At the start of every year I set an intention for my theme of the new year. I always have resistance to New Year's "resolutions" as I feel they set us up for failure, in a way. If we "resolve" to do something then we had better make sure to accomplish it, and if we don't do well then we have failed ourselves. According to the dictionary, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. It is pretty black and white, you do or you do not- there is no "working on it" or "getting there" or "making progress". For me, a theme to embody throughout my year has made my daily, weekly, monthly goals much easier and more attainable.
For 2023 my theme of the year is to live with intention. Intentionality is an interesting thing. Being intentional in life means that I am being deliberate and purposive, I am working towards some goal through the ups and downs because my eyes are on the prize, whatever that may be at the time. I have been exploring this concept for the past couple of years and have found myself living out of habit or doing what was expected of me, and at the end of each year wondering why I didn't feel fulfilled, whether I hit the goals out of the park or not. I came to realize that when I chose to do things for others instead of myself, when I lacked clarity on my own purpose. When I wasn't grounded in which actions and choices truly caused me to feel I was leading my own purposeful life, I always came up empty hearted. Things needed to change, but how?
What does it mean to live intentionally? I've come to the conclusion that it's a two part process centered around living with purpose. The first step is knowing what you want. It can really be that simple. What are your values, dreams, priorities and goals? Why do you get out of bed each morning? What makes you feel alive?
Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to align your actions accordingly. How do you spend your time, money and energy? Are you living in alignment with what matters the most to you? If not, what needs to change? What is holding you back and are there steps that you can intentionally take to work past those hurdles?
Yes, there will always be sacrifices and trade-offs. There will be hard moments and times that it may feel like you are not doing enough. Being intentional is full of hard work and big choices but when you live with intention you know what you're giving up, and why. It's about knowing what you can and cannot control and about taking responsibility for your life and happiness.
I have an annual tradition with my team to sit together and do a review of the 7 boxes of life where we set new goals for each and discuss how we will show up for ourselves and be intentional in the new year. Once we complete that we sit for a couple of hours and create vision boards with magazine cut outs. While this may sound like a silly exercise or a bit too "arts and crafty", I can tell you what we all gleam out of it is profound. When we know our purpose in life and then intentionally set time to map out our new year visually it comes together and is a piece of art that inspires us throughout our year. We also have a visual reminder staring us in the face every day to keep us motivated and on track.
The realizations include mindsets I choose to let go of, relationships I may want to add or remove, business goals and how they align with my true purpose, people I want to serve more, love I want to experience and life I want to live. Then I get strategic and intentional about how many of them I can accomplish in the next four quarters of my life while always staying grounded in who I will impact if I stay intentional.
Living an intentional life is never perfect, as perfect doesn't exist in my opinion. However, it does mean living a purposeful life. Finding courage to take action (even when it goes against convention) and to pursue things that make you feel alive.
May your 2023 be filled with intention.