I’ve written before about how I don’t necessarily subscribe to the whole “New Year, New You” mantra. I think it’s harmful and actually quite harsh to think that someone needs to create a whole new version of themselves as if the person they were in the previous year was just so awful. I also dismiss the notion of resolutions; the ones that tag along on that new year, new you journey. They’re generally too easy to break and too vague to quantify. I prefer the idea of goals – or better yet, intentions.
Okay great, but what’s the difference? Let’s use a real-world example: running.
Resolution: I’m going to run every day.
This is way too easy to break, doesn’t allow leeway for when life happens (work, injuries, etc), and doesn’t include how to set yourself up for success.
Goal: I’m going to run a marathon this year.
A very admirable goal that’s easy to quantify – either you ran a marathon or not, but it doesn’t include how to achieve that goal.
Intention: I’m going to create a running plan to prepare myself for the marathon I want to complete this year.
The intention (setting up a plan) is actionable, quantifiable, and will prepare you to better meet an underlying goal.
It’s essentially “New Year, Better You” – but with a plan. *I certainly didn’t create this mantra, but I like it.* It more accurately represents the idea of self-improvement instead of total change.
Anyway, as I was reflecting on my 2018 and thinking about what I wanted to accomplish and work on in the new year, I set to creating a list of intentions. I hope that you can incorporate some of these tips into your “new year, better you” strategy and if you already made resolutions, try turning them into intentions! So here they are, my 19 intentions for 2019.
1. Drink more water
I know, I know, this is on everyone’s list every year, but my intention is to have water bottles or tumblers filled at home and the office to make it easier to hydrate. I’m also trying to have more water between other beverages. Like if I want that second cup of coffee, I better have some water first.
2. Dictate my own phone time
I see too many people grab their phones as soon as there’s a vibration or ding and then be like “oh it was nothing.” I want to use my phone on my own terms, not when a notification or alerts says that I should. So my intention is to use the Do Not Disturb feature to keep distractions away. I accidentally left the feature on one morning and I’m telling you, it’s a life-changer. I know this doesn’t work as well if you need alerts for meeting reminders at the office, etc, but it really is quite helpful otherwise.
3. Take a break from the news
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the latest political scandal or headline, especially living in DC, but it’s just not great from a mental health perspective – too much stress! My intention is to allow for breaks every now and then. Missing out on Twitter or some podcasts for a few days doesn’t mean I’m uninformed or uninterested, it just means I’m taking care of myself.
4. Cook at home more
To accomplish this, my intention is to sign up for either Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. Using a meal service definitely helps us get excited about trying new recipes and that excitement translates to more home-cooked meals. There are lots of benefits for us – we actually save money on food (by limiting waste) and it also provides a great opportunity to set our phones down and spend quality time together preparing a delicious meal.
5. Enjoy booze more mindfully
Do I really need that next beer or glass of wine? The answer is almost always no. But unlike those “dry January” resolutions, my intention is to be more deliberate in when and how much I choose to imbibe. A follow-on to this would be to keep better track of wines that I enjoy. Maybe that means starting up a little wine journal or trying an app because I love going back old favorites and friends are always asking for wine recommendations. That means more wine content on the way!
6. Get better at following through
I’m not a flake by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes I forget to share those pix I took or forward that newsletter I mentioned over coffee. So when I say something like “oh yeah, let’s totally get together soon,” my intention is to mean it and genuinely put forth the effort to make it happen.
7. Spend time on social media with purpose
Cutting social media time is another popular “resolution” and I know I spend too much time mindlessly scrolling simply because I’m bored. Instead, my intention is to dedicate time specifically for social media and to set reminders so I can make the most of my engagement.
8. Keep moving
Sometimes we let perfection get in the way of progress and that’s often how I see my workout situation. If I can’t get in a full BBG workout or make it to Orange Theory, then I might as well not even workout, right?! I need to get it out of my head that it’s all or nothing and my intention is to start accepting the fact that going on a quick 15-minute jog is totally okay if that’s all I have time for that day.
