How to Set Your Intentions for the New Year

2023 is the perfect time to refresh your mindset. Get excited and learn how to set defined and customized intentions for any area of life, even professionally, in your cafeterias!

What Is Intention Setting?

Intention setting is not the same as goal setting. An intention is a guide for the experience you want to create. Intentions focus on the core purpose behind what you want, but goals are the metric you measure. 

Here are two examples. The intention may be, “This year, I will use my income to create a better quality of life with fulfilling experiences.” The goal could be establishing a yearly money plan and keeping an updated monthly budget. Another intention may be, “This year, I will prioritize personal development to discover my authentic self.” The goal could be starting therapy or journaling practice. 

Hopefully, that demonstrates how an intention is a personal compass that can guide your daily decisions flexibly (and should be the first step before setting any S.M.A.R.T. goals). It’s an excellent way to create focus, direction, and clarity. But how should you get started?

How to Set Your Intentions:

  1. First, set aside time to enter a relaxing, comfortable, uncluttered space where you can reflect on the past. Bring something to write.
  2. Jot down your most memorable highlights of the past few years – where you felt happy and fulfilled. Notice if there are any patterns in the words or activities that uplifted you.
  3. These patterns are key indicators that will help define your values, which will help shape your intention. After identifying a list of your possible values, narrow down the list and choose which one to embrace the most in the new year (don’t be afraid to select a few). Then, think of how those values can help you experience what you want and the impact you want to have.
  4. Lastly, use everything you’re feeling and envision to write a one or two-sentence intention that you can keep on a sticky note, on the notes app on your phone or any place you regularly reference.

Example, with Nutrition Professional Focus  

The Highlights: I loved when a student gave me a thank you card. It reminded me that I make a difference in students’ lives. Every year, my team and I love to provide the most comforting, fulfilling meal before Thanksgiving break. The students love the food, and it feels good to see them enjoying themselves! 

The possible patterns: Thinking of others, serving others, and creating joy and connections.

The possible values: Kindness, teamwork, and selflessness.

Kindness could be the value that can have the most personal gratification and most outward impact. Therefore, an example intention could be, “This year, every student will feel welcome, heard, and satisfied after entering our cafeteria and experiencing a filling meal made with care. My kind behavior will be infectious, continue to motivate and re-energize me, and myself and the community will be better for it.”

You can follow this intention-setting process every year or every quarter. Everyone on your team can create their own and set concrete goals afterward. For example, smile at every student who goes through your line. Whatever comes next, the important thing is that you now know how to create your own NorthStar!