Over New Year’s Resolutions? Try Intentions Instead.

January 11, 2022

It’s 2022, a brand new year! To celebrate, here’s our family’s Happy New Year card.

In full transparency, I had big intentions for getting Christmas cards done this year. I even created them online, picked out all the pictures and wording, chose the best layout…and then discovered the expected delivery date said December 24th. 

Too late for a Christmas card…but not too late for the next holiday!

I changed out the “Merry Christmas” for “Happy New Year” and clicked ship. Boom, done! 

When things don’t go according to plan, sometimes we just have to let go of what we envisioned in our head and remember our intentions. 

My intention for doing Christmas cards was to share photos of our farm with family and friends who are spread all over the country. I can still accomplish that with 2022 cards, and now you all are less busy with the Christmas season and can enjoy our lovely card for the new year. 

You can think of intentions as the precursor to goals. They’re the big umbrella under which more concrete goals can shelter. 

For me, setting intentions and returning to them when I get off course is the most effective way of preparing for new things. I find it helpful to stop and think about what I want for myself and my career. As a family, we also set intentions about what we want the upcoming year to look like.   

If you’re not sure where to start, ask people around you for inspiration. “What are your intentions for 2022? What do you want this year to look like? What do you want to accomplish this year?” 

Bonus: These are great conversation starter questions for when you’re meeting new people or need something to say at an event. 

Talking and thinking through what’s important to us—and ultimately setting intentions based on your reflections—lends clarity and purpose. 

This past November, I went to a writing workshop in Nashville and received an advanced copy of Donald Miller’s newest book Hero on a Mission. In the book, he lays out a formula for a meaningful life, based on the work of Viktor Frankl. 

Side note: Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl is at the top of my list of book recommendations. 

Miller’s formula for a meaningful life:
  1. Take action creating a work or performing a deed.
  2. Experience something or encounter someone you find captivating and pulls you out of yourself.
  3. Have an optimistic attitude toward the inevitable challenges and suffering you will experience in life. 
So: what does setting intentions for a meaningful life have to do with finances? 

Your intentions are pieces of your mosaic. How you view your life and purpose is a direct reflection of how you handle your finances. Your money choices create opportunities in life or hold you back.

Take the Nelson Family Farm, for example.

My family made the decision to purchase a home with land attached so we could start a hobby farm. Our intention was to create a space for our kids to go through the rest of their schooling in one place. We envisioned a place to have family and friends find rest and be together. 

A farm, as you can imagine, means a lot of expenses, time, and work. We had to make some choices as a family if we wanted to meet those intentions. Big vacations and nice cars aren’t on the books for our near future. When we feel like we are “missing out” on something, we go back to what our intentions are: to create a hobby farm for a better quality of life and to share with others. 

As you look forward to the next twelve months of 2022, consider setting some intentions of your own. Take the time to reflect on what’s important to you and what choices you’ll need to make to get there. These intentions will help set the foundation for how you manage your finances and shape your own unique mosaic for years to come.


Hero on a Mission was released yesterday, January 11th. I highly recommend the book. Wonderful examples and helpful worksheets for processing and setting life goals. Let me know if you are interested in talking about the book. Thinking about setting up a group to go through it as people are interested.


The opinions expressed herein are those of Anna Nelson and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. This document may contain certain information that constitutes “forward-looking statements” which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “expect,” “will,” “hope,” “forecast,” “intend,” “target,” “believe,” and/or comparable terminology. No assurance, representation, or warranty is made by any person that any of Anna Nelson assumptions, expectations, objectives, and/or goals will be achieved. Nothing contained in this document may be relied upon as a guarantee, promise, assurance, or representation as to the future. Anna Nelson is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.