9. Prioritize experiences over purchases
Rather than the general “save money” resolution, my intention is to focus on experiences. Whether that’s a concert, a new restaurant, or a trip somewhere, thinking about what I’d like to do or see (and starting a corresponding Qapital savings account!) means it’s easier to pass on frivolous or impulse spending. I mean, it’s a lot easier to say no to that fast fashion purchase if you’re already saving for your next big experience.
10. Use meditation apps
I could go the easy route and say I’m just going to meditate more often, but that’s an easy resolution to break. Instead, my intention is to test out at least three new apps (Headspace, Calm, etc) and hope that will lead me to find something I can practice on a more regular basis.
11. Eat healthier
For the first few months after getting my juicer, I was obsessed. Then it became too much of a hassle to deal with the tiny kitchen of my old place. Now that I can enjoy my bigger renovated kitchen, my intention is to start making my favorite fresh juice recipes (hello carrot, orange, ginger!) on a regular basis because it helps me make healthier choices.
12. Improve my nighttime routine
I’m a notorious night owl and could happily stay up all night. Unfortunately, with my regular 9-5 job, I don’t have the luxury of sleeping in so I try to get to bed by midnight. My body fights it every.single.night. That said, the one thing that does make it easier for me is having a routine. So my intention is to develop a more robust evening routine to make it easier to get to sleep earlier. By methodically implementing new actions into my existing skincare routine (maybe its meditation, stretching, tea, or running essential oils through a diffuser), I hope I’ll find something that I look forward to instead of dread each night.
13. Re-evaluate my career goals
I mentioned in a recent IG post that I’m at a bit of a cross-roads in my career so the easy resolution would be “find a new job”. But I think taking the time to figure out the best next step is super important. So my intention is to do a full accounting of what I can do, what I am doing, and what I want to do. Seems obvious, but I can tell you, these ideas aren’t currently aligned. I imagine a lot of people feel this way regardless of where they are in their careers and this would be a helpful exercise.
14. Schedule time for learning
The problem with aspirational resolutions like “learn a new skill” is that it can easily get bumped off the to-do list thanks to other commitments and life in general. Instead, my intention is to schedule out blocks of time for dedicated learning efforts. My current list of things to learn: how to play the guitar, how to use Photoshop better (because I’m awful at it and currently only use Lightroom), and how to speak Portuguese (because my husband is from Portugal). Also, I recently started freecodecamp to learn how to code and I love the sense of accomplishment after completing a few modules!
15. Stop playing the comparison game
Some Instagrammers and bloggers look like they have the most fabulous lives with the most beautiful homes and the most extravagant closets while going on the most luxurious vacations. Good for them. As long as I’m doing me the absolute best that I can, that’s damn well more than enough for me. My intention is to stop comparing my blessings to someone else’s – it’s the most unproductive waste of time ever and I’m done with it.
16. Wear my contacts less
Shout out to my eye doctor who will be super happy about this! I am genuinely going to try to wear my glasses more often to give my eyes a break from my lenses. My intention is to take my contacts off as soon as I get home (if I’m not working out or have plans) and keep them off as much as possible on weekends. Besides, my Oliver Peoples frames are super cute anyway 🙂
17. Check in with myself more often
If I’m having a crappy day or am in a bad mood, I want to understand why. Am I upset about something in particular? Is there something I can do about it? Or do I need to just take take a few deep breaths and relax? My intention is to be better at taking a minute to ask myself “hey, what’s really going on?” It’s a good way to keep my mood from spiraling because of something small or inconsequential. #selfcare
18. Pay myself first, more
I already have auto withdrawals set up to put money in various savings accounts with every paycheck, but it’s time to raise the bar. My intention is to prioritize my savings by increasing my auto withdrawal amounts. Even $25 here or $50 there will still add up and over time, I won’t even notice that money is gone.
19. Make bold choices
This is the big umbrella statement that applies to all aspects of my life. Whether it’s attending that after-work networking event where I won’t know anyone, or reaching out to bigger brands on potential partnerships for the blog, or applying for that new dream job, my intention is to get out of my comfort zone and take a few more chances.