Well folks, whether we are ready or not – 2016 is here! And as I mentioned last week, this year I’m going to be creating a monthly Intention Plan and sharing it with you.
To recap, my goal for 2016 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.
Here is my plan for January – I’d love to hear your thoughts or your own plans for 2016!
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.
This month, I’ll be touring Morocco with two of my best friends (actually I’m here now), I’m getting married in London (yes, again!), I’m touring Ireland with my mom, and finally I’ll be heading back to the States to visit the rest of my family.
I’m super excited about my plans and about spending time with so many of my loved ones, but if you’ve ever travelled with friends or family before you might know that things can sometimes go astray. Travel (and weddings) can be stressful! So this month I want to put some extra focus into caring for my relationships.
I’m really, really grateful for the amazing people I have in my life, but I worried that I don’t show this often enough. I’m also aware that sometimes I can be selfish and make things all about me, so this month I’d like to work hard to turn things around and really be supportive and appreciative of the awesome people in my life.
Here are some of the ways I’m going to try and achieve this:
Be a better listener. I have a bad habit of talking over people or not being truly present in conversations (meaning that I’m often busy thinking about my response, instead of truly listening to what the other person is saying.) I’m going to work really hard this month at stopping this.
Do small things. I’m fortunate that my hubby is great at this – always offering me the last bite of desert, asking if I want a cup of tea, or always being the one to get out of bed and turn off the light at night. These little things mean a lot to me, so I’m going to try and be more mindful about doing these little things for him (and for my friends and family.)
Set reminders. I have good intentions … but I know it’s not always easy to maintain focus. To help me stay committed to my goals, I’ve set up a few reminders to keep me on track. I’m using WhenSend to send my ‘future self’ a few emails, asking “What have you done today to show the people you love you appreciate them?” I’ve also written this same prompt in my journal to help keep love and appreciation at the front of my mind.
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.
I don’t know about you, but as I get older I sometimes forget to do things I enjoy. For example, as a young girl I loved reading, but it has been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve picked up a book. I’m not really sure why, but I don’t think I’m alone here – yet I believe that doing these little things we love can add so much value to our lives! So this year I’m making doing what brings me joy a priority in my life.
This month I’ve decided to focus on writing in my journal. In the past I’ve been a sporadic journal writer – sometimes I write everyday, sometimes I go weeks without writing anything. However, I know that when I write in my journal I feel better – I feel calm, soothed and in control of my life – so I want to make it a daily habit.
My plan to make this happen? Replace one habit with another. I have a pretty bad iPhone addiction (I’ll painfully admit that the first thing I do every morning is reach for my phone) so I’ve created this screensaver. Every time I reach for my phone, I’ll (hopefully) be reminded that that I should sometimes reach for my journal instead. (I used Canva, a free online program, to create my design.)
I’m also going to sleep with my journal and pen on my bedside table; hopefully this will inspire me to write, either before bed or in the morning (or both!)
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.
I’m starting 2016 with a big task – my focus for January is letting go of expectations. I know I won’t be able to change overnight, but it something really want to work on in my life.
If I’m honest with myself, I know that I react really poorly when things don’t go the way I expect them to – even small things. I get anxious and irritable when I don’t finish my to do list, or the restaurant I want to do eat at is closed, or even if I wake up later than planned. These are all small things but they upset me because they throw off my vision of how I expect my day to go. I need to relax and let go.
I think the best way to achieve this is by simply learning to pause and reflect on the big picture (although I know this will be easier said than done!) Still, I’m going to try and here are some of the small steps I’m going to take to make it happen:
Make it a journaling theme. Since I’m going to (hopefully) be journalling everyday, I’m going use ‘letting go of expectations’ as a key theme in my writing. I find that writing helps me be more intentional and aware of my actions.
Breathing exercises. I’ve actually already started doing this and I’m blown away by how just taking a few deep breaths can help centre me. I try and find a few quiet minutes each day to do these exercises.
Reflection. Realistically, I know that I’m not going to change overnight, but I am going to try and be mindful of when I react poorly and to take a few minutes to reflect back and acknowledge my feelings and actions. I hope that increased awareness will help me learn to let go of my expectations.
So there you go! My first Intention Plan for 2016. I’m not sure if I’m being overly optimistic but regardless I have really enjoyed writing this all down. I’m a methodical person – I like having a plan and I’m sure I’ll be referring to this post throughout the month. I’ll definitely be posting a recap at the end of the month to let you know if and how this plan has helped me.
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: Blake Bronstad // Used with permission