Don’t Miss the Big Picture

A new year is an exciting time for beginnings. People seem to feel energized about doing new things in new ways. It feels like a clean slate, a fresh start, and that is thrilling! If we choose, we can tap into that energy and ride the wave forward, making this year our best yet.

Now is a fantastic time to get our creative juices flowing as we vision forward, opening our eyes to bright and limitless possibilities. Where to begin, you might wonder? It all starts with a clear intention, vowing how we want to show up, what we want to be during the year. Goals, in turn, are what we will do to express these intentions.

One of the reasons New Year’s resolutions often seem to fizzle out by February is because we focus on specific things we want to accomplish and skip our overall desire for the year. That’s backward! First, we need to decide what the coming year will be about for us. When we begin by painting the larger picture and setting the tone with overall ideas, then goals become much clearer. We can set those goals in bite-size increments, accomplishing more in the long run by doing a little at a time.

How to Set Intentions

First, some deliberate daydreaming is in order. This can be revisited as needed, hourly or monthly, whenever it feels as if the vision could use more clarity. All that is needed is a comfortable spot, a method to capture ideas (paper, recorder, and so on) and a gentle attitude of curiosity. If a prompt is helpful, you might begin by asking, What would my best year look and feel like? Then just let the ideas flow. Once you have them down, the next step is to explore what kinds of thoughts, feelings, and motivations would bring about that kind of life. This is where we find our intentions.

Some helpful questions might be:

  • What kinds of words and actions would help me live the life I want to create?
  • What makes me happiest?
  • When I think of my best life, what does it feel, sound, smell, taste, and seem like?
  • What words help me feel my best?
  • What am I doing when I feel the most joyful?

You can come up with more questions, but these will get the ball rolling. Once you have identified some of the answers, it’s time to form your intentions. Here are a few avenues:

  • Draw the bigger picture, your overall desire, while thinking about ways to make it come to life.
  • List what matters most to you about the picture you came up with. How does it make you or others feel? What impact would it have on the world around you? Why do you feel it’s important?
  • What kind of person do you want to be in this world?
  • List five qualities you admire in others that you would like to develop in yourself.
  • What would make you feel the most joy in your day, week, month, or year?

After exploring these questions, think about ways you need to show up to make them happen. This will allow the intentions to come through. Things like:

  • I’d like to help people around me be happier.
  • I’d like to find ways to make life easier for those I love.
  • I’d like to do five random acts of kindness every week.
  • I’d like to be a great friend.
  • I’d like to feel good about the way I showed up every day.

You can leave it at that or go even deeper and set concrete goals for each week, month, or the whole year. Notice how each intention leads to a goal or action step. In other words, how you want to be determines what you are going to do.

  • I want to express my gratitude. (intention)
    • This week I will thank at least five people for something I am grateful for. (goal)
  • I want to be kinder to my brother or sister. (intention)
    • Today I will do three nice things on purpose for them. (goal)
  • I want to have happy dreams tonight. (intention)
    • Before I go to sleep, I will spend five minutes thinking of all the things that make me happiest. (goal)

Once we settle on our intentions, they gain power and clarity. Then as we practice living intentionally, goals are easier to set. Once we get used to setting and reaching goals, we create a life that makes a difference because we are living on purpose, gratefully. There’s no better time to start than now, whenever now might be. That’s how the present becomes a gift!

A Prayer for Setting Intentions for All Children

I take a moment to pause in prayer, holding all children of the world in my heart. I see every child’s intentions aligned with their best and highest expression, helping to create a world that works for all. I see the tools they need to reach their goals readily available, and all the support they need for every step right there when they need it. As I envision and claim it to be, so it becomes.

A Shared Family Prayer for Setting Intentions

As a family, we open our hearts in prayer. As we pray together, we picture every child in the world feeling loved and supported as they imagine their best life. We see them having great ideas about how to be their very best self and doing things that help the whole world be a better place for everyone. We envision each child open to divine ideas, and we see them bringing those ideas to life. As we claim it, so it becomes.

Together we affirm:

Did you know? All children are welcome to pray with Unity Prayer Ministry associates.

Call for Prayer:


Write for Prayer:

Unity Prayer Ministry
1901 NW Blue Parkway
Unity Village, MO 64065

About the Author

Trish Yancey, LUT, CSE, serves as spiritual leader at Unity of Sebring, Florida. She is the author of The Heart of Prayer and other books for children.


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