It’s that time of year again when we feel the urge to make a New Year’s resolution. Whether it’s for personal or business growth, we should take time to think about how we decide on these goals. According to Forbes, only 20% of resolutions actually make it past February. What makes a resolution more successful than another? For starters, being realistic. 

But also, how you frame your resolution is key. Rather than calling your goal a resolution—which sounds like there’s a problem that needs to be solved, and that can seem subconsciously daunting—call it an intention. Why? Because using positive, affirming language and creating new habits is easier than kicking existing bad habits. Intentions are also more flexible when you fall short, whereas many people give up when they slip up on their resolutions. Rather than, “I’m going to stop getting coffee on my way to client meetings to save money,” think, “I’m going to start making coffee at home to prepare for client meetings.” As a goal oriented person that’s always interested in my own growth, both personally and professionally, I’m here with some tips and suggestions for how to set intentions for your business in the new year.

how to set intentions for your business

Here’s how to set an intention for your business

1. List the top three things you need to work on. If you’re self-employed, this means digging into client feedback or taking a good hard look at the tasks that you frequently de-prioritize and let slip. If you have employees, it means soliciting feedback from them (it’s not as dreadful as it seems). Rather than asking “What can I do better?” ask “What do you wish for the company in this new year?” That makes it less personal (to you), and helps them connect to the intention as well. Be honest with yourself.

2. Find the common thread. Once you’ve listed the things you need to work on (keyword: need, not want), you’ll need to find what ties them together. You may be surprised to see that it’s usually quite obvious. For example, my three things might be 1. Less time working on the weekend, 2. Quicker turnaround time for clients, and 3. More professional development. The obvious thread here is a need for more time. Since that’s not exactly possible, the intention needs to be about becoming more productive with the time I do have, or learning what tasks you can delegate or outsource to make room for your own growth, both professionally and monetarily.

3. Write your intention as a plan. This is what sets intentions apart from resolutions. A resolution might be “I’m going to lose ten pounds,” but an intention might be “I’m going to prioritize eating fresh foods that nourish my body twice a day”. See the difference? The intention is much more actionable. As you create your plan, focus on affirming language that ties back to the intention and build check-ins into your year. Make sure your intentions are measurable and attainable.

how to set intentions for your business

For example, if my intention is to become more productive with my time, I may set mini goals for each quarter. In Q1, my goal may be to take stock of my time by tracking how exactly it’s being spent. Tracking my time may become tedious, this is where affirming language comes in: “Tracking my time helps me know how to be more productive.” The following quarterly goals will build on each other, and finally, by the end of the year, I will be more productive.

I challenge you to enter this new year with a positive mindset. Give yourself the space to think about how you can grow into a better you, for yourself and your business—then bet on yourself by following through with these simple ideas for how to set intentions for your business.