Our guide to planning a year filled with purpose

Set intentions and follow them through with our fool-proof guide on living with meaning. 

So, now you’ve found your purposehow are you going to strive towards fulfilling it? Whether your purpose is big or small, the more you grow and expand on it – the more accomplished you’re going to feel. Here’s how to make a plan for the year, to become the best version of you. 

Set intentions, not goals  

Many of us are hard-wired for ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset. It’s great to dream big but the key to self-growth is not to hold on to perfectionism. “I encourage my clients to set intentions, not goals.” explains our purpose expert Ani Naqvi. When you set yourself a goal – one of two things will happen. Either you smash the goal or – you don’t. If the latter happens, you’re going to be left with a sense of guilt and failure. If you succeed in achieving it – then that’s kind of it. Your celebration will be temporary, then you’re on to chasing something else. “Goal setting creates resistance. We're essentially saying that we're not happy with what we've got already,” explains our purpose expert Ani Naqvi. “You need to let go of your attachment to the outcome.” If a goal is a destination – the intention is your compass, something you can carry with you at all times to keep you heading in the right direction.  Here are some examples of the difference: 

 

Goal: Set a personal best for a 10K run 

Intention: Start running regularly and improve my fitness 

 

Goal:  Get a promotion at work 

Intention: Focus on my professional development and seek out new skills  

 

Goals actually limit you to one possible outcome. By setting intentions – the world is your oyster. Maybe you’ll even end up running a half marathon or discovering a new role you love. With goals, we’re always encouraged to make them ‘SMART’ to make them achievable. The key to making intentions stick is to take a 360 approach – looking at all areas of your life where you can grow. Here’s a plan to help you. 

 

Plan for your best year yet 

For this, we will show you how to: 

  • Set monthly intentions 
  • Create personal purpose affirmations 
  • Make a vision board 
  • Manifest your vision and purpose 

 

Set monthly intentions 

So, have a think about your purpose– and what you can do to fulfil that in the next year. With Ani, we’ve created a worksheet for you to fill in – creating intentions for each area of your life and each month of the year, with the focus on one word in particular. To help you fill this in, here are some questions to get you thinking. 

 

  • What was your biggest holdback last year from fulfilling your purpose? 
  • What habits would you like to change going forward? 
  • Would learning any new skills help you? 

 

To give you an example, let’s say your passion is singing and songwriting and you’ve realised your purpose is to touch as many people as you can through music. Maybe, your intention is to grow your repertoire and reach. Your word could be – growth. Then, you can think about each month of the year, and how you can focus on growth.  

 

In January, it might be starting singing lessons.  

 

In February could be creating more time for your writing. 

 

In March, perhaps it’s performing – whether that’s at open mic nights or making YouTube content of you singing. 

 

By breaking up the year and setting small intentions for each month, you can see how your purpose has progressed. “Review your intentions regularly, even daily to keep them front of mind,” recommends Ani. “The more you focus on them whilst being content with all you have the more likely you will achieve them.” 

 

Create personal purpose affirmations 

If you want to achieve you have to believe. “You have to put the thoughts there,” says Ani. “You have to say to yourself every day I am an amazing professional singer and I transform lives every day. From this you can create an affirmation. If you really want these things, then you have to put the actions into place.  

 

“Unfortunately, most of us are dealing with the negativity bias, we tend to focus on what we don’t want rather than what we do want. Through repeating these positive mantras, daily affirmations can be extremely impactful. This kind of practice creates neuroplasticity changes in the brain,” says Ani.  

 

Neuroplasticity means that every time you have a new thought – your brain creates a new neural pathway. By repeating a thought again and again, you strengthen that pathway – making it easier for your brain. Research shows that reciting affirmations has the potential to stimulate specific areas of the brain associated with self-esteem and satisfaction, resulting in heightened positive feelings, enhanced self-worth, and decreased stress.

 

We’ve created a guide with Ani on how to create personalised affirmations that will work for you. Watch this video to get going.  

Make a vision board 

Now you’ve got your intentions and affirmations – it’s time to create something visual that embodies them. By creating a vision board, and placing it somewhere in your home that you see every day – you’ll have a constant reminder of those intentions.  

 

So, where to start? Here are Ani’s top 4 tips for making a vision board. 

1. Visualise Your Intentions 

Now that you know your intentions for this year, it’s time to visualise them.  

2. Find Inspiring Imagery & Links 

Hunt for images that represent your intentions and dreams. Choose visuals that really resonate with you. Look for images showing activities or inspirations that make your heart sing 

3. Organise Your Board 

Arrange your collected images and links into a visually appealing layout. Experiment with composition and scale. Play around, grouping related elements or highlighting crucial intentions. There's no right or wrong—just enjoy the process. 

4. Add Positive Words 

Include affirmations that resonate with your intentions. You can use inspiring quotes or intentional words and make them visible alongside your visuals. For example, if you want to attain more balance this year, select a word or image that symbolises "balance" for you. 

 

Manifest your vision and purpose 

Save your board as an image or print it on a sheet of paper. Place it where you'll see it daily—beside your mirror, as your wallpaper in your laptop, or on your desk. Regularly take a moment to study it, reaffirm your intentions, and stay motivated. 

This article is part of our How to Find Your Purpose masterclass, a series of articles and videos designed to help you live a life with more meaning. If you want to start debunking the myths around purpose, reveal what makes your heart beat faster and bring more joy into your life, you can find the rest of the content here 

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans is a copywriter with a strong appetite for thought-provoking stories, travel and anything covered in white chocolate. With a background working in the fast-paced television industry, she has learnt the importance of self-care and downtime and believes there’s no such thing as too many candles. She is passionate and committed to her lifelong search for the perfect meal and subscribes to the doctrine that ‘if you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love somebody else’ (Ru Paul).