New Year’s Intentions & Goal Setting

Recently a student emailed me “…I feel horribly cranky, negative and overwhelmed. This year made me feel untethered. I want to create New Year’s intentions that work. Can you help me focus my intentions and goals?”

Yes. I completely understand. And congratulations! You’re in the top 1% of the world that ever sets goals and intentions. Yay!

In my experience, resolutions don’t work because creating an intention or goal from what’s not working – “I hate my job.” or “I don’t want to be sad” – states the negative and the negative begets more resistance and keeps the emotion and experience in place.  

However, when we create a positive intention like “I allow myself to be excited to learn how to treat my body with respect” or “I allow myself to learn how to make pies” we have a greater chance of devoting ourselves patiently to discovering the skills needed to manifest and achieve our goal.  

I’ve found it particularly helpful to do a year in review, studying what’s working (behaviors, moments, turning points, relationships) and what’s not.  

Take at least an hour (or more) to sit and review your 2020 calendar.

What worked and what didn’t? This is an extensive process of paying close attention to your life. Don’t over think it. Have fun. If regrets, emotions or loss comes up, let them. Be kind to yourself. Get comfy with a cup of tea and a journal or notebook. Enjoy.

The process:

  1. Title the first page: “Highlights & Lowlights of 2020” 

Draw a line down the middle of the page. Write Positive – Highlights on one side and Negative – Lowlights on the other. Take out your 2020 calendar. Scan each week and month. Under Positive – Highlights write the people, places or moments that were particularly fulfilling and meaningful. Under Negative – Lowlights – note your struggles or pain. Don’t analyze. Keep moving. Lowlights often spark highlights.

  • Title your next section: “What I Want To Learn”. 

This is a tip I modified from author, Tim Ferris. Read over the negative-lowlights. What did you learn? Write a short list of things you need to face or learn to do, be or have. Example: “I want to stop worrying all the time. I’m willing to join a meditation group, hire a therapist, ask for help, learn how to release fear and be gentle with myself. I am willing to learn how to identify with my courage.”

  • Title the next section: “What’s Really Meaningful and Matters to Me”. 

Review your Highlights and Lowlights list. Note the moments that mattered most. List: What was truly meaningful to you? And if it helps, Why?

Example: What’s Really Meaningful and Matters to Me

Offering meditation + journal classes – Because I love it! I love the community! The positivity, intimacy and truth telling. Freeing ourselves to be. 

Next title – “My Recipe for Living (& Loving) My Own Meaningful Life” (Or title it in a way that makes you happy). Make a list of all the MUSTS for your own peace, self-acceptance and courage. What things are a must? 

What needs to become a priority? What do I need to devote myself to?

Example:  My Recipe for Loving and Living My Own Meaningful Life

Self-Respect.  I am devoted to respecting my inner peace because it makes me calmly happy. 

Next Title. “The Top 6 Things I Gained In 2020”

New friends and team mates and skills on Zoom. Thank you, Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

List: What did you gain or learn? Don’t let the Ego be a party pooper. Identify your gains and really acknowledge them.

Example: I gained more intimacy in friendships.

  • Next Title – “3 Goals That Matter Most to Me in 2021” (You can make more if need be.) Given your research about yourself and 2020, list your most meaningful goals. 

Example: 3 Goals That Matter Most To Me

1. Being peaceful and rested – body/sleep. 

2. Completing my ______ project. 

You don’t need to know how you will achieve your goals. You need to simply state them. 

  • Next title: “I Picture Myself” (You are almost there!)

Since our goals and intentions manifest first as a picture we hold in mind, imagine a positive picture of your success. Just simple. Imagine yourself doing and being your goal. Pause. Close your eyes. See yourself prioritizing your picture and living (or learning to live) in ways that propels your goals forward with ease. Picture yourself thriving and relaxed. Example: I picture myself creating a new sleep routine and waking up rested in the morning. 

What are the predictable outcomes if you don’t devote yourself to being responsible for the picture/results? Example: I see myself being anxious, tired and defeated.

Write what you picture or create a vision board. Either way return to the image in mind – a positive picture of what matters to you. 

  • Last title (You made it!): “3 Intentions Regarding My Goals”  

The word allow is key. Allow means giving permission to the inner child to play, explore and feel free to do what gives her the most ease. The word Welcome is also helpful. The mind can open and welcome new ideas. Write your intentions using ALLOW or WELCOME. 

In 2021, my intention is to allow myself to __________________.” Or “My intention is to welcome ___________.” 


My intention is to allow myself to love my Self and others with ease. 

My intention is to allow myself to tell the truth and thrive with ease.

I welcome my full talent as a ballet dancer. 

Congratulations! You did it. And as my friend Lu Ann Cahn says, “I dare you.” 

Lastly, for the next 30 days read your goals and intentions every morning and evening. Live from them. Let them help you prioritize. Schedule what benefit you and your goals. Share your insights and gains with friends or email me a short list of things you’ve achieved. No matter how small.

I dare you to be courageous, accepting and unstoppable as you move out of your comfort zone and into living your goals with intention.

Reach out if you need support or a one-on-one coaching. The investment in your happiness freeing and pays you back with charting your course with confidence.

Congratulations! You are in the top 1% of the world that ever sets goals and intentions. 

May you enjoy your fun adventures ahead in 2021.

Have thoughts or questions? please email me.

Much gratitude, 

Jennifer Schelter 


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