For me, the anticipation of January 1st arrives the minute Christmas ends. Despite freezing cold temperatures and frost glittering the ground under a thick coat of fog, January brings with it the tantalizing hope of spring, and a fresh new start. I’ve never been one to make (or keep) tons of New Year’s Resolutions, but I do believe January is a good month to self-reflect on the past year, and likewise, to re-evaluate what is important to you.
This year I’m keeping things simple, and instead of creating a list of resolutions, I am choosing one word to focus on in 2013. One word to come back to, one word to remember, one word to motivate and inspire me.
My word for 2013 is intentionality: the state of having a purpose.
“Intentional living” is becoming a bit of a cliché phrase, but when I considered other words for this upcoming year, nothing spoke to me quite as much. When I think back on 2012—the good and the bad, the pretty and ugly, the things I did well and the things I should have done better—I was struck with the realization that mindlessness has become a real problem for me. So much of what I do on a daily basis lacks meaning and purpose (perusing Facebook, watching the Real Housewives, obsessing over a recent stain on the carpet, reading books I think I should read even though I don’t like them). I’m spending far too much time doing things that are thoughtless or distracting, instead of things that are deliberate and purposeful.
It’s hard not to blame my new role as a stay-at-home mom for this issue. My days are often long, and almost all the same: feed Everett, play with Everett, change Everett, repeat. It’s easy to get caught up in the steps, distract myself with TV in the afternoon, and do it all over again tomorrow. It’s easy to spend an entire day without putting very much thought into anything at all.
Mindlessness is a tough habit to break, but I’m determined to do it. I want my days—good and bad—to be filled to the brim with intention. I want to put purpose back into my time, my relationships, my words, and my actions. As 2012 comes to an end and we enter 2013 with hope and clarity, you are, of course, more than welcome to join me.
Let’s be intentional with our time. We need to make space in our schedules so that we can feel motivated and not overwhelmed. That might mean saying “no” to obligations that are filling up our calendars, but not filling up our hearts. Let’s turn off the TV and spend more time in our gardens; less time in front of the computer and more time face-to-face. Less time with the world, and more time with God.
Let’s be intentional with our relationships. We don’t need to wait to be invited somewhere; we can do the inviting. Let’s remember birthdays and find room in our budgets to buy plane tickets to visit our best friends, whether they live across the state or across the country. Let’s invest in the good friends and stop losing sleep over the bad ones.
Let’s be intentional with our words. Let’s say what we mean, and mean what we say. Let’s be real and vulnerable and honest. Let’s ask for advice when we need it, and stop shelling it out when it is unsolicited. Let’s speak truth into each others’ lives and leave the gossip at the front door. Let’s say I love you and please and thank you and I appreciate you more often, without hesitation.
Let’s be intentional with our actions. Let’s love one another better. Let’s be kinder to strangers and kinder to ourselves. Let’s run and walk and skip and be good to our bodies. Let’s play with our babies more and worry about the laundry less. Let’s do things for the sake of doing them, and not for the sake of people seeing us do them.
and as I always say…
It’s a new day. A new year. Let’s not let it go to waste, but do good with it.