Guest Blog Post by Leslie M. Bosserman, an Executive Coach + Lifestyle Strategist partnering with Millennial leaders and their managers to help them Lead With Intention®.

As you launch into 2017, I invite you to take a moment to be intentional with who you want to become – not just what you want to accomplish – this year. It’s been a long-standing practice of mine at the beginning of each new year to create a list of intentions (rather than resolutions) for who I want to be throughout my year ahead.

This annual practice began when in my mid-twenties when I realized that my “to do” list was running my life, instead of being mindful around who I wanted to be. I had been so swept up in the urgency of doing that I had let my circumstances control my choices.  I realized that I needed to reclaim my agency through intentional choice and change my behaviors, habits, and lifestyle patterns to refocus on what is truly important – WHO I am, not WHAT I do.

"Be a practical dreamer, backed by action." - Bruce Lee

As I chose to live from this place of intention, I began see some profound shifts occurring day-by-day and something started releasing in me. For once, it wasn’t about what was left undone on my seemingly never-ending “to do” list. Rather, I was now choosing to live my life in service to my “to be” list instead.

Create Your “To Be” List

To create your own “to be” list, start by asking yourself the following questions:

Who do I need to be in order to do?

Make a list of the “being” qualities you desire most this year. Here are a few to get you started.

I want TO BE:

  • Healthy
  • Focused
  • Peaceful
  • Motivated

Then ask: What do I need to do in order to be?

Now, take the being intentions you shared above and make them actionable (this is where the “doing” comes in!)

This year, I intend to:

  • Eat nutritious meals (healthy)
  • Eliminate multitasking (focused)
  • Carve out time to rest and meditate (peaceful)
  • Surround myself with positive influencers (motivated)

Watch Your Life Shift

Through answering these questions and creating my “to be” list, I watched my life unfold in front of my eyes and began changing from the inside out. My former persona of “I can do it all!” that had led me to battle unnecessary anxiety, stress, and perfectionism over the last decade transformed into one more grounded in possibility without all the pressure. It felt like I was 50 pounds lighter and my heart was finally at peace.

While I’m still a work in progress, focusing on living out my “to be” list each day helps me stay grounded. I still have days that hijack my best intentions and times I over-plan to try and control my world. I’m still human. Yet, the larger focus is on me as a human being, not a human doing.

So now it’s your turn. Create your list, then live it out.

And if you need some more reflection to get your intention juices flowing, take a moment with the following questions and see where they lead your life as you begin a new year:

  • Who do I need to be to live more authentically now?
  • What choices and life changes do I need to make?
  • What’s been holding me back?
  • What is one thing I will commit to doing in the next 24-hours that will make the biggest difference in my life?

Find More Leading Insights here


Leslie Bosserman believes that success is based on fulfillment, not retirement. As a champion for authentic living, she partners with dynamic leaders, social entrepreneurs, and creative change-makers who want to develop their natural strengths so they can live and lead wholeheartedly. She is the founder of Lead With Intention® where she supports Millennial leaders and their managers by creating customized leadership solutions. She also serves as a volunteer coach with The Coaching Fellowship and as the TEDxSacramento Event Coordinator.

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Intention.

EXPLORE Intention

Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.