An Intentional Year
Chris and I are still sharing a computer and have a time share schedule worked out, so I was able to carve out some time to pop in today! The good news though, is that my loved lappy is on it’s way to Florida after spending time with the techs at Lenovo, and should be arriving in Peggy’s hands today for a return flight next week! So happy! I have no idea yet what the problem was or how they fixed or whether they had to wipe everything, but I’m happy it didn’t end up being an extended process. We have a lot going on in the next two months and being able to work on my own is a must!
That said, I mentioned that I was looking forward to the “sabbatical” of sorts, and it’s been good for me. I think going into anything new, whether it’s a project, a house, a job or a year, it’s good to have time to wrap your whole self around it. Not just your head. We can think and think and think about these things, but until we can take time to process how they’ll affect our heads along with our hearts, the people we care about and life in general I think it can feel like jumping into a pool of frigid water.
In the past week or so since Chris’ parents left we’ve had time together to just talk about the year ahead. What do we have coming that we need to be preparing for, and most of all, what are the things we’re hoping to do and see happen this year. When I think of everything going on in 2015, the word “flexibility” comes to mind quickly as something we’ll have to cling to. But, as I listened to what our personal goals were for this year there was a different theme that seemed to carry over for the both of us – being more intentional.
As I’ve spent time thinking about what I feel I need to focus on in 2015 that idea of intention just resonated with me in all areas of my life. Work, family, friends, home, creativity, faith and caring for myself.
I don’t believe in writing resolutions for several reasons, but mostly because I think they set us up for disaster and self loathing. What I do believe in is goals. By setting goals we give ourselves something to aim for, but there’s flexibility to change things along the way as life changes. Big goals and small goals. And when we set goals, we should also have some sort of action plan in place to be successful. How do I get from point A to B if I don’t put any work into planning my route? I don’t just hop in the car and put the key in the ignition and hope the car arrives at it’s destination while I mindlessly drive around. No, in order to reach a goal we need to be active.
So, here are some of the things I’m aiming to be more intentional about in 2015:
- Taking time to work through project ideas and plans so I can be more successful at achieving work goals in the long term. I have A LOT of ideas right now during this time of transitioning roles throughout our organization and it can be all crazy in my head at times, and overwhelming.
- Being more intentional about doing projects that I really love to be part of and that use my gifts, and delegating things that I know Peggy would be great at rather than still feeling like I need to do it all.
- Spend more time doing fun things like reading and playing games with my kids. Because we live in a small space we’re together a lot more than average families, so I feel like this is something I have to really work at to enjoy doing. That might sound bad, but when we’re always together it can be hard for the introverted part of my personality to enjoy this stuff. When I am intentional about it I do enjoy it, though.
- Less gadget time. This one carries over into other areas too, but I think of how often my kids see me with either a computer, an iPad or a phone in my hand…
- Staying in touch better with family back home. This is harder the longer we’re here because everyone’s lives move on and look different.
- Being intentional about continuing to develop deeper relationships with friends here in Haiti. I’m so thankful for our community here and want to grow in that more, and help it grow more. Encouraging, being available, and welcoming people into our home regularly all fall into this. We do a lot of this already, I just want to keep doing it well.
- Finding little ways to encourage our friends. Maybe it’s a card on their birthday, or taking someone a meal. I have ideas and I know they will ebb and flow, but I just want to feed into people more in little ways like I would if I was living back home. I think that’s healthy, even when it might mean it’s more logistically difficult and requires some planning.
- Things are starting to really move on the new property, and if everything moves ahead as planned we should see ourselves moving at the end of the year or early in 2016. With that in mind I want to be intentional about lightening the moving burden by strategically going through not just our house, but the property in general and cleaning stuff out. Getting rid of what we don’t need or use. Deciding what we really want to keep and letting the rest go ahead of time so that when we get to that move day/week we don’t have this burden of stuff to deal with. I figure if we can break it down over the year we can make some good progress.
- I want to put small things in place that help life move more easily for us. A little work in some areas can mean simplicity in others. Asking the questions of whether something is working, could we do it differently, or if there’s even a need for change is a good place to start.
- I want to be happy with less. Quality over quantity. Not quickly buying something, but taking time to think about whether it’s a need or want and being okay with putting it off for a while. And, being creative and asking myself if I can make something similar with what I have here.
