We’re beginning a brand new year, and it seems like a good time to set intentions for what you want to work towards as your goals this year. I have set a couple, and shared them with someone close to me. I'm encouraging the individuals I counsel and coach to do the same.

If we don't set goals and readjust our life course from time to time, or add in a new personal challenge, we can get stale. One year can roll into the next without the conscious intention to chart our course.  It's taking personal leadership in your own life.

Intentions are different than resolutions. New Year's resolutions often involve giving up something, or losing weight. Some people make the same resolutions every year, and experience a burnout factor with making or keeping them.

Setting intentions has more to do with looking at your life more broadly, with its different facets, and identifying a couple of areas that could be developed. While common New Year's resolutions could be to drink less alcohol, exercise more, eat better, or save money, intentions could expand the focus to consider improving your career situation, personal relationships, emotional health, travel goals, relocating or changing your living situation, or other areas of your life.

While setting goals to increase your physical fitness, or your finances, many people don't consider setting some goals for emotional growth over the next year. Don't overlook this very important part of your life. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

• Becoming more patient

• Expressing my feelings more openly to my partner

• Taking more responsibility for managing my moods, depression, or anxiety

• Asking for the support I want

• Empathizing more with others, realizing my perspective is not the only right one

• Doing more self-care

• Being a better, calmer parent

• Not taking out my anger on others, learning to do something constructive with my anger

• Honoring my commitments, keeping promises

• Being on time

• Being honest and truthful, even when it's hard to do so

• Expressing my affection, using loving touch

• Overreacting less

• Managing my own stress, not taking it out on others

• Listening from the heart

• Putting away electronics  to better connect with loved ones

• Playing more

• Making time to teach my children/grandchildren life skills

• Having more fun with my partner

• Being a better husband/wife/partner

• Begin dating

• Make more friends

• Not doing destructive or secretive behavior that is bad for me and/or dishonors those I love

• Transcend self more/volunteer for a cause I care about

• Develop my spiritual beliefs

• Learn how to resolve conflicts respectfully, fight fairly

• Express my appreciation to others

• Apologizing when I am wrong, making repairs

• Saying "I love you" often

• Spending time with the small children and seniors in my life

• Making family dinners at home, with candles and conversation, as often as possible to stay connected

• Decide not to email or text about personal things, some things are only for person-to person conversation

• Stop yelling, bullying, threatening to leave

• Invite a family member to go to counseling with me to make things better

• Court my partner, not take them for granted

• Go on a weekly date night (no children)

• Make your home a sanctuary: quiet, peaceful, organized, and a place to recharge

• Be more supportive of other family members

• Ask for feedback about how you are doing in your closest relationships

• Initiate affection with your partner, don't make men make all the effort

• Set healthy boundaries

• Go direct to speak with the person you are upset with

• Create some downtime

• Create positive surprises

Hopefully this list will inspire you to set an emotional health or relationship intentions of your own for 2013.

Pick a couple, and write down the steps of how you will work towards your goal. What support will you need to reach your goal? Who can you ask for ideas on what steps to take? For my clients, I am an accountability partner and we can follow up on their path to each goal, but you can pick an accountability partner in your life if you like. Having someone else know our goals and check in with us about our progress helps our intentions get traction.

You can also create a vision board on a piece of posterboard to keep your goals front and center all year. Put it at the front of your closet or where you get ready in the morning for your day. Create conscious awareness of your goals. Check in monthly to determine if you are making progress.

Have an emotionally healthy and relationally close 2013. Set your intention to grow a little!