How to Set Positive Intentions for the New Year

This post comes from our Australia contributor, Miann Scanlan. Follow along with her on Instagram @free peopleaustralia!

As this magical year of 2014 is on the decent, this is a wonderful time to sit quietly and reflect on the year that now stands in our past while looking hopefully and lovingly toward the future ahead.

Each new calendar year grants us a symbolic clean slate: a chance to start fresh, assess what wasn’t serving us in the year prior, and reset intentions for the year ahead. With all this energy buzzing around us this time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the idealizations that the sense of newness holds.

We receive so many incoming messages from the media stating that the start of each year is the only chance out of our Earth’s entire orbit around the sun that you receive to shape a new and better you.

“Lose those 15 pounds, now, and once and for all!”

It’s that dangerous now-or-never attitude that can cause us to place unnecessary pressures on ourselves.

“If I don’t give up chocolate this year, I have failed.”

This attitude, one that I previously succumbed to and adopted, actually made me nervous and apprehensive about the new year. The overwhelming fear of failure would hold me back from even setting resolutions at all.

As always, be gentle, loving and kind to yourself. We already know the power of positive affirmations. So harness this energy to set positive intentions as opposed to harsh resolutions. Let this time of year be a time where you welcome in new energies, rather than trying to totally annihilate old habits (or pounds!!).

To give you an example, I reluctantly share with you a portion of my 2014 list, word for word, which I have stuck on my pin board above my desk.

–  I am committed to conquering my fear of the ocean and be able to surf on my own

–  I will connect with more succulent, wild women and be inspired by beautiful new friendships

–  I will earn over three-quarters of my income through self employment and gain financial independence

–  I will love and honor my body by committing to yoga and being active four times per week

–  I will inspire my creativity by reading more books, taking time away from my laptop and phone

I created my intentions around how I wanted to feel, rather than how I wanted to look or what I wanted to have. Do you want to feel inspired?  Perhaps you want to feel a sense of community, or self love. Here are a few possible examples to get you started:

– Give back to the local community

– Connect with inspiring women and expand your circle of friends beyond your immediate friendship group

– Read one inspiring book a month

I’d love to know what some of your intentions are for 2015? Let’s share then in the comments below and inspire each other for a positive year ahead.

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9 years ago

Words of wisdom… Thank you, Freepeople!

9 years ago

This is absolutely great and oh, so true. The new year is great for getting yourself in a better mindset, but it’s important to have a POSITIVE mindset when setting your intentions. Love it!

9 years ago

I plan to continue my journey of personal growth through meditation and yoga. I’m so grateful for what these taught me in 2014!

9 years ago

Great post! I love the turning of a new year because it’s such a great time to reflect, renew and revive! Thanks for sharing!


I love this post! While I can’t get behind new years resolutions for the same reason, I am all about taking time around the new years to reflect. Beautiful watercolours too!

9 years ago

My New Years resolution is to be successful in everything I do! I want this to be my year, it will be my year! I am so excited!

I absolutely love Free People! It is one of the few blogs out there with real, true substance. It promotes and inspires its readers to embrace and love life both physically and spiritually. I admire this blog and hope that one day I will be able to produce such inspirational content within my blog.

9 years ago

Beautiful intentions – I love the mentality of being gentle and kind to ourselves. xo

Warm Regards,

9 years ago

You’re right, there is a huge tendency to be overly critical and harsh on ourselves at new year. I love the idea of being kind and gentle with your resolutions – I think there’s something motivational about such a soft, loving approach.
Beth x

9 years ago

Using positive sentences instead of negative ones to set our goals is the point. Thanks for the positivity!!

xx Cecil //

9 years ago

Love all these wonderful things and pictures from lovely people! Positively is always the best!

Ripped Jeans

9 years ago

thanks for the optimism!


9 years ago

Enjoyed ready this post so much! It’s so nice to read something so positive on New Year’s day!

Ryan x

9 years ago

I can’t believe I’ve just found your blog :0

9 years ago

I love your 2014 resolutions, especially about being around other women. This year I really want to start living without dead time and connecting with the outdoors more.

northern rustication

9 years ago

This was wonderful, thanks for the inspiration and reminder!


9 years ago

I’ve been opposed to new year resolutions for the past few years because of these reasons. Felt like they we’re drastic, short term, and set you up for failure. Thanks for showing how they can be positive. This has really inspired me to think about them differently.

9 years ago

Loving this post, just the ticket for this new year.


9 years ago

Such a cool post!
Love from – a lifestyle, cooking, fashion blog

9 years ago

I love the intention to “connect with more succulent, wild women and be inspired by beautiful new friendships!” I used to be intimidated by other women, and then a couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to discover that ladies are amazing friends when you find the right ones! Happy New Year! :-)

9 years ago

Setting intentions around what you want to feel as opposed to what you want to do is such a good idea! I’ve already got my resolutions set out for this year but I think I’m going to take some time to do some “feeling” ones too. Thanks for the idea!

9 years ago

Your 2014 List is so similar to the things I would like to achieve this year!
Its so refreshing to here intentions charged by the idea of bettering yourself from the inside rather than the outside.
Beautiful post! Happy New Year!

9 years ago

I love your list. Most of those things are what I’m wanting to work on this year, so maybe I’ll just borrow it :) Very inspirational post.

9 years ago

Setting ‘positive intentions’ is beautiful. It’s personable! I didn’t want to make a resolution or goal per se, but I did want to set something. I just didn’t know what to call it. Now I do!
Some positive intentions that I have created for 2015 …read one book a month, become a Victim Service volunteer and be choosy. I have already found that being choosy is quite empowering and that excites me.

9 years ago

What a beautiful and inspiring post!