can do this however you wish, but make sure you notice and congratulate yourself. Bonus points for telling you how proud you are of you!
  5. Next, spend a few moments quieting your mind, and asking for guidance for the coming year.
  6. Now, spend some time looking over the worksheet and feeling into the intentions that you are making. Whatever thoughts come to mind first, those are the ones that will have the largest impact in your coming year. Some may even be a carry over from this year.
  7. Fill the sheet in with each intention you are creating for the new year. 
  8. When you are done, thank yourself and your guides for the amazing year you are about to experience. 
  9. Tuck your intentions away in your annual journal or keep them somewhere that you can reference throughout the year. I prefer to keep them in the journal and surprise and delight myself at year’s end. But occasionally I peek at them on a rough day and they help me re-focus and raise my vibe.

Set powerful intentions to focus your energy to magnetize what you really want to you

And that’s it!! Make sure to download your New Year intentions worksheet by clicking the button below and have fun with this powerful energy focusing ritual. When you click the button below, you will be added to my email newsletter and taken to the page to download the worksheet. There you will find a video I recorded especially for you to see my intentions for the past 10 years.

I wish you a wonderful year full of dreams coming true and magic to inspire you, everyday.

XOXO! Athena

Showgirls Life | How to set powerful in the New Year


Setting intentions to focus your creative energy to create a life you love.

A free worksheet for curious lifelong learners who want to add an energy-focused ritual to their year end celebration.

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