Reflection and Intention Setting

No matter what time of the year it is, taking time to sit down on reflect on how things have been going in your life and purposefully thinking about your future-self can be an enriching experience. At the beginning of the year, we hosted a workshop on intention setting. It was an intimate evening where we took time to reflect on 2017 and put thought into how we want to craft 2018.

Whether you’re wanting go through a goal-setting exercise on your own or host an evening with friends, here’s an overview of what we covered during our intention setting workshop.

P.S. this exercise works as professional intention setting, personal, or both–choose your own adventure.



Taking a Moment to Reflect

If you’re like most millennials these days, you’re probably rushing from one thing to the next all while glued to your phone with work emails, the endless highlight reels on Instagram, group chats, the news–you get the picture. It’s a lot of noise! Taking some time to reflect on how you’re actually feeling with your life is an important way of giving your brain some time to slow down and process your recent experiences.


Step 1: Start by giving yourself 1-2 hours of distraction free time. Make yourself some tea, light a candle, and create a comfortable space to tune inward. Grab a pen and notebook. Turn off your phone.

Step 2: Look-back at the past 6-12 months and answer the following:


What are you grateful for?

Has fear held you back recently?

What’s something that has recently made your heart burst with happiness lately?

What are some accomplishments you’re really proud of lately? Any skills that helped you achieve them?

What have you learned about yourself?

What challenges have you recently overcome?

What did you learn while going through these?


Intention Setting

You’re in the driver seat of your life and there’s something to be said when you put pen to paper and hold yourself accountable to your ambitions. Maybe you dream of leaving your corporate job to open a cafe in a few years or you’re trying to make partner at your firm. Thinking purposefully about the next 6-12 months into your future can support you to make more confident decision making in your day-to-day.

Step 3: Start thinking forward about how you’d like to lead the next few months with purpose.


Achieving equilibrium through elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Finding your balance is a crucial part of intention setting that’s often overlooked. When you feel balanced, you’re more likely to be open to your intentions. So, we wanted to bring in the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM seeks to balance yin and yang as well as the Five Elements. These Five Elements are aspects of Qi (life’s energy). They include Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Read more about each of the Five Elements below to get an idea of what’s feeling out of balance for you.

People who have strong wood energy have a clear vision for their life. They excel at decision-making and feel strongly about their opinions. When wood is out of balance, people can become indecisive, unable to express anger and can feel irritable.

People who have a strong Fire energy are charismatic. They love talking and socializing with others. When Fire Qi is out of balance, a person may feel bland, suffer from anxiety or insomnia.


Someone with a strong Earth energy will be well grounded and compassionate. Earth people bring others together and may act like a peacemaker. They enjoy preparing nourishing food. When Earth Qi is out of balance, they may feel exhausted and overworked and can become worriers.

A person with a well-balanced Metal energy is well organized, self-disciplined and enjoys structure. They feel comfortable with rules and have inner strength. When the Metal Qi is out of balance, people will feel struck with sadness and will have troubles letting go.


A person with strong Water Qi will feel fearless and determined. If this is out of balance, a person may feel anxious, fearful and withdrawn.

Step 5: Now that you’ve had a chance to read more about each of the 5 elements of TCM, which elements are feeling off? Make yourself aware of what’s feeling out of balance.  

Lastly, end this exercise by using all of the work you’ve gone through above to pick a word that best represents your year.

Step 6: Finding your word of the year
When keeping all of the past questions in mind, what word encompasses your intentions for 2018? If you get stuck, write down a bunch of meaningful words and go with the one you’re more drawn to!
What does this word mean to you? Make up your own definition if you want- the world’s your oyster!


We hope you found this intention setting exercise helpful! To stay in-the-know about upcoming events and workshops, subscribe to our newsletter.

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LifestyleFarron Hicks