My 2016 goal is to live with intention, which for me means: listening to my heart and being true to myself; making time and creating space to do more of what I love; and letting go of the rest (ideas, relationships, expectations, clutter) – anything that isn’t actively contributing to my happiness and wellbeing. Each month I’ll be sharing an Intention Plan outlining specific monthly focuses and strategies.
Hi lovelies! Can you believe February is here already? (It seriously feels like just yesterday I wrote my January Intention Plan!) Last month was crazy (in a busy, wonderful sort of way); I toured Morocco with two of my best friends, I had a London wedding (photos coming soon), I visited Ireland with my mum and stepdad, and then Mike and I went on a whirlwind mini tour of Norway.
So … with so much going on, how well did I live with intention? And what are my plans for this month?
JANUARY CHECK IN
To recap, in January I choose to focus on my core value of caring for my relationships, I decided to add more writing in my journal to my life, and I worked to let go of my expectations.
I’m going to start with the easy win first; one of the best things I did in January was write consistently in my journal. (I’ve always loved journalling but I’ve never made it a regular habit.) What I learned from writing regularly is when I write in my journal, I feel instantly calmer and in control. This has been a lifesaver because, with so much going on, I often felt completely overwhelmed last month. Journalling helped me to stay (relatively) sane.
Now onto the tough stuff. As you can imagine, ‘caring for my relationships’ and ‘letting go of expectations’ don’t fit in into tidy little life boxes that I can check off my to do list in the way that ‘writing in my journal’ does.
My goal for both (and for all of my intention plans) is to change my focus; to pause, and look at where I’m shining the light of my attention. It’s about acting with intention.
So with that in mind, I feel positive about last month. Were things perfect? No, of course not. With my wedding, there was a lot of ‘about me’ time and I think my family and friends probably did more for me than I did for them! And then I had some charming moments (like snapping at my husband when I drove the wrong way down a oneway road in Ireland…)
But I did work hard to turn my attention towards the love I have for my friends and family, and away from life’s small annoyances. And I remained calm when my caterer forgot we ordered canapés on my wedding day, I smiled when we made last minute changes to our travel itinerary, and I apologised when my temper or bad moods got the best of me (most of the time.)
LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
Each month I’ll be highlighting one of my core values and crafting a plan to make sure I’m giving this part of my life enough attention. I believe that happiness is achieved when you use your values to guide your life. If you want to know more about my core values (and why they are so important) check out this post.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in harmony.
The BIG lesson I learned last month is how hard it is to live with intention when you’re run down and tired.
I touched on this topic in this post I wrote last week (about struggling with minimalism – including 6 tips to help.) One of those tips seemed to strike a chord with everyone (my readers and even my hubby commented on it):
When I’m feeling insecure, worn out, or overwhelmed, I catch myself going into survival mode. This means I’m not thinking intentionally about life choices (or even small choices like lunch); instead I’m floundering about and looking for any quick and easy way to make me feel better – like snacking on junk food, snapping at other people, or the good old “buying things to cheer myself up.”
In other words, when I don’t take care of myself, I don’t care about minimalism.
That last bit could easily read, “when I don’t take care of myself, I don’t care about anything.” My lowest points (when I was the crankiest and snappiest) were when I let myself get overly tired and run down. Which is why in February, I want to focus on taking care of myself.
Writing that feels a little bit selfish. I know that a lot of
women people neglect self care because it can feel strange (or even wrong) to put yourself first. But one thing I really learned last month is that self care is not just about me, it’s about everyone in my life. When I’m well cared for, I take better care of the people I love (plus I’m a lot more pleasant to be around!)
So in January, I’m going to focus on:
- Getting enough sleep. I’m going to implement some of the tips that the Everyday Spruce shares in this awesome post about sleep rituals, specifically setting a bedtime alarm.
- Yoga everyday. I love yoga but when I’m travelling I can’t take regular classes. I’ve realised I’m overwhelmed and a little bit intimidated by the idea of creating my own ‘practice’ so I’ve decided to keep it simple, let go of expectations and give myself permission to just do a few poses each day without overthinking it.
- Quiet time. I love taking a few minutes of quiet time (away from technology and other people) to journal, meditate, or just sit with my thoughts. I’m going to set a reminder on my phone to help me remember to take a break and turn off (oh the irony!)
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Each month I’ll be choosing something that brings me joy and creating a daily habit of actually doing it – even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. I want to break through the ‘too busy’ excuse and prioritise doing what makes my heart happy.
Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
In last month’s Intention Plan I hinted that I’m don’t read as much as I’d like (and I miss it) so this month I’m keeping things simple and adding more reading to my life.
I love reading because when I read I’m reminded that the world is bigger than what I see around me everyday. Reading makes me feel insignificant (in a good way) because I realise there is so much possibility in the world. It makes me feel hopeful.
I like to read a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Currently I’m reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (affiliate link), which is all about inspiring creative living (something I need right now as a new blogger!) As a stroke of luck, one of the blogging groups I belong to has a book club and they’re reading Big Magic too, so I’ve got instant accountability!
LET GO OF ALL THE REST
Each month, I’ll be choosing something I’m unnecessarily including in my life – physical items, tasks, ideas or even relationships – and deciding to ‘let go’. It’s about clearing what doesn’t matter and making space for what does. If this appeals to you, you can read more about my journey to minimalism here.
Have nothing in your house (or life!) that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
Lately, I’ve noticed that I seem to be working a lot, but I’m not really getting much done (sound familiar?) I’ll start writing a blog post, and then I’ll hop over to Pinterest and pin a few things, then I’ll head over to Twitter … and then I’ll wonder why it takes me to take so long to get things done.
So, in February, I’m going to work really hard to let go of multitasking. I want to do one thing at a time, and do it well.
I’ll be honest – this will be a tough one and I’m not expecting to move mountains overnight. But, from what I’ve learned about Intention Planning so far, is that a little bit of extra attention and focus really help put the wheels of change into motion.
Additionally, I’m going to try and start using block scheduling as a practical strategy to keep me from multitasking. In super simple terms, block scheduling is a way of using specific tasks to schedule your time. For example, instead of saying “I’ll work on my blog today”, I’ll plan to spend 90 minutes writing, 90 minutes on creating graphics, 90 minutes on social media, etc, etc. Here are a few super helpful posts about block scheduling from Crafted by Pam and Heart. Love. Always.
After just one month of Intention Planning, I won’t say it has changed my life, but I will say I feel positive and more in control. When I was younger I hated goals and also anything to do with self development; I believed it was only for weak minds. But as I get older, I realise this belief was rooted in insecurity and instead it feels good to be working towards something and to be striving for improvement (and happiness!)
If you’d like to join me and create you own Intention Plan please do and let me know in the comments! Or use #IntentionPlan and share on social media – I’d love to hear what your plans are for 2016.
photo credit: (top) Yuliya Ginzburg // (bottom) mine // Used with permission