Essays

Intention Setting for the New Year

Words By sheila lam

 

There is a poise when reflecting on this time of year. On having presence in this closing season and thinking about what it means to enter a new one. To notice all the things that have lapsed. To observe growth, big or small, and find tenderness and acceptance for what has happened or, perhaps, has yet to happen.

Of course, it’s hard to know precisely what will transpire in the coming year. Life can change in an instant, but setting an intention lends some power to perspective. Setting an intention for the year, or even just the next few months, allows us to ask some questions about what we want to experience and, more importantly, how we will approach receiving it. 2022 reintroduced the world to many of us. We entered a new era of travel, which changed how we visited destinations and leaned into the unexpected moments in between. With 2023 here, we can set the foundations for an optimistic year.

 

In recent years, I’ve discovered that my most generous years have been ones that were presented with a certain kind of emptiness, or rather, space. The lightness space carries is something I’m setting for 2023. Entering the new year with agility and freedom, room for movement and exploration in whatever form, through personal growth or an adventure across new landscapes. A question to ask yourself could be, “How will I move forward in 2023?” Be present and honest to whatever answer comes to you. In your own life, there are no wrong answers. The past few years have been a challenge for many, and to set out on a smoother course, one of the questions I ask myself is, “Where do I go for comfort?” There is a deep intelligence when we listen to the softer voice inside us.

 

Unlike the notion of “New Year’s resolutions,” which are usually steeped with some kind of “improvement,” setting intentions can be a private matter just for yourself with no hard-fast goal to reach. There’s a certain kind of respect for the beauty and mess of life. We’re not trying to control the year ahead; that’s, in truth, impossible. We’re simply trying to embrace it. Maturing is realizing that each new year is not a time to beat ourselves up for where we are or are not in life, but instead a moment to pay attention to the sacred gift of another year. To map out the space we currently occupy in the journey of our extraordinary life.

And so here we are, with another 365 days. No matter how ordinary or remarkable, I’m setting the intention for 2023 to experience all it offers with space and a lightness of being. ■

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