Friday, January 13, 2017

Intentionally Framing My Year

I love a clean slate, that feeling of possibility that a new year affords you as you look ahead and decide what it will bring. I make resolutions and lists, decisions on how many times I'd like to walk the dog (every day) and what bad habits I'm going to throw to the way side (nagging, nail biting, leaving laundry to languish). And then I march bravely into the exciting beyond only to fall flat on my face when I can't make these changes (which has been my case with all of the above resolutions in years past). I'm pretty sure most of us know this feeling. 

In comes the one-word yearly theme. I first heard of this plan through Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and the podcast Happier (to name a few). The one-word theme is the idea that instead of making specific resolutions that are rarely kept that one should create a framework for the year with a single word. It can be all encompassing or very specific (for example "novel" was chosen by her sister to remind her to focus on writing her novel, but could also mean to try novel experiences). Last year was my first attempt at this with the chosen word "generosity." I found that I kept letting myself down in situations where I could have been more generous with money so decided to have this word as my focus. Did I always achieve it? No. Did I go to the lengths that I could have with it? Nope. But I can remember numerous times where I was put in a situation where I might not have spent or given money (or even time), remembered my yearly theme, and pushed myself to be more generous. And each and every time it truly made me happier. I felt less disappointed with myself in these situations and great that I'd made someone else's day a bit better. I have a long way to go, but definitely am now on the kickstart path to keep working on it.

With my first successful one-word year behind me, I was definitely excited to bring another into my wheelhouse. I've been thinking a lot about what I want out of the year, what memories I want to make and what would bring a smile to my face as I look back on 2017 waiting for the New Year's ball to drop. Building and sustaining community is a big one as always, since relationships are my lifeline. Soaking in this time at home with all of my children is another, an opportunity that not everyone gets. There's also learning to focus more on myself and less on others, to take care of my needs so that I'm ready to give my best to those around me. To control what I'm able to and let the rest go. I'd also like to pay off some debts and save more money, with a set purpose in mind for what's stashed away. And working to make decisions more easily is a necessity not just for my sanity but for that of those around me. This looks like a pretty tall order for one word to encompass, but after kicking around a few words, I finally landed on intentionality


1. The fact of being deliberate or purposive.
2. (PHILOSOPHY) the quality of mental states (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.

I feel so much hope and potential with this word. I mean, who doesn't want to be deliberate or purposeful in what they do?! How can that not help? That being said, being intentional takes forethought and time, something that I'm not always the best at. But that's what the one-word theme is there for - to help bring awareness and improvement to areas that you feel are lacking. So with my freshly picked intentionality, I thought I should bring some focus to what exactly I hope to work on from the get go.

1. Speak more intentionally. Go into a situation knowing what I want to get from it and figure out if my words will help achieve that. Step back and take a breather before reacting. Learn to leave some things unsaid. 

2. Intentional time with kids. With a household to run and a self to take care of, there is no way that I can give my kids my all all the time. That being said, it's much more important for me to give intentional, focused time to each one of them. This could mean scheduling one-on-one time in with each of them, stopping what I'm doing when possible to go see what they want to show me, giving them 15 minutes of uninterrupted them time and making it clear that afterwards I have to get back to my other responsibilities. I actually went to a parenting workshop last weekend (intentionality in action!) which armed me with more strategies to be intentional and thoughtful in all that I do with them. 

3. Intentional actions for myself. Exercise regularly. Eat well and often. Sleep. Treat myself when I'm craving it. Basically intentional self-care.

4. Intentional use of time. Learn not to overbook. Say "no" when something isn't necessary or when I'm not really wanting to do it. Take control of the mornings (i.e., get up before kids and achieve something, whether home related or heading to Red Canoe to have solo morning time). Have a focus for my time throughout the day so that I know when it will be "productive" but also when it will be relaxed. Downtime is much more enjoyable when you're consciously allowing it, not just falling into it out of laziness.

5. Decision making. Look ahead at what I want out of the situation and try to decide which path will get me there. Remind myself that even if the result isn't what I had hoped, that the decision was made with purpose and intention and that I can't always control the outcome. 

6. Social media and screen usage. Don't get sucked into social media or my phone just because there is a moment of free time. Be intentional in when I check. Have a purpose for using it, even if it is just to take a little escape from my day. Figure out what my overall intention is in having the accounts and work accordingly. 

7. What comes in/stays in our house. Grocery shop with a list and menu in mind. Try intentional decluttering. Don't buy for the deal, buy for the need. Think purchases over when possible, and if they are still on my mind in the future, go for it.

8. Intentional savings. Pay off debts. Set up automatic payments to my retirement account.

Guys, I am SO excited to have this plan! While I know that I will have many stumbles along the way, I do feel that having this overarching theme surrounding me will help guide my choices. None of the above items are specific resolutions, and if I don't achieve them I'll be okay. But if at the end of the year I know that I put more thought and intention into my daily choices and interactions I'll chalk it up as a success.

What about you?! Any New Year's resolutions? Have you heard of the one-word theme before? Tried it, want to try it, have a word already? Or are you the unicorn that makes and doesn't break their resolutions? I'd love all your tips, tricks, and ideas if so! 

Here's to an intentional 2017.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are kinda the best and brighten my day! :)

And psst... I'd really love to write back, but usually do so through email, so I hope you're not a no-reply commenter!