A couple months ago, I created an "intentions" board with areas I want to explore in the upcoming year. I kept the board pretty minimal to keep it visually simple and also because I don't want to scatter my energy in too many directions. Since it's the first of the year, now is the perfect time to revisit some of those goals. There's something I love about the finality of the last year and the renewal of the next one. Even though the changing of the calendar to January 1st is somewhat arbitrary, I love the fresh slate of creating new goals for the new year.
Are resolutions even worth it?
I understand that some people find resolutions to be cliche or think that they always "fail." For me, resolutions aren't so much about completion as they are about creating an intentional vision for the upcoming year.
I do think resolutions are important because you can check back with them later in the year to see how well you've aligned with your goals or to see how your priorities have shifted over time.
Why I don't get detailed with my resolutions
Quite simply, plans change. Resolutions are guidelines, not absolutes. I think too many people are hard on themselves and get discouraged with their New Year's resolutions because they account for flexibility.
Do I think it's important to create a strategic plan for each of your goals? Absolutely. I do that in separate beginning of the year assessments that are more detailed. But at the outset of the year, there's no telling what will happen in the next 365 days. Resolutions/intentions are just big picture items that I can easily call to mind in August when I'm on the verge of forgetting what I meant to focus on in January.
That's why I call them "intentions." On January 1, I intend to focus on what's most important to me right now. It has nothing to do with resolve or willpower. Just hope and looking forward into the future with what little information we have now.
Picking intentions that serve you
Choosing areas to focus on in the upcoming year is mostly just listening to your intuition and the ideas that keep calling to you. There's a certain yearning behind each intention and deep whys for choosing. If a subject of interest keeps coming up for you, it's a good option to explore. That "someday" backcountry trip you can't stop talking about? Perhaps it's time to devote some thought and training in the upcoming months. Lagging behind on energy and constantly thinking about amping up health? Better start buying some green smoothie ingredients.
Being realistic and forgiving
Recognize that while these intentions will be close to your heart, life may happen and have other plans for you. These are meant to be guidelines rather than steadfast rules.
What we think may be best for us might actually not be the case. The intentions are meant to be touch stones to revisit throughout the year and keep yourself on course--but only if that course
My intentions this year
This year I am fully committing to making my yoga practice a regular priority. Usually, when my schedule gets tough to manage, my yoga practice is the first thing to go, but I truly feel like the best version of myself when I'm practicing regularly and so I'm hoping to shift that habit.
The main way I'm planning on revitalizing my practice is by starting yoga teacher training. I start teacher training a week from tomorrow and I'm so nervous. My practice has been really sporadic with the holidays and so I feel mentally but not at all physically prepared. But I've been devouring the required texts, so that is, at least, a good sign. It also helps if I just remind myself that my reasons for wanting to pursue teacher training are to deepen my own practice and to get community and consistency with my yoga - not to become an enlightened, super-flexible Yoga Journal cover model.
As for my writing intentions, I'm already on step one of this journey just by writing on this blog. Just as you are a runner as long as you actually run, you are a writer if you write. And I have always, for as long as I can remember, nursed a personal wish to become a writer. Which would naturally mean I need to write...something. Anything. I would eventually like to transition to freelance writing as well, but for now, it is enough for me to put my thoughts here.
Because of my experience this last year, my running goal is perhaps the nearest and dearest to my heart. When I began running last March, I had no idea I would love it so much. I just thought I would lace up my shoes a few times a week to tire out the dog. And then something amazing happened - after a few weeks, I loved it. And so I joined Nicole Antoinette's No BS Run Club, got introduced to an amazing and supportive community, and ran my first 5K, 4K (it was for the Fourth of July), 10K, and half marathon all by October.
To continue my love of running this year, I am going to train for and run my first marathon. It was something of a relief to finish training for my first half marathon after months of planning this fall, but now I seriously miss the structure of training for a race. Well that, and the regular endorphin rush. As with my yoga practice, community and consistency are key for me to enjoy and get the most out of my running.
In addition to my focus on my daily pursuits, the idea of a cross-country move has been on the table for a long time. Peter and I have been talking about moving away from Boulder for months, but I have to admit that this is the goal with the least amount of structure at the moment. The principle reason is that after much discussion, we still have no idea where we would like to go. As it turns out, we both have very high standards for where we'd like to live, including: mountains, ocean, farmers markets, skiing, sea kayaking, ample trails for running and hiking, a small but welcoming community, neither too cold nor too hot of temperatures, possible access to grad school, affordable land, ample job opportunities - and that's just the start of the list. We have potentially narrowed the list of places down to towns in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia or southeastern Alaska (where we lived for a couple summers). We occasionally also throw out ideas of Jackson, WY (no ocean, but that could be overlooked for the amazing mountains) or Ely, MN (again, no ocean and crazy temperatures, but it's close to the magnificent Boundary Waters).
Another reason for the delay is that I absolutely love the community of people that I work with and (for me, at least) Boulder is wonderful. As a self-proclaimed foodie and health nut, it's practically a paradise. And there's certainly no shortage of running trails. But our living situation is not ideal, Peter's job options are extremely limited, and it's feeling like eventually we will need to leave our college town to explore other locations.
And last but not least, my dog training goal. Fenton is coming up on his second birthday in March and...he could be a bit better behaved. Some of his actions are just from still being a big puppy and he'll grow out of them eventually. He's part lab, so he'll act like a puppy for a long time. But I have to admit I could still do a better job of regular training to remind him to, you know, actually come when he's called.
So there you have it! Those are my main intentions for the coming year. I guess what all of these goals have in common is creating regular routines to keep these present in my daily life.
Do you have any intentions or resolutions for 2015?