How To Set A One-Word Intention For The New Year

Photo: Stocksy / mbg creative

Manifest the year of your dreams by going inward. Renew You 2017 is a month of mindfulness during which we’ll share content that guides you to create a deeply rooted intention for the new year. We’ll help you navigate inevitable obstacles with the latest science on habits, motivation, ritual, and more and equip you with tried-and-true techniques to outsmart even the toughest inner critic.

If you've been following along the Renew You 2017 program, you've done your body scan, charted your happiness, assessed your abundance, and created a simple manifestation altar. Today's the day: It's time to find your word for the new year. Yep: one word. It's exceedingly simple but requires some clarity.

Don't worry, we got you. Here's how to figure out your one-word intention for 2017. You'll need three blank (or lined) pages, a pen, maybe a coffee, too.

  1. You probably have more than a few goals for the new year in your mind's eye. Write them down.
  2. What is the emotion that comes up when you think about what's required to achieve those goals? Maybe your stomach flutters, your heart beats. Listen to what your body is telling you. Or alternatively, why haven't you achieved these goals yet, what has been the obstacle?
  3. Think about five people you really admire, and write down three characteristics of each you wish to embody.
  4. Now you have three lists: goals, fears, and admirations. Look at all of them together. Are there some that resonate more than others?
  5. Come up with the one word—an action verb—that you think will help you best achieve your goals based on your first nature and what's needed to overcome it to get you comfortable with your goals.

You may need to think on your word for a few days, but don't think on it too long. Try it on for size instead. When you're going through the first motion of achieving your goal, for example, see if thinking of that word helps you through. If so, you're probably doing it right.

I encourage you to stick with this word for the full year. Even if by July it seems as though this word is no longer serving you, my guess is that there is another area of life that would benefit from it, or that you're feeling tired, as that's what happens when we try to create new habits.

If you need more inspiration, we've compiled some ancient wisdom.

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become."

—Buddha

"You are what your deep driving desire is;

As your deep driving desire is, so is your will;

As your will is so is your deed;

As your deed is so is your destiny."

—The Upanishads

More recently, Jim Carrey boils down his whole career to the power of intention: "Our intention is everything. Nothing happens on this planet without it. Not one single thing has ever been accomplished without intention."

  • Day 1: Guided Body Scan
  • Day 2: Happiness History Map
  • Day 3: Abundance Assessment
  • Day 4: Manifestation Altar

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