Great Expectations: Setting Intentions for 2016


People generally tend to be split when it comes to celebrating the New Year– you either love it or you can’t stand it. I certainly can’t complain this year as we will be ringing in 2016 in our favorite place, the Napa Valley tonight. However, I don’t usually care for New Year’s Eve or the ridiculous expectations that come with it (New Year’s Eve is lame,  but champagne is forever!), but I do love to usher in the New Year with a fresh set of goals and a positive mindset. I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I feel that I am the product of a fine-tuned vision, strong work ethic, and the advice and example of the people I trust and admire. This week, while away on a slow-paced vacation, I have had the opportunity to think a lot about the things that I would like to accomplish in 2016 and have started laying the groundwork to make those goals happen. I’ve had some wonderful mentors in my life and I believe in paying it forward, so I thought I might share my best advice to help you live your “dolce vita” in 2016. This advice isn’t specific to any one person or goal, but it is more about your frame of mind and believing in yourself. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can anyone else?

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No. 1: Instead of resolutions, set intentions this year. Let’s face it, most of us break our resolutions within a few weeks. Intentions are less specific and focus on the big picture. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making super specific resolutions, instead, make your intentions part of an overall mindset.

No. 2: Reflect on what you learned about yourself in 2015. Good or bad, how can you use those lessons to improve yourself and your life in 2016? Experience is our greatest teacher, so whether you attempted something in 2015 and failed or you found your stride and really excelled at something, think about how you can leverage that knowledge into something greater in the new year.

No. 3: Are your professional goals in line with your personal intentions? Tying them together and ensuring that they are in sync will increase your chances for success! Sometimes, it may seem that our professional and personal lives may get in the way of one another. Being married to an incredibly supportive husband who works in my same industry and not having children certainly makes things a little less complicated for me, but I recently received the brilliant advice of tying a professional goal to a personal one. This way, all of your efforts are in line with one another and your chances of achieving success are multiplied.

No. 4: What were your greatest triumphs in 2015? How can you build  upon them in the new year? Think about what you did really well this past year. Did people commend you for a certain personality trait or for the way you executed a specific project in 2015? What do these things say about you? Identifying our own strengths is a powerful exercise and allows us to get into the type of mindset that leads to achievement.

No.5: Think big, get BIG! Think positively, get positive results! Success is a state of mind. Challenge yourself to banish negative thoughts and  approach opportunities from a place of yes. Staying in a positive  frame of mind can be difficult, but I believe that you attract the same energy that you exude. Be intentional and deliberate in order to support your goals. The biggest obstacle to success is often our own mindset. Sometimes, I find that I can get in my own way when it comes to the really big goals I want to achieve. I start doubting the possibilities or creating laundry lists of reasons why it won’t work. But why shouldn’t it? If you have the skills, knowledge, talent, and passion for something, there is no reason not to try! It may sound a little hokey or new-agey, but challenge yourself to have a positive mindset from the time you wake up tomorrow. Rise up to meet the day with intention and be open to positivity and possibility. You may just be surprised at how many things will work out by simply changing your mindset!

This week, I have been reflecting on my inner desires and working on my  list of goals for 2016. Thankfully, they line up in both my personal and professional lives (it’s pretty much the same thing at this point!). There are some larger, scarier goals that will take time to come to fruition and then there are smaller, achievable goals that will help me to stay motivated and in a positive state of mind on the road to making those big dreams come true. I’ve decided that some of the scary goals will be made more palatable if I tie them to “good, better, best” case scenarios so that even if I don’t knock it out of the park with the best outcome, but attain a good or better outcome, I can still be proud of the hard work leading to the accomplishment.

How do you feel about resolutions? Do you set annual goals? Do you believe in the power of intention and positive thinking? I’d love to hear what has worked for you and wish you all the best in 2016!


{Photography by Max Burkhalter for Paloma Contreras Design}

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  1. Intention is a fantastic choice of words as oppose to resolution. Can’t believe I didn’t use it in my post. I think that was what I was looking and didn’t know it.

  2. Paloma, what excellent thoughts for the New Year. I have great intentions in mind! Wishing you all the best in the year ahead!!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Happy New Year Wishes!

  3. I like your reminder and description about good, better, best and the way you tied that to how to view outcomes. It allows that some steps in the journey still have value even if the outcome wasn’t the best; and it permits best outcomes to arrive even if the steps toward them only seemed good and not our best work in that moment. Happy New Year indeed!

  4. I love your reading your blog, Paloma, for honest and refreshing posts like this one. The idea of linking a personal goal with a professional goal is intriguing. I wouldn’t exactly call them resolutions, but I’ve set some exciting goals for myself in 2016… I was recently inspired by Aristotle’s idea that “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” I hope to cultivate good and empowering daily habits in 2016 that will help me achieve my big picture goals.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your take on new years goals, thats a great way of looking at things. I personally hope 2016 is the start of a new adventure,two out of my gorgeous daughters were married this/last year, life has really changed for me and at first I was traumatised by the fact that i am (sort of )by myself,(though 3 dogs don’t really let you feel like that), so I’m going to reinvent myself, not sure how but i think 2016 is just waiting to be the best time ever! i wish you every success with your new goals, you are most definately doing something right