Last year I felt like I had “goals” for the year. This year “intention” feels more like the right word: a thing intended, an aim or plan. And since these aren’t officially New Year’s resolutions, and since January really felt like an extension of the holiday season for us this year, I have no qualms about posting this in February! Here are some of my intentions for 2016:
- Start a meditation practice.
Even though I’ve started doing more to take care of myself, I feel like I can still get so caught up in the momentum of the day-to-day that I forget to really check in with myself. How am I feeling? Where is my mind? How is my body? For a few months now, I’ve been thinking about and then definitely wanting to take up a meditation practice. I think it will create that moment for me to check in and also to step out of the stream and recalibrate, even if it’s only for five minutes. Plus, the benefits of meditation are purported both scientifically and anecdotally to be pretty profound, and I want more of that kind of goodness in my life.
- Cultivate gratitude.
I started keeping a formal Gratitude Journal on New Year’s Day, but, like so many things that one dives into as the calendar flips, it fell off a week or so into the month. I intend to pick it back up, though, because I think it’s a really valuable practice to notice the positive things in our life and spend a moment in gratitude for them. It can be so easy to get mired down in what’s stressful or broken or less than ideal, even when so much in our life is actually really, really good.
Also, I’ve found that noticing the good things and reframing difficult times in light of those things can actually make the hard times easier. I started doing this a bit last year, and my go-to example of how it works is this:
I was bringing Roman home from preschool. It was raining, which had me pushing the stroller with one hand while holding an umbrella with the other. If you’ve never pushed a stroller one-handed, it’s not an easy or fun task. Plus, Roman is a big kid and the stroller was further weighed down with bags full of groceries, so it was heavy, and it’s a mile-long walk from his preschool to home. I was feeling stressed and frustrated and soggy. The whole ordeal was hard.
And then I had the thought: This stroller is so heavy right now because my beautiful, strong, healthy son is sitting in it and there are bags (plural) filled with healthful food for us to eat strung on its handles. I’m pushing it with one hand because I have an umbrella, which is keeping me at least partially protected from the rain. We are fortunate enough to be able to afford to send him to preschool at all, and I have two working legs that are able to carry me and him that mile to and from. In a matter of minutes I will open the door to our safe, dry, warm home. I am uncomfortable in this moment, yes, but I have it so, so good.
Gratitude all the way—in 2016 and beyond.
- Begin tackling and finish some of my writing projects.
I have lists of recipes to share, posts that I want to write (some already half-written), ideas for e-books (some fully outlined), and—last but not least—there’s the cookbook that has been conceptually lava-lamping around inside me for years now. I’m in a place where I’ve reconstructed and am building upon my confidence which, at this time last year, felt at worst shattered and at best unstable. Also, since becoming a mom, I finally feel like I have the bandwidth to rededicate to these things. So with confidence + time, I’m excited to make some progress here. Do I imagine I’ll knock everything out in the next 11 months? Certainly not. But I feel ready and hopeful about taking it up in earnest once again.
- Explore what I’m really capable of.
This has a lot to do with running, but I aim to grow this intention into as many areas of my life as possible. I want to push my boundaries, see how far I can go, to take up my moments of self-doubt as challenges, to crush them and say yes. I. can.
- Be mindful of my needs and attend to them.
This is the flipside of but also the companion to number 4. In the process of going harder, longer, farther, I’m learning that I also need to be mindful of when I need to slow down or say no. I burnt myself out to the point that I physically shut down twice over the last few months, simply because I didn’t listen when my body was screaming at me to stop and rest.
I’m slowly identifying the things that I need not just to go the extra distance, but to function optimally on a very basic level: alone time, quiet, high-quality nutrition, ample sleep. I’m working now on planning for these things before my body demands them. This has translated into blocking off “no plans weekends,” occasionally saying no to things that might have been a lot of fun, early bedtimes, choosing water over a glass of wine, and delegating/asking for help where I can.
It’s been surprisingly difficult to allow myself these things, even knowing how necessary they are, but I’m getting there.
- Continue reading.
I so, so love learning. It felt good to pick up books again last year and I want to keep that going. Here’s my tentative, optimistically incomplete though possibly ambitious reading list for 2016:
Do you have any intentions/goals/resolutions for this year? How are they shaking out so far?