At the end of every year, everywhere you turn there’s always a focus on New Year’s resolutions, setting new goals, and ways to improve your life with all that “new year, new me” mentality, only to have those goals and resolutions fade after a few weeks as you fall into the rhythm of the new year.
You may be left discouraged, frustrated, and falling back into old patterns pretty quickly, even if that’s not what you really want for yourself. But what if there was a different way to approach the new year? An approach that’s sacred, special, and filled with deep meaning that holds your focus beyond just a few weeks in January?
You may have followed along with our Yoga Girl New Year’s Intention Setting podcast episodes in the past, but if this is your first time participating in this special practice, welcome! Here we’re going to break down the key elements of setting meaningful intentions that come from deep within the heart. We call this a sacred practice, because it is! It does take time and energy, but at the end of it all, you will feel fully grounded, prepared, and ready for whatever is to come!
Preparing Your Space for New Year’s Intention Setting
Before we jump into all the details, it’s important to set up your sacred space! This tells not just your mind, but your body and soul too, that you are about to dive into a special and meaningful ceremony.
Try to find a clean and quiet place where you’ll have some privacy.
Dress comfortably and make sure your space is comfy too! Fill it up with pillows, blankets, comforting smells, and don’t forget to bring some water or a drink!
If you’d like to use music for this practice, set up your playlist beforehand so you’re not distracted by trying to choose songs later on. We’ll start with about 15 minutes of more upbeat songs for shaking and/or dancing, followed by more soothing songs for the rest of the practice. If you’d like inspiration, you can find some beautiful songs to play on our Yoga Girl New Year’s Intention playlist on Spotify!
Grab your journal, a pen, and some markers, colored pencils, or crayons, along with whatever else you’d like to beautify your intention later in the ceremony, and set those up in your space.
If possible, you can try to hold this practice near your altar, but if that’s not possible or you don’t have an altar, simply gather up your most special and sacred items before you start. These items could be photos of loved ones, small talismans, good luck charms, crystals, Mala beads, etc. While gathering up your sacred items, try to bring along the 4 main elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. As we are connected to nature, bringing these elements along invokes its own special vibration of energy.
Crystals are from the Earth, along with seashells and other parts of nature like salt, dirt, sand, sticks, leaves, coins, food, etc.
For Water, you could include a small bowl of water or other liquid, like a cup of tea, start up an essential oil diffuser (this could also be air!), or bring a mirror/something glass.
With Fire, a candle, incense, or similar would work.
Finally, for Air, you could use an essential oil diffuser as already mentioned, and you can combine it with fire when burning incense, Palo Santo, Sage, etc. You can also bring a feather or bell as those work too.
Besides these more tangible objects, you could get creative and just bring pictures of these elements, bring the colors (Brown/Green for Earth, Yellow for Air, Blue for Water, Red for Fire), photos of animals that live in each of these elements, or even bring along tarot/oracle cards! If none of these objects or ideas are available to you, no worries! Simply take a moment to visualize each of the four main elements in your mind before you begin to fully connect with nature and the world you live in.
- Finally, remove distractions as much as possible. Turn off device notifications, the tv, and ask loved ones or roommates to give you privacy for a couple hours if possible...otherwise, simply ask them to try and stay quiet while you commit to this self-care practice. That’s it! You’re ready to begin.
Shake Off the Old, Make Space for the New
In order to create space for what new are about to invite in, whether it’s a new way of living, a new intention, or a new anything else, we must first release the old. As you contemplate what you are ready to let go of, ask yourself, what pain still lingers in your heart? What weight on your shoulders is still present? What patterns, self-talk, people, places, or things are you ready to move on from? When you’re ready, open your journal and write whatever surfaces, then, try to summarize what you’d like to let go of in one word or sentence. Write this down on a piece of paper and set aside (we’ll come back to this a bit later.)
It’s difficult to face the pain held inside, so after you've written down what you'd like to release, help your body process alongside your mind and heart by inviting some movement! Turn on some invigorating music and take about 15 minutes to shake, dance, and simply invite the body to take part in this practice. For most of us, returning home to the body is the key to tapping into the heart of each of the areas we’ll touch upon later throughout this ceremony, so before digging in, give yourself a little time to really move and break a little sweat. If you’d like to be guided along the process, follow along with our New Year’s Intention Setting Ceremony class here on YogaGirl.com!
After you’ve taken some time to connect with your body, adjust your music to something more soothing if using, and find a comfortable place to sit or lie down to invite some stillness. Place your hands on your heart and really feel your heart beating as you notice your breath moving in and out. Sense the depth of your heart’s longing. Really take your time here, there’s no rush.
