My Intention for 2024.

By: Jen Shoop

In recent years, I’ve wandered away from the notion of “new year’s resolutions” and instead set an “intention” for each year. (Last year’s was “flow,” and years prior have included “grace” and “gentleness.”) Intention-setting feels gentler as an approach to self-improvement, and I like the practice of using the word as a “base-line” or “recentering tactic” over the course of a day, week, month. “How well did I model ‘flow’ today?” is the perfect, lightweight-but-generative dusktime audit. (I’d give myself middling marks on this intention, if I’m honest. I still found myself bristling, rushing when I did not need to, straining against the way things unfolded. However, I did cultivate awareness in this area. I am now hyper conscious of when I am not “letting things go” / “going with the flow.” I see myself as the jutting stone around which the stream is forking. This is a promising diagnostic ability. It will take more work to instinctively, rather than retroactively, bend, though. A few big turning points for me this year were letting go of some of my parenting bugaboos (for example, letting my daughter more or less dress herself), embracing the concept of “a soft landing,” and really, truly learning that not all things in life resolve to a fine point, and that sometimes I must leave it as it lays.)

An encore of the “flow” intention would probably suit me well for these reasons, but I found myself reaching for something else:

Stretch. Not in the sense of “straining to make things work” or “reaching for bigger goals,” but rather: sitting in the center of a room, sprawling out. Shaking out my limbs, leaning elastic, unfurling into the day.

I think what I really mean is: making space. Giving myself more margin. Giving others the same. Truly being present — taking up room, focusing, bringing my whole self — in the areas that matter to me. Replacing fractions with whole numbers: I don’t want to give 75% of myself anymore because the other 25% is frittering away focus in some other, lesser important domain.

So here is my yogi-like 2024 program: stretch and make space.

Do you have a word of an intention for the new year?


+On a more tactical level (and all of these “ladder up” to my “make space” intention!), I’d like to read a little bit every day and get outside more often.

+What are you “sending out” into the world on an average day?

+A part of the world that has shaped me profoundly, and birthed (or witness the birth of?) many versions of myself.

+Constraint and the unseen doula.

+The fallacy of open time.

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Shopping Break.

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+Love the look of this bold gold drop earrings. Look for less with these, or in fun color here.

+Wearing these jeans with a metallic turtleneck (this VB would be a major upgrade pick option — love the subtle drape) to hang with a girlfriend tonight for a cocktail!

+Chic way to display a coffee table book. We also love this (collapsible!) cookbook stand for cooking in the kitchen. Handsome enough to leave out if need be, but can also collapse flat and be stowed with cutting boards.

+This floral vest is calling my name.

+Love these classic black slingbacks. Dior vibe.

+A fabulous, outfit-making cardigan.

+My kind of every day dress for slightly warmer weather. I saw this and thought it’d also be good for post-partum — nursing-friendly, loose-fitting, but pulled together. Could be cute for a newborn photo shoot. Related: over the years, I field lots of questions about “basic dresses” that can be worn infinity ways. This navy one is one of those unicorn dresses. Dress up, dress down. Classic but not uptight.

+Love this bedside table. The pull-out tray is so clever, and I love when they offer storage — why not?! Keep everything hidden in there that need not be accessible at all times.

+Just ordered my kids these ski socks. More sizes here. (I got Mr. Magpie these.)

+This plush sweatshirt turtleneck looks dreamy.

+Rainy day activity to tuck away for your kids when they’re on day 235 of winter break.

+Gorgeous winter dress. The hot pink velvet! Contemplating for my husband’s January birthday!

+Bar area upgrade. More of our favorite barware here.

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18 thoughts on “My Intention for 2024.

  1. My goal for the year is to tend to the weak ties. By that I mean show up for people in my community. Not just the best friends and the in-laws, but the woman you vaguely know from playgroup, the dad whose kid always plays with yours at the playground but you’re passing acquaintances, the cranky neighbor across the hall. A proper community shows up for all its members and a happy person has a community of pleasant interactions beyond the best friends, and it can include your hairdresser, your friend’s friend who’s always at the same parties, your postal worker, the barista who remembers your coffee order. I’m a natural organizer and people pleaser, so my goal is to keep this low key and focused on the recipient’s needs to avoid activating my need for approval. Therapist has been warned to pull me out if I go too deep!
    1. I made a Christmas stocking for a friend going through a horrible divorce, because no one makes magic for the single moms! She’s not a best friend, just a playgroup acquaintance I like.
    2. Organizing a meal train for a new mom in February. Meal trains are not a thing here, culturally, and this woman has been on bed rest since week 24 of pregnancy, and I’m hoping to lift her up a bit. I’ve reached out to her closer friends for her preferences and am taking on the logistics.
    3. Setting out a tray of snacks and waters for my cleaning person and any tradespeople, since I’ve heard people are intimidated by “just help yourself” offers.

  2. 2023 was a very difficult year for me, health wise and I have still one more surgery before 2024. I find recovering makes me want to curl up and become despondent. So for 2024, I want to “be a radiator” of spreading joy, love and happiness. No single word, just a gift I want to try and find everyday to share.

