I Used Aromatherapy, Numerology, and a Solo Trip to Set Intentions for the Year

If there are two certainties about my New Year's resolutions year after year, it's that I invariably fail at keeping them by the time February rolls around, and yet I continue to insist on making them each passing year. So two weeks into 2018, when my declarations for self-improvement had already derailed, I decided to try a different approach: setting intentions. I was introduced to intention-setting one year ago when I began practicing yoga. At the beginning of each class, the instructor would ask us to set an intention for the following hour. It could be an overarching goal that we had been working toward for some time or something as simple as allowing ourselves these 60 minutes to unplug from the outside world and free our minds from external worries. I loved that for a concrete—and feasible—period of time I could dedicate my energy and focus to one simple thing. Instead of committing to correct a behavior over as one does with resolutions, intention-setting allows us to draw up a roadmap for where we'd like our lives to go.

Sometimes a quick escape from quotidian life can be just the thing to get into the right headspace to revisit the intention-setting drawing board and outline a new direction. For me, that quick escape was a three-day trip to Santa Barbara, just a few hours north of L.A. by train. I took a welcome sojourn at the newly opened Hotel Californian—a sprawling seaside establishment boasting striking Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, tiled paseos, and views of the Pacific coastline and Santa Ynez Mountains. The paradisal getaway was the perfect environment to carve out some "me" time to set some intentions.