Beyond Resolutions: Setting Intentions for the Year

Wishing2Resolutions: We make them, we break them, we forget about them. What if there was a better way to set goals for the year and actually keep them?

The key, according to practitioner Julie McGinnis at our south Boulder store, is in creating a vision board. “Resolutions are like saying ‘I’m on a diet.’ But if you take the time to make a vision board, you’re setting much bigger intentions,” says Julie, who was introduced to the idea from a friend who held a vision board “party” a few years ago. “If I hadn’t done it and seen it work, I would never have believed it!”

What is a vision board? It’s like the collages you may have made in elementary school—a poster board featuring images that represent your goals for the year. It can be meaningful mementos from an event or person that inspired you, or just images cut from magazines that represent how you want to feel. “Taking the time to cut out images, and then look at them every day really helps to set your intentions,” Julie says.

And studies have shown that visualizing our goals is an essential part of realizing them. Athletes have been visualizing their peak performances for years, and a 2004 study showed that people who sat at home and just visualized going to the gym gained half as much muscle mass as people who actually went to the gym. Experts believe that visualization can be a powerful tool for many challenges in life.

Vision board how-tos

Consider creating your own vision board party with your partner, your friends or your family. It can be a great way to talk about your wishes for the new year and come up with joint goals.

First, set your intentions for the year, focusing on the areas of relationships, career and finances, home, travel, personal growth (including spirituality, social life, education) and health. Experts say it’s best to focus not just on what you want, but how you want to feel about these things.

Next, gather your materials, including a posterboard (or even a decorative bulletin board), magazines and newspapers, and glue or pins. Create a quiet, calm, interruption-free space and spend time thoughtfully identifying the images that will be most inspiring. Take your time as you carefully affix each image to your board.

Once it’s finished, find a place in your home to hang it where you will see it regularly. And take a moment each day to really look at it—it could be the difference between setting a goal and meeting it.

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