When you’re ready, open your journal to a fresh page and write: “My intention for the new year is...”* Write whatever comes to mind, then on a fresh piece of paper, summarize your intention down to 1-3 short sentences beginning with *“In the new year I will...” Tear that piece of the page out, then pull out your markers, colored pencils, glitter and whatever else you have to let your inner child go wild! Decorate and make it special however you’d like, and when you’re done, tear away any blank areas and set that small piece of paper with your intention aside.
Now that you’ve moved your body and taken time to ponder what you’re ready to let go of, along with your main focus for the new year, it’s time to go a bit deeper.
The 4 Main Elements of Sacred Intention-Setting
With typical goal-setting or new year’s resolutions, it’s pretty common to just pick one area to focus on, but many times the area picked is so general it’s hard to stay focused on it for very long.
By breaking down your new year’s intentions into four different areas, not only does it make this process a lot easier to manage long-term, but it really helps you take a sincere look at your life and how you are living. Bring your attention to each of these areas, you may discover that you haven’t been focusing on the right areas, and perhaps, you may even need to focus on one thing first before moving onto something else.
As you work through each of these four areas of your life, really take your time to contemplate and sink into the depths of your heart. Write out your wildest, biggest, and most grand visions. Don’t hold back! A huge part of manifestation and bringing about abundance is by letting ourselves and our inner child within to dream big and have a little have fun. Don’t focus on any “shoulds” here, what’s expected of you, or what you think is the best thing to focus on. Follow your heart and let yourself explore here.
A big part of manifestation is reminding ourselves of possibility, hope, and maybe even a little bit of magic. When we focus more of our attention on what we’d like to manifest and make a reality, the universe tends to shift in our favor. Our energy changes, and thus, what we attract into our lives changes too! Things may not always play out exactly as we dreamed them up to be, but a clear focus at least sends us in the right direction and may offer incredibly useful and helpful lessons and information along the way.
The four main elements of sacred intention-setting are: Home, Mind, Body, and Soul. Let’s break down each a little bit.
The area of “home” is not just your physical living space, but also the people within and around it. This includes your close family, including partners, children, and pets, your friends, and other loved ones. This is also your intimate life, your sex life, any living spaces or home improvement projects, and any other material things in your life.
Everything that happens and is manifested from the level of the mind; your work or career, big projects or creations, and any other intellectual parts of your life. This includes money or abundance, things you want to read, study, or write. Don’t be afraid of dreaming big here!
Your physical body, how you feel physically, your health, your wellbeing, your wellness, etc. This involves your energy levels and how balanced you feel in the body. How do you want to feel? What do you want to have the ability to do? Deeply connect here and try to envision your goals from the heart, rather than the lens of what you think is expected or what society and others deem as “ideal”.
This area is everything around spirituality, your sacred spiritual practices, self-care, therapy, or any other type of healing work you do. What does your heart and spirit need? What lights you up? What serves you the most to help you live as the fullest expression of yourself?
Now, turn to a fresh page in your journal, and write down 3 goals you have and what you want for each of these four areas in your life. Try to do this exercise from the heart, not just focusing on what you “should” do or want, but rather, what rings true for you deep down. By connecting to these goals from a heart-centered place, you will get that much closer to making them reality. So, get as detailed and specific as you’d like here, perhaps writing down needs or actions needed to make those goals happen too.
Manifesting Intentions Through Affirmation
After you’ve taken time to really get clear on your dreams, goals, and intentions for the new year, it’s now time to create your new year’s affirmation. This affirmation will become a sort of Mantra to carry with you throughout the year, to return to again and again, particularly when faced with challenges or hurdles in the way of your goals.
Your intention is something you intend to do, because you want to make it a reality, but it still remains in the future-tense. By creating an affirmation, you take your intention to the next level by energetically bringing it into the present-tense and setting the wheels in motion for whatever you long for to happen now, right here in the present, rather than sometime in the future.
Creating an affirmation sets the tone and shifts your mindset into one of possibility and focus, making it a lot easier to manifest and accomplish big goals, versus trying to do so from a mindset of lack, or “can’t”. To find your affirmation, try to turn your intention from “I will...” (future-tense) to “I AM...” (present-tense) Your affirmation is a short sentence to help you remember your power and the abilities you already have within you.
Your Word for the Year
Taking your intention, your specific goals, and everything you’ve processed throughout this practice, what one word sums it all up? Write it down on a piece of paper, and set aside with your other two notes. If you’d like, you can also create another beautiful rendition to frame or put somewhere as a constant reminder of the entire sacred intention-setting practice.
New Year’s 6-Step Midnight Ritual
For this ritual, try to do it as close to midnight as possible.
And that’s it!
This sacred practice is one we hold so dearly in our hearts, as it has proven time and again, how powerful we can be when we allow ourselves space to connect with what matters most in the heart. We hope this practice serves you and gives you clarity on how you want to move forward as you step into a new year.
Wishing you all a beautiful and amazing new year ahead!
With so SO much love,
Team Yoga Girl®