Happy New Year! Every year, I make a list of the things I want to do on New Year’s Day, because I believe that sets my intention for the whole year. Of course, many of them are symbolic (“garden”, for example, is hard to do in January) but it still clarifies and directs my thinking as I start the New year.
And there are so many resolutions! There’s always something we want more (or less) of, something we want to do better or not at all.
- more exercise, patience, communication
- less fat, sugar and mindless eating
- more saving, organizing, accountability
- less wasted money, time and resources
Well, as my sister would say, “How does it feel to want?” So I prefer to think of resolutions as more like goals. What do I want to happen, what is my goal, and how can I make it happen?
I want to be intentional. Being intentional corrects so many errors and facilitates so many joys.
To be honest, I’m not very good at it. Writing the New Year’s Day list helps. What is my intent for my work time this year? What is my intent for my leisure time? Thinking about it as I start the Year is clarifying. (Reviewing last year’s list helps, too.)
I do a daily list, too, like many people, a task list. But I try to make it reflect the intentions of the New Year List. Often there’s only two or three items on the daily list that get done, but at the end of the day (remembering that my original intent was often to do a lot more!), I am able to say that SOMETHING happened during the day that moved me towards a goal.
Sometimes I can combine goals. Fore example, more exercise, more thought in my friendships, getting outside combines nicely into a long walk, safely distanced outside, with a friend. Sometimes the list helps me steer through a temporarily uncomfortable situation. (No, I can’t sub in for you at the shop this afternoon because I already have plans [silent to self: that help me meet my goal]. It is OK, I’ve decided, to let my goals and intentions rule my calendar. Someone else’s needs/goals don’t get to change my plans and trump my goals!
There is strength in being intentional, even if it’s only in the moment. I have a goal of being more healthy in 2021, and so it’s fairly easy to judge my plans against that goal. Making popcorn with butter and watching a movie? Not so much. Making popcorn with butter and reading a book is a bit better. Popcorn without butter and reading a book is better still. Two cups of popped corn without butter and the intent to enjoy both the book and the snack is the best.
In my younger years, “is this the best use of my time right now” was often a guilt-inducing question. It’s less guilt-inducing now because I often frame it as “is this what I want to be doing?” If it moves me towards the goal of a more organized kitchen, even time spent cleaning the stovetop becomes more intentional.
Reviewing my intentions helps me stay motivated. So good bye 2020. Fate intervened a bit, right? So I’m going to take that into account in my intentions for 2021. And it’s going to be a great year!