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.
This morning I woke up with a deep sense of a change in season. Today is my last day in the US; in a few hours I’m flying to Mexico and for the next few months I’ll be making my way through Peru, then Guatemala, and then back through Mexico – and not long after that home.
Although my flight back to Australia is still a few months off, today I feel like I’m hitting the home stretch and I’m feeling contemplative. I’m thinking a lot about authenticity, living with intention, and what it all means to me.
I’ve previously described intentional living as:
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.
I still believe this but I’ve realised there are elements this definition leaves out, namely courage and hard work.
In 2008, I went on a 10 month, solo round the world trip. During this time, I spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts and by the time I flew home I had some very clear ideas about the person I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life.
However, when I got home it took me a very long time (read: years) to start on this path. Instead, I spent a lot of time feeling miserable and suffocating inside myself.
Looking back I can see that:
- I was afraid of trying and failing.
- I was lazy and it was easier to make excuses than to do the hard work.
So why am I telling you all this now? Because I can see the future on the horizon and I don’t want history to repeat itself. Right now I have some strong ideas about the direction I would like my life to take when I return to Australia and making it happen is going to take courage and hard work. This is something that will be weighing on my mind over the next few months and it will definitely be influencing my Intention Plans.
FEBRUARY CHECK IN
Before I get started with March, let’s take a quick look back at February. To recap, in February I choose to focus on my core value of self care, I decided to add more reading to my life, and I worked to let go of multitasking.
Although I didn’t do everything on my self care list (I think I practiced yoga maybe once last month instead of everyday as I hoped) I still feel better than I have in a long time. I spent most of last month camping and hiking, enjoying quiet time and getting lots of sleep (which I desperately needed after a crazy January.) Although there have been a few busy days here and there, overall the change in pace has been absolutely wonderful for my mind and soul.
On the reading front – I failed miserably. I think the problem was my choice of book; I’m enjoying Big Magic but it’s a ‘read a few pages and then take time to contemplate’ sort of read, as opposed to a ‘I can’t put you down’ novel. I’m definitely going to keep this in mind and try and find a juicy novel to dig into sometime soon.
Finally, using block scheduling to organise my time this month has been an absolute game changer and I can’t believe how much this simple technique has done to help me stop multitasking. Before block scheduling I often felt like my brain was a pinball table – flying back and forth from one project to another – but now I’m finding it so much easier to just focus and get sh*t done!
INTENTION PLAN: MARCH 2016
(Psst – if you’ve been reading my monthly Intention Plans, you’ll noticed this post is structured a little different. The previous format was a bit too structured for me.)
LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
Right now my heart is telling me that it’s time to be brave and do work. Specifically, I want to work on this blog.
To give you some context, let me explain that there are several reasons I started a blog. First and foremost, I believe in the power of sharing ideas. I think that a fresh perspective or a different opinion can change your life. (For me, minimalism and travel are two simple yet mind-blowing ideas I was exposed to through blogging.) I think that I’m now at a stage in my life where I have something to add to the conversation.
But in interest of full disclosure, I also consider blogging a ‘fishing project’, meaning I’m putting it out there hoping to catch a bite (although I’m not sure exactly what I might catch.) In other words, I’m hoping it will be a spark that leads me in a new direction. Not necessarily a career (because to be honest I’m not really looking for one) but I would like to explore what opportunities are out there. Maybe writing, may social media management, maybe something completely different … I’m not sure I want to try and see.
Writing this blog also supports so many of my core values: always be learning, being creative and making things, and my deep desire for freedom.
So going back to what I wrote at the start of this post about intentional living, I think right now is my time to do the work. If I want blogging to play a part in my life, I need to invest the time and energy. Hopefully over the next few weeks/months you’ll notice a few changes – starting with more posts! (Although I think the biggest changes will be related to my attitude and how I approach my work, which may not be immediately evident on the blog but will hopefully make a bigger impact with time.)
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
One of the things I loved most about February was camping and spending time outside, away from distractions, indulging in the utter joy of a quiet mind. Unfortunately, running away to the wilderness isn’t feasible on a daily basis, but there is something else I can try to achieve a similar mental state: meditation.
I’ve meditated off and on for the past few years – enough to see the benefits – but at the same time I’ve never been able to create a consistent habit. I know that inviting meditation into my life brings me joy (and I’ve also noticed it helps me with my writing), but I’ve yet to make it a priority in my life. I’m going to be mindful of creating time and space for a meditation habit this month.
LET GO OF ALL THE REST
Late last month I wrote an article for an amazing, socially motivated clothing brand about self acceptance (I’ll share it with you all soon) and one thing that really stuck with me after writing it is how big a role comparison (and the accompanying feeling of self doubt) plays in my life.
Even though I think I’m fairly self aware (ha!) I know I still spend too much time comparing myself to other people: my body, my face, my career (or lack thereof) and definitely my blog as well! Comparison leads to fear, which leads to paralysis and major time suckage as well.
This month I’m going to work on turning my attention inwards, focusing on myself, instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing.
Thanks as always for reading! 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 March.
photo credit: Mine