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2018: A Year of Intention

If I am being honest, last year was less than stellar.

Don’t get me wrong, it was not necessarily a bad year. I mean, politically it was a shit show. A complete dumpster fire shit show. But personally, it was a not terrible year. At the beginning of the year, I decided that 2017 was going to be my year of “effort”. I was determined to put forth more effort in a lot of areas: my marriage, my child, my job, my health. And I started things off on the right foot. I signed up for a running class and even a 5K. I took it seriously. I took on big projects at the office and worked very hard on them. I sought out a therapist to talk through lingering issues and made a lot of progress sorting through them. I really put in some effort damnit.

And then in early May, I was in a car wreck. It totaled my car. It hurt my lower back. And to be honest, I was very mopey about it all for months. The back injury totally derailed all the effort I had put forward on my health. I found myself spending hours every week arguing with the at-fault insurance company and trying to justify my trips to PT. Discouraged by all the hassle and pain, I decided that my effort in that arena no longer matter. I started eating whatever I wanted without any regard for the consequences. The results were some rather tight Sloans and even worse self-esteem. But my slump exceeded far beyond just health and fitness.

I went months without seeing my therapist. I stopped checking out books from the library. I stopped making any effort to really see and keep up with a lot of my friends. I became easily frustrated when work projects fell behind schedule. I found myself falling into routines that I did not necessarily love. I will (reluctantly) admit that some of these included getting the kiddo to bed and then basically ignoring everything (sadly, including my husband) until bedtime while I scrolled through social media on my phone. I still of course, had this vision of how life could be if I put forth all the effort in the world… but I did not use my time intentionally. Even once my back (mostly) healed and I settled my case with the insurance company, I found these newfound habits very hard to break. In fact, I’m still struggling with them.

That’s why, I’d like 2018 to be a year of intentional acts.

Being intentional means that you perform with awareness or that something is done deliberately, consciously, or on purpose.

I am guilty of not thinking things through. I am definitely guilty of mindless action (or inaction). I am super guilty of having a lofty goal (like writing a novel, remodeling the house, or getting in better shape) but then never breaking those things down into their smallest parts and being intentional about obtaining them. Instead, I lament that I don’t “have time” to write a novel despite the fact I usually spend my lunch break scrolling through social media. And I insist there is simply no money for the remodel projects I want to do yet I wastefully spend untold sums in Target’s Dollar Spot or I buy Holland yet another cute outfit for her already crowded closet. And I complain about my tight pants or my energy level while also raiding the snack cabinet at work for dark chocolate or skipping the gym because it is rainy or too cold. None of these self-sabotaging acts are done on purpose or with deliberation. And really, that’s the entire problem. If I had a bit more awareness (and self-control), I simply would not do them.

There is a reoccurring quote online about how we all have the same amount of hours in our days as [insert person you admire here]. And as cliche as it sounds, that quote is absolutely right. Now, that does not mean that it isn’t okay to veg out or to relax or to even indulge in mindless activities. I think it is. But for a little too long now, I’ve lived more out of habit than out of intent. I want desperately to change that about myself.

So in 2018, I vow to be intentional in how I invest my time, my money, and my energy. I do not want to wake up and prioritize my schedule every day — filling the empty bits with mindless habits that get me no closer to the life I intend on living. Rather, I want to lead a life in which I schedule my priorities and on occasion, intentionally decide that my top priority is a glass of wine and an early bedtime.

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