New Year, Same Me: 7 Intentions for 2023

This year we will rewrite the narrative for the longing of what the new year will bring us. Upon fantasizing about what is in store for us, it’s hard not to reflect on the past. I’m not sure about you guys, but at this point, I can’t even remember my goals for 2022. They were most likely far-fetched hopes that I had little plan to reach i.e. I don’t remember what they were. Instead of beating myself up for what I should have done or what time I wasted, I’m choosing to let it go. Beating myself up was not the point. The objective was to set goals to better myself in some shape or another. Spending time feeling shameful for my lack of accountability is now irrelevant. Now we learn from it and move on.

In fact, this year I’m rebelling against setting goals for the year.  Goals are not meant to be started on January 1st, they begin any day you choose. I will not wait for a specific day to start building the life I want to live. Sure, there are things I’m aiming toward but shifting my mindset is my top priority. The stigma around goals is heavy and intimidating. This year let’s set intentions that we can implement into our daily lives to celebrate who we are, how far we’ve come, and our continuous intent of bettering ourselves. 

  • Visualize it
    • Nothing can get me more motivated than scrolling through on Pinterest, saving a collection of aesthetic photos I aspire to embody. From vacation spots, daily rituals, and meal ideas, to outfit inspiration, Pinterest can influence me. I challenge you to take some time, call the board whatever you want “future me”, “mood board” ,“2023”, etc.. It doesn’t have to be labeled vision board to serve its purpose. Save a collection of photos that speak to you, (quotes, fitness, meals, books, journal prompts, house decor, ect.) in all areas of your life and pile them together. 
    • This is your theme for the year, it’s not set in stone, rather ever evolving. Feel free to add to it throughout the year, but most importantly, visit it often. Screen shot it and set it as your background, print it out, write the quotes in your notes app.. whatever you need to do to remember its existence. Think about it, believe it, and make choices to get you closer to your board. Whenever you’re feeling like “bleh”, glance at it, remember your theme and the intention you’re setting to keep yourself on track. You’ll be surprised what happens when you start visualizing the life you want, and sometimes you just have to see it to believe it. 
  • Books > Instagram
    • Reading is in in 2023, books are back. With more accessibility to technology, it’s easier than ever to google book recs and find like-minded people to help find your niche book group. Find a couple that spark your interest and head to Barnes and Noble (or amazon let’s be honest) but having a plan walking in makes it easier to find what you’re looking for and get less overwhelmed. Try something new, get one comfort book you know will be easy to read and one self-growth book. I’m trying something new where I do every other book I read will be a “self help” type, to get a variety, why not try that too?
    • Having a book in your hand, is the perfect brain break because it takes 2 hands and all of your attention. Its impossible to read a book and scroll through social media or watch tv and read a book. It takes all of your attention and gives you something to do with your hands. Setting the intention to read books, even 30 min a day can give you time away from your phone while getting you out of your head and maybe even learning something.  
  • Sorry is Out
    • You don’t need to apologize for saying no and you don’t need an excuse to cancel plans. Read that again. If its going to take away from your peace of mind its not worth it. Saying sorry is so normalized, its almost an automatic response. However, its not needed a lot of the time and you don’t need to take the unnecessary blame.  For circumstances that are out of your control an apology isn’t always warrented. Like someone bumping into you, sneezing, even being interrupted, its not your fault! 
    • Over apologizing can make you appear less confident and have people think less of you. Before ssaying sorry next time, think twice about it, bite your tongue and smile instead. Once you ralize how prevalent it is, you will start to hear it everywhere. In contrast, when someone unnecessarily apologizes to you, you can say “no sorry needed” or “thanks, but you don’t need to apologize for that”. Acknowledging this behavior in others can also validate their feelings making them think twice, even helping them feel reassured.
  • Invest in Those Who Invest in You
    • You know who consistently shows up for you, like really shows up. Answers the phone, sends the checking-in texts, and goes out of their way to be there for you. Those are your people. Every friend you have will not reach this top tier level, and that’s okay. You can have different circles and levels of friendship, and those will change constantly. Yet, pressuring yourself to reach out to every acquaintance multiple times a month isn’t realistic. That doesn’t mean neglect the friends you’re less close with, yet you don’t need to put so much weight and pressure on their presence. Take time and be intentional where to pour into the relationships that make you feel your best and where that relationship is reciprocated. 
  • Be Selfish
    • If there was an award for being the most indecisive person, I think I could win the award, or at least I could’ve 5 years ago. I remember I used to ask my mom every morning “what I should wear today”, Every. Single. Morning. Then, if she gave me the “wrong answer” I’d get irritated with her. 
    • Deep down, I know what I wanted or needed (or what I wanted to wear). I always have. I craved that validation to confirm what I was already thinking. However, when I started making decisions without any consensus, I became more confident in myself and my choices. Ultimately no one else can know exactly where you’re coming from, what your intentions are, or the best choice for you. Owning up to that and being selfish is hard. Take the leap, you know what’s best for you. Then if you make the wrong choice, there’s always next time. Adopting that mentality of doing what you want and allowing yourself to believe it’s only as serious as you make it can set you free from craving so much external validation. 
  • Don’t Force It
    • It’s so easy to get caught up in hustle culture, girl-boss mode, and no days off mentality, but I give up. I’m proudly giving up that mentality, it’s not realistic. Forcing yourself to work 24/7 is the quickest way to burnout. Now the name of the game is: Don’t Force It.
      • Feeling tired? Rest. 
      • Feeling inspirational at 2am? Pull out the notes app. 
      • Brain malfunction at 3pm? Take a walk.
    • This sounds so simple, but it’s incredibly easier to live by listening to what your body needs than constantly “pushing through”. Of course, this isn’t 100% attainable all the time, but when you’re able, try being more intentional about what you need. If you’re not feeling it, don’t force it.
  • Do it Scared- Take the Risk
    • Sometimes anxiety can get the best of us, actually a lot of times. *Deep Breath* Anxiety doesn’t determine our life path, we can still do the things we want with it tagging along. We can do all the things, scared. A lot of my life thus far, I’ve waited until I feel “ready” or “the right time,” but there isn’t ever going to be a perfect time. The anxiety will make SURE of it. 
    • Now we can swallow it, give ourselves the pep talk, and do it anyway. Make the career switch, book that Air BnB, and use your airline points. Take the risk with uncertainty; it will be hard at first, like all things. Getting yourself used to doing things scared will get easier each time. I like to remind myself the “fake it to you make it attitude” and that “it’s always worse in your head”. No one else can “see” your anxiety or your “scared” and taking the risk is always better than regretting staying stagnant. Let 2023 be the year of taking risks and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

By Kennedy Baker