    1. Sending you love, healing support, health, and joy in return, Cynthia. Keep going and here’s to a year of thriving, fulfilment, and sustained recovery in 2024 xx

  3. Oof, I feel you on spaciousness, Jen! The other thing I wanted to say to this, is that I feel like we’re taught that ‘more’ is abundance whereas I feel like leaving space is summoning abundance because our spirits are properly open. Spaciousness also feels like the opposite of rushing, killing time, and biting off more than we can chew. I feel like it also encourages being present in the moment we’re in? I look forward to hearing how this goes for you ❤️.

    My word for 2023 was Expansion and I really got that in so many ways — namely learning so many lessons that shook me so thoroughly to my core that it felt like being cracked open over and over. To quote you Jen, this was a year of deep questioning and I’m still trying to pay attention to how I was being expanded open to learn core things while having fundamental values reinforced. Oof, 2023.

    With this on my heart, my word for 2024 is Fortify.
    It’s a call to lean into those teachings, to build in new and long-lasting ways, and to really go deep on my values and the values we have as a family. In my heart, I feel deeply called to fortify from a place of integrity so I can be true to myself, live from those values with sincerity and courage, and show up for my husband and the ‘house’ of our partnership and our family. In the same vein, I’m a chronic people pleaser who has adopted this from a deep fear that I’m unloveable and an innate failure no matter what I do, so this tends to play out in mentally debilitating anxiety in lots of ways. With the outlook of fortifying, I’m hoping to have the spirit of self-belief around standing in my power, making decisions in values-based alignment, and not ‘fawning’ because I’m scared people won’t love me or will think I’m horrible simply because I’m being true to myself and my responsibilities. I’ve learned that standing up for what’s right has to come from my values and that this strong foundation requires that intentional fortification so I can still be kind, considerate, present, and thoughtful without wearing myself out from giving more than is really sustainable or because I’ve internalised that I can’t say and let people down.
    The fortification ties to other personal goals around health routines, writing, communication, finances, and my freelance business as well. All in all, as my gorgeous husband says, I want to start as I mean to go on.

    Lastly, the truth is that I’m turning 35 in late January and this feels like I’m entering an exciting albeit intimidating new chapter of my life. We’ve just moved to a new country and I have so much I want to do. The call to Fortify will hopefully shake out some habits and beliefs that aren’t serving me and loved ones so that the path ahead is filled with far more meaning and deepening, fearless connections. I hope that isn’t too navel-gazing! xx

    1. Aoife! Thank you so much for sharing these vulnerable reflections. I love the “fortify” intention and deeply related to it from the lens of “having the spirit of self-belief.” Yes! There have been several occasions this year where I have really needed to center myself and build myself up and remind myself that, to quote John Candy in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”: “I like me. My [husband] likes me. My friends like me. Because I’m the real deal! What you see is what you get.” The sentiment seems so obvious but there have been instances in which I have doubted myself and needed to really plant my feet in the ground and remind myself of everything that I know myself to be. I feel like this is a thread that fed into my words (“stretch” and “space”): take up space! Let your full self stand up and breathe.

      Sending you so much love and strength as you head into 2024!! Switching countries (and adopting / adapting to a new culture) is a big challenge. You got this.


  4. My tongue-in-cheek mantra/intention/phrase for 2023 was: “feel good/have fun/be hot” (coming off of 2022 which was a year of terrible health woes, too much hard work, and a bad breakup).

    My “intention” for next year though is “celebrate” — I have a slew of weddings of dear friends/family members so it fits with the predetermined vibe of the year. It is a beautiful thing to watch your people find and fall in love so deeply and completely with such wonderful and fun and smart straight up GOOD people.

    But I also want to make space (to borrow from you!) to celebrate more than just the nuptials, I want to celebrate my cousin who is going above and beyond to our other cousin as MOH and is turning 30 this year; I want to celebrate my sister as she continues a newfound love of running marathons; I want to celebrate my brother as he enters his last year of college and is really our last link to those fun, crazy days; I want to celebrate my parents who just finished building their dream retirement house; I want to celebrate myself and my friends as we graduate from law school. I want to celebrate the various brides and grooms of course but also for reasons other than their upcoming weddings: med school and law school graduations, new apartments, new jobs, new ventures, celebrate the brides for bringing together some of the best groups of people I know on their bachelorettes, I want to celebrate all of the small little wins throughout the year, not just for myself but for everyone in my life.

    In this way, I’m thinking of celebrate not just in the happy festivities sense of the word (though that too!) but in the way that a priest celebrates Mass daily: to honor, solemnize, to observe, to proclaim.

    Thank you as always for making this space to reflect, to share, and of course, to read!

    1. Oh gosh, Molly, thank you for sharing this. It made me feel so warm and fuzzy. How blessed your community is to have you. Here’s to a beautiful, fulfilling, and connected year xx

    2. Hi Molly – Your generous spirit shines in this little musing you’ve shared with us. As Aoife said, “how blessed your community is to have you” (!!!). Love the word “celebrate” for 2024. Onward, friend!!


  5. I love this post too!! And this go with the flow reminds me of yoga, and also leaning into God’s call/discernment and also making space during this season of Advent.

    Have a Merry Christmas Jen!! And keep spreading the good news!!

    1. Yes! – there’s definitely a “yogi” visual I was conjuring as I reflected on this!!

      Merry Christmas to you! Let’s keep publishing the good news 🙂


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