As the shiny newness of the New Year begins to fade and life resumes its usual daily rhythm, resolutions made just a couple of weeks ago may be little more than distant memories. Even if you’re not the resolution making type, there’s just something about the beginning of a new year that feels different, full of possibility and potential just waiting to be tapped into. From the mundane (maybe I’m the only one who actually enjoys matching food storage containers with lids?), to the lofty (no better time to consider education and career), goals and new years are an inseparable pair. But why wait until the beginning of another year to get started, when each new day holds possibility and potential?
In 2016, I invite you to begin living your life with intention. What does that even mean? Well, you probably already know how days spent not living with intention tend to go. Those are the days you find yourself being pulled into other people’s drama, saying yes to things you really don’t want to do, arriving at your destination and realizing you were on autopilot the whole way, or binge watching episode after episode of your favorite show while the pile of clean laundry from last week waits to be folded and put away.
Living with intention empowers you to be proactive instead of reactive. Before your feet even hit the floor first thing in the morning, before the outside world has a chance to intrude, take a few moments to decide what you want your day to look like. Not that things are always going to go the way you want them to because of course they’re not. But by getting clear about your intentions for the day first thing, you allow the window of creative opportunity to open so that a breeze of inspiration might enter into your thoughts, carrying the day’s possibility and potential. And really, doesn’t that sound way better than being pulled into someone else’s drama?!
So how do you get started living with intention anyway? There isn’t really a right way or a wrong way to go about setting intentions. Just keep the wording positive, with what you want to work toward in mind. For example, say you really want to get out of debt but just thinking about where to start seems absolutely overwhelming. Your intention might sound something like, “I am helping my family get out of debt by choosing to spend money wisely on things we actually need.” Repeat your intention each morning and then follow through by repeating it before (or instead of!) clicking on that favorite website or going out to the store. Soon you will start changing the behavior that created the debt in the first place and you will start noticing a shift in how you think about money.
Even small steps can add up to big changes. In the short term, living with intention might not seem like nearly as much fun as spending on things you want or doing things that cost money. But just wait until you get that first credit card statement with a zero balance due. Now that’s fun! If you’re using credit cards to make ends meet each month and charging necessities like groceries and gas, consider taking advantage of one of the financial readiness programs that are available on most installations and online. Remember, even small steps can add up to big changes.
Our intentions are lived out in the choices we make each day.
Let your intentions guide your choices each day. Repeat your intentions throughout the day and just check in with yourself to see how much or how little your actions are in alignment with your intentions. Living with intention is not about being perfect or being hard on yourself if you don’t get it right every moment of every day. Living with intention is simply about awareness and making conscious choices about how you spend your most precious resource- time.
By AWN Guest Contributor © Cynthia Blake