Happy May, my loves! It’s my birth month, which means this is clearly the best month of ALL!!!
If you’re anything like me then you fail Fail FAIL to stick to any of your New Year’s Resolutions. I stick to them for a while, but then for one reason or another I skip a day or forget or make an excuse or whatnot and before I know it my “resolutions” have dissolved… I’m sure there are many of my faults at play here, but ultimately I think that I struggle to face up to the challenge of a whole year’s worth of change. I tend to give up before the particular change even has a chance to become a habit.
As we move into a new month, I am resurrecting my long lost habit of setting intentions for the month. I believe the last monthly intentions I set were in August 2018, but then I traveled and moved states and found a new job and all seemed to be lost in the hullabaloo after that.
Back in my college days I was in the same scholarship group with a guy I’ll call Rick. Since we were both in the university’s business college and both writing a thesis for the same scholarship program we had a lot of overlap in our daily schedules. We had a running disagreement. I would say something like, “Well, my plan is this-and-this-and-this.” and then he would say, “No, no, no. Plans indicate rigidity in thought. Ideas are where it’s at – they allow fluidity in thought which in turn will allow creativity and lower stress levels if things do not go as planned. Set a goal. Come up with ideas of how to reach that goal. THEN set to work. If you make plans then you’ll feel like you have to stick to them even to your detriment. Life is too unpredictable to make plans. Make ideas instead.”
And we went on like this for semester after semester back and forth arguing whether plans or ideas for your day/life was better for mental health, effectiveness, and efficiency. I never quite understood why he felt so strongly about this plan versus idea thing, but now as I am getting back into setting intentions for my months… I’m starting to understand his viewpoint more and more. When I resolve (plan) to eat 4 servings of veggies every day and then only eat 2 servings one day, (in my mind) it feels a lot more like a failure. When I intend (idea) to eat 4 servings of veggies every day and then only eat 2 servings one day, it feels more like a growth opportunity for myself. Maybe this is a me thing, but a resolution seems rigid and an intention seems like a gentle reminder to the self to be the best version of myself day after day and after day… even when I slip or get lazy.
I can’t take the credit for the idea, though. I’m not that on top of my life. Ha. Years ago Lee Tilghman (@leefromamerica) started drawing/painting/writing down her intentions for each month in a clever and creative way. Doing this at the first of each month gave her a tangible piece art to help her remember what to focus on each month. You can check out some of her monthly intentions here. I must say, though, that I am woefully unartistic and it makes me a little self-conscious about posting pictures of my intentions. Lee’s intentions are always so masterfully drawn and mine are…lacking. BUT. The idea is that you set intentions as gentle reminders each month to help guide yourself into your best self not who can create the best picture for a blog or Instagram.
- Show up, create with your God-given ability, but… don’t measure. Show up for your life by living it to its fullest. Create by writing, taking pictures, making food, or practicing yoga… but don’t measure via likes, views, comments, follows, etc.
- Take the time to put your goals into words. It’s typical for me to have a million conversations running around in my head. But (for me) until I take the time to organize them into coherent sentences on paper (or my laptop) then I tend to not even take the time to do anything about them. Until I put thoughts on paper I tend to get stuck in thought loops and ultimately make no progress towards my goals for life, mental health, relationships, etc.
- Tune into your inner dialog. Speak to yourself as you would to a dear friend. If you can’t speak to yourself with kindness, patience, and love it will be difficult to treat all other humans in that same manner.
- Practice grace+gratitude with your body – even with its “negative” manifestations. Your body knows how to take care of itself. Even its negative manifestations are the body doing its best to help you out of a bad situation.
- Find one new way to invest in yourself. Maybe that photography class you keep putting off? Or maybe buying your own domain for the blog?