Instead of setting resolutions, the past few years I have opted to choose a word as an intention to guide my year. I chose to swap out lofty, unrealistic goals for a gentler approach that allows for the normal ups, downs, and unpredictability life brings.
This year, I do have some resolution-type intentions I’m setting for this year. But they are softer, leave room for failure, and move me just a little bit closer to the type of life I want to live: read more (fiction), be more loving, take more walks, be selective in what I bring into my home, spend more time in God’s word (through the Daily Audio Bible), travel to new places, reduce my waste. There’s no specific timeline or definition of what “done” looks like for this. They are just things I’m continuing to cultivate in my life.
They are things I am working to build into my life — not something I’m starting to do just because it’s the beginning of the year. The word that I choose can weave itself into all of those things as well as other aspects of my life. That’s the thing I love about choosing an intention — there are no rules as to what it needs to look like. I can grow through whatever situations happen to pop up. A word to guide my year allows me to focus on who I want to become rather than goals that can quickly become outdated.
For 2018, I chose pursue.
For 2019, I chose cultivate.
For 2020, I chose awareness.
Last year held more change than I expected — new job, another new job, bought a house (read more about my 2019 wrap up here). Through those changes and podcasts and other resources, I found myself wanting to slow down. I wanted to find mindful ways to improve my health (physical and mental), my living space, my job. I have been learning, through trial and error, that big steps forward often aren’t sustainable. Sure, it might work for a few days or weeks, but I inevitably collapse back into injury or old ways of doing things.
How could I continue to cultivate the habits I kept starting and never sticking with?
The answer came through the idea of slow living.
Without slowing down, how could I really see what motivators were driving these action? Were these actions or habits that I actually wanted or something I thought I should want? In order to do the things I actually want to do, what needs to change in my life? How do I start to introduce those changes slowly so they last?
One of the lessons I’ve learned from teaching yoga is the important of bringing awareness to the current state of things. Not judging yourself for where you are on your mat that day, but noticing what’s going on in your body and your mind — working to be more present in the current moment. From that practice, awareness can grow more intelligent movement and action.
So this year my intention is to bring awareness to the different aspects of life. To slow down and to notice more. To see God working in the little ways in my life.
What areas do you want to grow in in 2020? I’d love to hear about your intentions for this year!