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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

New Year, New Beginnings Setting Intentions for a Transformative Year

by Martha Kein 

As we bid farewell to another year and embrace the fresh start that lies ahead, the turning of the calendar offers us a perfect opportunity for self-reflection and growth. It’s the time to set intentions and create a vision for the year ahead, paving the way for a transformative journey. Whether a busy parent, a corporate mogul or a seasoned yogi, setting intentions can bring profound meaning and purpose to our lives. 

Intentions are powerful. They act as our guiding lights, directing our thoughts, actions and choices. They provide us with a roadmap, helping us align our daily activities with our deeper desires and values. Just as a compass points us in the right direction, setting intentions empowers us to navigate through life with clarity and intentionality. 

Think of an intention as a heartfelt declaration of what we aspire to cultivate in our lives. It goes beyond setting goals or making resolutions. Intentions tap into the essence of who we are and who we wish to become. They invite us to dig deep and discover our true desires, encouraging personal growth and transformation. 

Setting intentions can be a beautiful process that connects us with our heart’s desires. To begin, find a quiet space to reflect without distractions. Close the eyes, take a few deep breaths and tune in to our inner voice. Ask “What is it that I truly want for myself this year?” Allow intuition to be the guide and don’t be afraid to dream big. 

Once intentions have been identified, it’s essential to infuse them into daily life. Here are some practical tips to help incorporate intentions into our yoga practice and beyond: 


Craft a simple phrase or affirmation that encapsulate intention. Repeat it during yoga practice or whenever a reminder is needed throughout the day. For example, if an intention is to cultivate self-love, our mantra could be, “I am worthy of love and kindness.” 


Take a few moments each day to visualize embodying our intentions—living our best life, feeling joyful and achieving our goals. This practice of visualization can help manifest  intentions into reality. 


Writing down intentions in a journal can provide clarity and serve as a reminder of our aspirations. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on progress, express gratitude and explore any challenges or insights that arise. 


Share intentions with loved ones or find a like-minded community to discuss and support each other’s goals. Having a support system can provide encouragement and accountability as we work towards our intentions. 

Setting intentions is a personal journey and it’s important to approach it with self-compassion and flexibility. Remember that intentions are not rigid rules or expectations; they are meant to inspire and guide us. Life has its twists and turns, and our intentions may evolve as we grow and learn. 

To truly embrace the transformative power of intentions, it’s essential to integrate them into all aspects of our lives. Carry intentions as we move through our day, making conscious choices that align with our deepest desires. As we infuse our intentions into our actions, we’ll notice positive shifts and a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment. 

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values and your values become your destiny.” By setting meaningful intentions and incorporating them into our daily life, we can shape our own destiny. 

As we step into this new year, let’s embrace the power of intentionality, allowing our intentions to guide us towards growth, joy and self-discovery. May this year be one of transformation, where we embrace the limitless possibilities that lie within us and manifest our deepest desires. Happy new year, and here’s to new beginnings filled with purpose and abundance. 

Martha Kein is the school director of The American Yoga Academy, a world-renowned, online yoga teacher training school that’s been training and certifying yoga instructors for 30 years, and where all are welcome. For more information, all 973-731-9960 or visit