This year, you may want to skip your resolutions and build an intention board instead.
I never make New Years resolutions. I’ve always thought that resolutions are just made to be broken. This year, though, was different. I’ve been reading a lot of books on spirituality and wellbeing, and I felt pulled to try something new: I decided to start this year with some intentions (which are about the journey), not resolutions (which are about the outcome).
And I made an intention board (also called a vision board) for the first time in my life.
The changes began when I read the book How Not to Die, by Dr. Michael Greger, a few months ago. It has a foreboding title, but the content is transformational—study after study showing the benefits of a plant-based diet. Within a week, I had gone from a meat-lover (who had barely cooked a meal in her life) to 90% vegan and cooking nightly.
With that change, I felt healthier. I felt more in control. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things I could buy and cook. And I thought, If I could make a change this big (as someone who didn’t even touch a vegetable until I was in my twenties), then surely I could make other changes too?
Here are some tips to creating your own vision/intention board:
- Visualize the kind of person you want to be. What does that person do every morning? What is her attitude about money? What are her habits? I want to be the kind of person who lives with ease and grace; who is present with my children; who lights candles; who prays.
- Write a list of your intentions for the year. These can be specific or broad. Write using stream of consciousness, maybe just jotting down key words or phrases, and then narrow it down to your top ten or so.
- Keep it positive. Don’t make it your intention to “lose weight.” Instead, intend to “be healthier” or “move more.”
- Search for images. You can cut pictures out of a magazine, or buy beautiful stock images online, but the easiest way to find images that correspond to your intentions is to either look at the Instagram accounts you follow, or do a Google search and screenshot the pictures you like. This is a free way of capturing images, versus buying photos online.
- Use a vision board template program (I used Canva) to put together your board.
- Keep it somewhere where you’ll look at it often. Make it the background for your computer, or print it out and hang it by your bed so you see it in the morning.
Here’s the intention board I made:
Some of the intentions on my board include:
- Spending more time reading with my children
- Drinking more water (the core of wellbeing and something I am currently terrible at)
- Honoring my body (i.e. not stress-biting my nails)
- Meditating in the morning
- Being conscious about what I purchase
None of these seem overwhelming. In fact, they all seem pretty achievable right away. It’s not about checking off a list. Instead, it’s about being more intentional with the time I have (which as a working mom is not a lot). If I need a break from my computer, for example, instead of reaching for my phone, I can go get myself some water or read a book with one of my kids.
I hope this helps you put yourself on a calmer, more positive path for 2021. A lot of people, this year, are going to try to cram in everything they missed last year. They’re going to feel pretty frenzied. They’re going to have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). They’re going to feel like they’re not doing enough. But if you set just a few intentions early on, you won’t feel called to take on everything that comes your way.