The Power Behind A Word: Setting An Intention for the Year Ahead

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Since 2019, as things wind down and January approaches, I’ve identified a word, words, or even a whole phrase for the new year ahead of me. It’s less a “New Year’s Resolution”, and more of an intention setting practice and declaration of what I would like to cultivate for myself over the coming year. I’ve found this to be a valuable tool for building self-awareness through the process of reflecting upon where I am and in what direction (or, which directions) I’d like to grow.

It’s also an invitation to myself each year to let go of the “how”. The hows are what tends to stall the flow of the good energy I’m calling in–I want less of a detailed road map and more of a compass that keeps me headed in the right direction. This word keeps me in a state of awareness of both the opportunities and roadblocks that will facilitate or deter me from moving in that direction, and it helps me pull all of the different areas of myself into a single thread where I can apply my word or phrase. It makes that gut-check simple. Does x align with my word? Yes or no?

For 2019, my word was “SPACE”. In mid 2018, I had opened “The Space”, my studio on Ravenswood, no longer renting a room within a larger clinic but rather opening up the possibility of myself to have more ownership over the energy I was surrounding myself with and how my work space was used. Throughout 2018, I was also feeling a bit constrained in terms of having more personal space, in both time and energy to devote to other aspects of myself and my life that I could feel wanted to breathe.

So I wrote the word “SPACE” on a notecard, taped it to my bathroom mirror, sat with that intention on New Year’s Eve, and kept it in my mind and heart as I moved into 2019.


Throughout that year, I took some steps to consciously create space. I brought on adminstrative and marketing help, as well as two practioners, Sarah and Ashley. I reduced the number of Saturdays that I was working, and I held stricter boundaries around my client schedule. I made decisions in my personal life to get some distance from relationships that did not feel expansive and spacious: or rather, those things kind of “happened” on their own. When you are putting a vibe out into the world, even without saying it out loud, things begin to evolve on their own. Looking back now, I’m sure that by cultivating a more expansive energy within myself, those relationships couldn’t survive in the same way. And although those developments brought some pain, I was able to see the growth and connection between those difficult changes and the direction that I was interested in moving.

One of the most curious things that happened in 2019 was buying my very first home in September, a condo that quite literally gave me more actual space–and it was not at all in my conscious mind when I chose the word at the end of 2018. I had actually stepped back from my condo search earlier in the year and focused my energy and attention on other ways to make space in my life and the condo came to my awareness through a completely unexpected series of events. Because I was open to that word, that special kind of power, things that maybe otherwise would have slipped past with barely a notice suddenly became big and bright in front of me.

This is what I mean about pointing the compass in the intended direction and letting go of the “how”. You will figure out the “how” later. The “why” is far more important at the start.

As my team was corresponding about this month’s communication strategy, I offered up the idea for this blog post and mentioned that my intention setting phrase for 2022 is “SLOW AND STEADY”.

“Wait, what?” Jenn, our virtual assistant stopped me.

She immediately followed that question with this photo.

“I was saving this for the front of my new planner,” she replied.

How’s that for confirmation from the Universe/God/Spirit?

I have already begun to feel into and move towards that energy. Noting my tendency toward feeling a sense of urgency and how that tendency takes me out of the moment, I’m realizing that urgency is more about survival than aliveness and connection. I am also diving into some personal challenges that require some rewiring at a deep level, which is only possible to do if I stay persistent and don’t rush it, using the same intentional timing that has served Mother Nature for so long.

Sure, as usual, I’m juggling a number of projects and responsibilities because that’s Me–but instead of feeling like I need to do them all at once and yesterday, I realize that as long as I stay Slow and Steady, I can not only allow all of them a place in my life, but I can actually enjoy them in the moment and be aware of it when I’m no longer enjoying them, so I can shift my energy.

Do you have any special intention setting rituals you like to do when the New Year begins? I’d love to hear about them.

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