Setting Intentions to Give Yourself a Break This Year—10 Ideas
Forget the new year’s resolution. Try setting a theme for your year instead.
New Year’s Resolutions didn’t fool us this year. Two years into an unexpected pandemic and we know our best laid plans can get derailed in an instant.
So, we’re cocooning. Languishing. Trying to hunker down into soft things and distractions as the chaos unfolds. And somehow, the idea of setting the bar as higher than we can reach just seems…well, tiresome. We’re just trying to make it through the day, OK? Once I can see tulips outside, let’s talk. Until then, I’ll be here. Hunkered.
This year, instead of the usual frantic rush of pummeling debt, stocking up savings, and aggressively charging forth into our financial life with the enthusiasm of an angry hippo, what if we set the bar a little lower? Like make our transformations a limbo rather than a high jump. Limbos are more fun anyway, right?
Maybe you skipped the resolution this year, or just aren’t ready to make it yet. But how about this: ten intentions to give a gentle nudge to your year.
Intention #1: Less
Do less, have less, need less. Call it a year of minimalism and simplicity. You might declutter. Downsize. Organize the pantry. Decline the invitation. Say no to the commitment. Welcome to your year of less!
Perfect for: the over-scheduled, overwhelmed, and burned out.
For your money: this is the year of needing less, buying less, and contentment when just a little will do.
Intention #2: Savor the Flavor
Ok, I’m partial to this one. It’s mine this year. Welcome to the cleverly all-encompassing intention to find more delight in everyday things. From enjoying the cruciferous vegetables that I am trying to eat more of, or just staring out the window instead of delving into my phone, we’re savoring. It’s noticing that your 15-year old car has extremely comfortable seats. That your old jeans are perfectly broken in. That the cup of coffee you just brewed tastes divine.
Perfect for: the hurried, the harried, or anyone who is feeling a little underwhelmed with the daily rat race.
For your money: when you spend money, take an extra moment to enjoy that thing you bought. For the things you already have, find a new reason to appreciate them. As in fine wines, violins, and somehow Steve Carell, they just get better with age.
Intention #3: Rest
When your bones are weary, your eyes are droopy, and not even a triple shot of espresso can jolt you. This is the year for you to rest. Let bedtime take center stage. Empty your weekends of plans. Take a nap on Sundays. Put your feet up and sit for a bit.
Perfect for: the tired. The overcaffeinated. The world weary. So, everyone?
For your money: if you’ve been slaving away at debt payoff, or hustling so hard, maybe you need a season to take your foot off the gas. Stay steady for a bit instead of climbing ever higher.
Intention #4: Flow
You make plans, then they change. It’s hot then it’s cold, it’s yes then it’s no. You’re in then you’re out. You’re up then you’re down. Ok, thanks, Katy Perry. This is about going with the flow despite life yanking you around. Your feathers don’t get ruffled. No ruffling here. Play it cool, inside and out.
Perfect for: Anyone whose past few years have been full of ups and downs, canceled plans, and changing directions. So again…everyone.
For your money: Roll with the punches! Vacation got canceled? Move the money to an extravagant staycation. Phone falls into the bathtub? You just dip into the emergency fund and keep on keepin’ on. You’re not stressed, because as your priorities change, your budget does too.
Intention #5: Disconnect
Addicted to screens? We get it. When you crave and covet a less connected, always-on experience, this could be the year of disconnect. Delete the social apps from your phone, turn your whole phone off for a stretch, or stop checking work emails after dinner. Disconnect from the digital world and connect in your physical world.
Perfect for: Those with sore thumbs, prompt email responders, anyone who is on TikTok.
For your money: you might find that as you disconnect, your online impulse purchases suddenly drop as well. Spend money on personal connections, coffee dates, gardening, sports and hobbies, and the things in this physical world.
Intention #6: Invest
So you want to be bilingual, write a novel, learn to cook. Invest, my friend! Invest your time into your pursuits. Commit to tiny little habits: a page a day, 10 minutes a day, a coffee date a week. Just like our invested dollars, our invested time compounds over the course of a year.
Perfect for: the aspiring artisan, the hobbyist, the person who used to do that thing a lot but just can’t find the time for it.
For your money: Well, this one is easy. Do some actual investing! Read up, build your financial literacy in investing, and put it into practice. Let compound interest do its thing!
Intention #7: Simplify
You’ve got piles of papers, a list of to-do’s, passwords to remember. Life is complicated. Make this the year to simplify! Cut down on complexity, consolidate, and find a better system.
Perfect for: the person who feels like they’re one step away from it all falling apart
For your money: Simplify your financial life by consolidating accounts, banks, close credit cards (where it makes sense), and simplify your investing strategy.
Intention #8: Thrive
If you’re ready to put those languishing days behind you and bloom into a whole new existence, it’s your year to thrive. More saying yes, more chasing after the good things you want, starting that business, making that leap. You’re ready to take chances and reap the rewards.
Perfect for: the people chomping at the bit with energy at max levels to make 2022 a better year by their own making. If you want to share any of that energy, feel free to pass it on.
For your money: Carry this over into your financial life with a solid financial win. Finally pay off that credit card, open the investment account, or bump up your retirement contributions.
Intention #9: Stabilize
The world is still wacky, that much we know. Focus on controlling the controllables and let all else go. Work to build a firmer foundation for your mental, physical, emotional, or financial health. Take daily steps and embrace the slow progress of adding stability to an area of your life.
Perfect for: the person grasping at straws and feels wildly out of control. Pick something you can control and go after it with zest.
For your money: Build your financial stability. Plump up an emergency fund. Build a living cushion of living expenses in the event of job loss or zombie apocalypse. Might want to stock up on canned food in that instance too.
Intention #10: Abundance
The opposite of abundance is scarcity. And we know scarcity all too well: toilet paper, rapid tests, boba for bubble tea. But when that feeling of “never enough” soaks into your psyche, it affects how you go through your days at a deep level. Look at its opposite: abundance—that there is more than enough. More than enough time, more than enough resources, more than enough money, more than enough brilliant ideas. Do you feel this shift? The year is filled with a little less clutching at pearls and a lot more openness to others.
Perfect for: the person who feels they’ve become somewhat of a hermit over the past few years, and the ones who still buy eight packs of toilet paper when they go to the store.
For your money: Bring this over to your financial life and let a year of generosity and compassion emerge. Doordash to your friends who just got back from the hospital, flowers to your neighbors, money stuck in the mailbox of a person who might be struggling. You have more than enough!
Did any of these themes feel like just your cup of tea? We’re taking it easy this year, at least for now. Don’t feel like you need to stock up on all ten. Pick one, write it down, and remind yourself frequently, and let your year unfold.