Living Intentionally

I love New Year’s Resolutions!  I love the idea of starting over fresh, getting re-organized, and putting my ducks in a row.  Basically, I just love the idea of working on being a better version of myself.

But a list of things to do weighs me down.  These lists often become resolution-killers after a few weeks.

So a few years ago, when Leslie Limón posted about her Word of the Year, I was intrigued.

Word of the Year

Instead of a list of things to do–or a list of things to get frustrated with when they’re not done–this frames our intentions for the year around a specific theme.

It’s no coincidence that I’m using the word intention excessively here.  Intentionality is my Word of the Year.

I chose intentionality instead of intention.  I don’t want to fall into the trap of “gee–I had the best intentions!”  I’m already an expert at having great intentions and then falling through with them.  No need to practice that.

However intentionality implies a sharper focus, a promise to be aware of living in the present.  There are a number of areas in life to apply intentionality:


As mentioned in previous posts (particularly last year’s list of resolutions), I’ve had so many ideas swimming around in my head for the past year.  I want to do so many different things, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that there are not enough hours in a day to do them all.

It’s time to narrow the field.

I’ve already made significant headway this week by writing myself daily a schedule.  Now that my older kids are both in elementary school, I started the school year embracing the extra hours of productivity I’d have at home.  Then, the school extended my kids’ school day in November!  This promised even more productivity, right?


It turns out that I’m really good at wasting time.

So by the time that I’d pick the kids up, frantically finish lunch, and help with homework, I’d always end the day frustrated by the lack of things I accomplished.

With this schedule, I’ve got a little more accountability to balance the things I wantto do with the things I need to do.

plan aheadSee that two-hour stretch of “writing”?  Yes–it’s partly a “want” (because I love blogging!) and partly a “need” (because my kids are getting older and I’m going to have to find a way to make money writing if I don’t want to go back to teaching once they’re all in school–so that’s including freelance work, not just blogging).

Three days into this schedule, I feel like I’ve got more direction and energy.  Instead of ruminating on the things that I’d like to do (but can’t at whatever moment), I’ll remember that it is on the schedule and I’ll get to it eventually–so I can stop ruminating on it.

But ask me how I’m doing two weeks from now!


I’ve always been a more-the-merrier person when it comes to being with my friends.  I do love the dynamics that a decent-sized group can bring.

I’ve also realized that I’m rather terrified by one-on-one situations.  I’m not a big talker.  (That’s why I need to blog . . . I can organize my thoughts better here!)  But back to the one-on-one encounter–what if I’m having coffee with someone, and we have NOTHING to say to each other?  That’s the stuff nightmares are made out of!

Full truth moment:  This has a lot to do with why I never dated anyone but my husband.  The idea of half a conversation (with someone I likely didn’t know well) resting entirely on myself truly did send me into spasms of panic.   (Whew–I guess I needed to get that off my chest!)

But lately, some of my friends have been pushing me out of my comfort zone–and I’ve really enjoyed it!  So the plan is to continue to put more intention into these relationships.  If that means a one-on-one over coffee, so be it!

It’s worth a little discomfort to move an acquaintance into full friendship status.


I have some friends who are truly thoughtful people. They go out of their way to make others feel loved.

I’m taken away by some of these acts (little gifts, a card, an out-of-the-blue message) because it just doesn’t occur to me to do them myself.  So, it is now my intention to be a little more thoughtful to those around me, like surprising my kids with something they’d enjoy (baking cookies, new erasers).


But I haven’t scheduled that yet!  So don’t be surprised when I revert to my thoughtless ways.  This might be one of those “but I had the best of intentions!” ideas.

But that’s the beauty of the New Year, the fresh start.  I may actually follow through!


I’ve shared mine–you share yours!  What’s your Word of the Year?

For more ideas, check out the South of the Border Sisters’ Blog Hop for this month.  If you’ve got a South of the Border blog, feel free to join in!


  1. Hilary says:

    I picked “Joy” this year. I’m trying to remind myself that I can be joyful in the midst of flu season, teething, sleep regression… Because I’ve been blessed by my family, and I am always blessed as a child of God. And cuz I think we just need more real joy in the world. 🙂

  2. Jill Douglas says:

    True story! With all the happiness literature that went around the last few years, we need to trade that out with joy–it lasts longer. 😉 Good word–you’re setting yourself up for a great year!

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