I’ve never been one for resolutions. Well, that’s not true. I’ve not lately been one for resolutions, because I never keep them. In recent years I’ve renamed them “Goals”, but let’s face it – that’s like saying you’re “eating right” because the word “diet” sounds too difficult.
For some time now, though, I’ve been intrigued by the increasingly popular idea of choosing a word for the year – something you focus on, a lens through which to view all the things you’re doing. So this year, for the first time, I’m choosing my “one word”. I’ve thought a lot about it for the past week or two, and it’s one that’s been near and dear to me for a couple of years now without ever pinning it down. Starting today though, this first day of 2014, I’m going to be intentional about it.
“I intend to pursue a degree in marketing.”
“What are your intentions with my daughter?”
“The laws are intended to protect you.”
“We intend to go to the party.”
To me, the roots “intent” and “intend” – and all of the forms they take – seem to get used interchangeably, and without packing the punch they deserve. I have been thinking this week about the idea of living with intentionality, and how I’d really like to define it.
My thoughts wandered mostly to motivation and purpose – the examination and recognition of why we do what we do. The dictionary confirmed some of them (emphases mine) —
Intend: to design or mean for a particular purpose, use, recipient, etc.
Intentional: the end or object intended; characterized by design or purpose
Intention: an anticipated outcome that guides your planned actions
It was just as I always knew, without previously giving it much thought. Being intentional is about so much more than choosing to do something. It has so much to do with the motive behind your actions. So for 2014, I am going to be intentional.
I want a more peaceful home? I keep that in mind as I speak to my children and husband. I keep it in mind as I (less begrudgingly?) do another load of laundry or dishes.
I want more time? I keep that in mind as I say no and set boundaries. I keep it in mind as I declutter and get rid of all the extra stuff that none of us need anyway.
I want to know God better? I keep that in mind as I choose whether to play Words of Wonder or spend time with Him.
I want to be healthier? I put processes in place to create habits instead of just saying, “Gee, I should eat better and exercise more.”
I want to accomplish more of my goals? I keep in mind my reason for writing, taking pictures, singing in the first place. That none of these things are a chore or obligation. I reread (especially the beginning of) My Adventure List.
Because, you see, tasks that are just tasks are easy to blow off. Some goals akin to “be more awesome”, however valid, are simply too vague.
In addition to just getting more things done that we’d like to accomplish in a new year, I think there is so much more to be gained from living with purpose. I think we might find ourselves with more time to spend with the people we love and fewer regrets about what we did with our days, weeks, months, year. I think we’ll learn more about who we really are. I think we might discover community that so many of us long for. We’ll connect with people in ways we never really thought about, or never thought possible. We can discover what it means to live an abundant life.
Did you pick a word for 2014? What kind of things are you doing in your own life to be more intentional?