- I’m feeling the tug to dig in more and one of my goals for this year is to be reading my Bible more.
- I would like to work at memorizing scripture more, even if it’s one verse per month.
- Being more intentional with our kids about reading the Bible with them and talking about spiritual growth things.
- I’m excited about a new ladies Bible study that I’m going to be doing starting later this month. I was part of one group since late 2013, but felt a tug to branch out and start a new group with some ladies in our missionary community that hadn’t been able to come to that first group because of other commitments or lack of transportation. I have a vehicle and the freedom to go to them, so that’s what we’re doing! The group will be small with 5 of us and I’m excited about the study as well as the relationships. I love all these women and am looking forward to building into each other in a new way. We vary in ages from late 20’s to early 60’s so the wealth of life knowledge there is huge and I’m looking forward to learning from each other. I want to be intentional about making this a priority, especially as I work at preparing for each weeks sessions.
- I want to continue to be intentional about losing weight, and doing it in a way that will lead to long term change. Going at a safe, consistent rate that allows grace for myself is a big part of this. So thankful for Chris’ encouragement in this area.
- In that vein, I want to keep being diligent about tracking my points daily. It really helps me to stay on target and to be mindful about the food choices I make. It feels good to say no to something when I know I don’t need it or that I would be eating it to fill an emotional void or out of boredom.
- I want to be intentional about getting more exercise. I’ve been having fun swimming with a friend several times per week and need to see what that will look like going forward. I really enjoy it because it doesn’t feel like exercise and we can visit while we do it, so win win!
- I want to read more. Again, because I spend so much time on gadgets, it’s easy to get stuck on Facebook rather than opening up the Kindle app.
- Last year I learned how vital this was to my personal health, and I want to continue to be intentional about feeding this part of my soul this year. Giving myself permission to be creative is the first part of the battle, because in some ways it feels frivolous, BUT this is who God made me to be and allowing that part of myself to grow honors him.
- I want to knit more, which falls under the “less gadget time” thing too. If I put down or step away from the gadgets then I have more time to do other things.
- Work on my photography.
I know that seems like a long list, and really, I don’t think it’s exhaustive and that it will get added to and changed through the year. Call me crazy if you want to! :) I think there are smaller things that are goals under those bigger goals of being intentional. What really helped me clarify my thoughts about a lot of this was a blog post I read last week that I just loved. It was written by Jennifer Jones at IHeartOrganizing. You can read it HERE. Take the time, it’s worth it!
One of my favorite quotes is this:
For as long as I can remember, I have had fantasies of clutter free surfaces, relaxing days and dust free floors. But it is important to realize that a) those things do not happen without work and b) I can’t do it all and finally c) I will kill myself trying.
There is such an important balance that has to take place within ourselves in regards to dividing our time doing things we “need” to do and “want” to do. If we only work, we will lose steam and become frustrated and aggravated over time. It is important to make the time to do things we love and be sure to enjoy our homes. But too much play and not enough attention on the home can cause things to quickly fall apart and prevent more fun from happening. I have always struggled with the ability to divide the need to get something done with just kicking my feet up and cuddling in to watch a good movie. I have had to train myself that good enough is OK, that no home is perfect and that I have to find ways to inject my passions and hobbies into my household chores. Why was I trying to be it all and do it all? There is no enjoyment in that. The goal is to organize to save time and money and then spend the rest of my time enjoying life.
Balance. Such a huge thing. That’s really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Being intentional about finding balance.
I liked so much about that post that I’ve read it a couple of times already and I think I’ll go back to it several times this year. I appreciated that she addressed the concept of not generalizing goals, but also making things manageable by starting with a small list of projects, and then adding to it as things got finished. I think my tendency is to want to make a giant list, then work like a whirling dervish, get cranky because I have SO MANY THINGS TO DO, and no one is happy. Yes, I may have just cleaned the entire house, but no one enjoyed the process. In fact, everyone is steering clear of me like I have the plague. Because we have a big, what we already know will be stressful at times, year ahead, I want to do things that will reduce that stress, not add to it. Breaking things into manageable pieces helps that. As does doing things to simplify where possible, giving ourselves breathing room, like I mentioned before.
As I was writing this I realized that I have a lot of thoughts around this and it’s probably better to break it down into smaller chunks, so that’s what I’m going to do! Look forward to more posts in the coming days about all this.
What are your goals for 2015?