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How to Set Intentions and Visions for 2021 And Beyond

Why Do We Set Intentions and Visions?

Setting intentions and visions helps you live into the possibilities! When you take time to reflect and take stock of your life, you might recognize a sense of inspiration, a desire to think and dream, or a knowing that growth and change is ahead. It is important to allow yourself time to imagine a wide range of possibilities for yourself.

Furthermore, intention-setting and visioning can support you in reviewing or renewing your values and prioritizing your passions and interests. When you make time for these practices, you will, in turn, make time for the things, people, and goals you love.

What is an Intention?

Intentions are clear and simple declarative statements that draw your attention to your desires, interests, and core values. These statements can remind you of what you hold important as life continues to unfold.

Some people think of intentions as an anchor, others might like the metaphor of a lighthouse. Intentions are not goals, as they are not attached to specific outcomes. Yet, intentions will support you on achieving your goals.

Additionally, intentions can help you appreciate your journey and call you to notice the ways you already are exactly who and what you most want to be, just as you are.

For me, the most powerful intentions begin with “I am…” or “I…” This language may support you in taking ownership of each intention you set and affirming that you have the qualities or traits you are seeking to grow. These are a exmaples of intentions clients have set: I am creative. I am organized. I have fun. I am peaceful.

Finding Your Intentions

Before settling on your intention, I invite you to brainstorm, using words or art. These questions can be used as prompts if it feels helpful:

  • What do you most want in your life? 
  • Who do you want to connect with? 
  • Where do you want to be/visit?
  • What do you want to be surrounded by?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • How do you want to feel?

Next, envision your “ideal” day. Perhaps you’d like to draw this or maybe you prefer to write it out. Spend 5 or so minutes allowing yourself to see and create your favorite day. Imagine what you are doing, how it feels, what you see in your environment, and so on.

My ideal day looks something like this: morning matcha, journaling and oracle card, breakfast, movement, bath, work, lunch break, more work, connection with partner + dinner, reading. Notice what senses and feelings are activated as you think of your ideal day.

Now, consider: Does a particular word, phrase, image, theme, or feeling show up in both of these activities? Is there a word, phrase, image, theme, or feeling that is particularly moving to you? I invite you to sit with everything you have created or brainstormed and notice what feels most salient or inspiring for you. Then, write your intention (or a few) using “I am…” and “I…” statements.

Visioning Your Year Ahead

After brainstorming and setting intentions, it can be especially fun and potent to create a vision board. Vision boards are tools that help you name and focus on the intentions and goals you have for yourself. Moreover, when you place a vision board somewhere that you will see it each day, it can help you:

  • connect with your goals
  • maintain focus on what you most want and need
  • feel inspired
  • set boundaries when opportunities don’t align with your visions
  • celebrate your growth
  • practice gratitude

Your vision for yourself and your life is worthy of being named and documented. Perhaps you’d like like to create a board dedicated to a specific aspect of your life such as work, travel, family. On the other hand, you might like to see all of the aspects of your life represented on one board. (This is the route I typically take.)

First, you’ll need a board. Posterboard works, but I love how substantial foam board is. Then, let your vision live on the board! Personally, I enjoy collaging, so I typically use magazine clippings of both images and words on my boards.

As I sift through magazines, I am sometimes surprised to find new ideas or specific details to add to my vision. Other materials you might like to explore include photographs, printouts, stickers, glitter, markers, colored pencils, or other scrapbooking and craft supplies.

Additionally, as you create, I invite you to consider:

  • How do you want to order or organize the parts of your vision?
  • How much space would you like to leave and where?
  • Do words or images (or both) most support your vision?
  • Do you prefer to add to the board as you find items? Or do you collect first and assemble last?

2021 and Beyond

The intention-setting and vision boarding process can some time. That’s okay; great, even! Honestly, each year, it takes me more a week or two to finish my vision board. I need several hours to collect before I even begin to glue ideas to my board. Additionally, I notice that I need to be in a creative and spacious mood for these activities. So, be patient with yourself.

This entire process can be reproduced in so many ways, so take what works for you and leave the rest. Other ideas clients have come up with include: creating new intentions for each month (or each week); creating vision boards for your 5-year or 10-year goals, and making a visual scheudle for the ideal day. The options are limitless; thus, I invite you to trust your unique process and needs.

If you’d like guidance for this process or if seeking new support is part of your intentions or vision, I invite you to reach out! You can also find my list of self-care activities here, if that’s something you’ve set intentions for.

*Photo credit: Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash

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