Living with Intention – new years resolutions check-in

One of the most effective ways I have found to live intentionally is to checkin regularly with your goals. It’s one thing to say you want to become a certain way, do a specific thing or live a particular way but it’s something else entirely to actually make it happen and the only way to truly become anything is with consistency and a whole lot of willpower. I have been working on living more intentionally for a couple years now and one of the things that makes a huge difference for me is quarterly check-ins…with myself.

This years goals are centered around the word: cleanse. Cleansing myself from negativity, toxic environments, bad habits, clutter, etc. As I look back on the first 4.5 months I’m pretty proud with how much progress I have made but I’m also glad I’m doing this checkin because I realize there is more I can be doing…especially with summer approaching.

I have been much pickier about who I follow on social media, unfollowing any accounts that I feel are either negative or are too forceful about their opinions to the point that they put down anyone who does not think the same as them. I have also cut back on how much tv I watch and how often I am on social media….like a lot. It has had a wonderful effect in many aspects. 1. I spend more time with our kids 2. I have more time to sit in silence and reflect and meditate 3. I find other ways to have noise on in the background if needed such as inspiring podcast or music that brightens my day and mood.

Another big change I have made came after we spent some time in Montana over spring break. It was a big eye opener to me that I needed to slow down again. I tend to be a person who enjoys being kept busy. I love projects and crossing things off a list but if I’m not being careful I can get a little too carried away with it all which leads to me getting some pretty unrealistic expectations for myself. During that time away from “city life” (or really suburb life in our case) I was reminded how great it felt to spend some time reading each day, and walking around outside and having the house smell of fresh bread. My desire to live on a homestead where we have everything we need to survive right there on our property began to burn strong within me again. So when we came back home we started making some changes… I planted a garden, started taking about making bread, started researching what we need to get chickens (those will be coming later this year), started planning out landscape in the front yard and backyard that will allow us to spend more time outdoors and reprioritized what is most important for our kids’ education. I still make to do lists each day and I spend the morning getting the “musts” done which always includes a morning walk amongst other things, and then we do school and then while the kids play with friends after school I take 2 hours to do as much as I can on my to do list and then I spend some time reading or meditating, or painting my toenails or anything that just feels “fun” to me. It has made a huge difference in my mental health and I love teaching the kids life skills such as cooking, gardening, harvesting and baking and watching them get excited about it with me. That’s when I really know we’re on the right path that we need to be on during this phase of life.

One other way I have started to cleanse my life is the literal kind. I have been going through closets and cabinets and even our garage to declutter. I love the feeling of giving new life to items that have just been sitting at our house not being put to use for months and months if not longer and now someone else gets to get all excited about their new purchase and actually USE it. I get such satisfaction as I see items in my makeup drawers and in our medicine cabinet actually get finished and then thrown away because I’m just being more intentional about finishing what I have before I try a new product. That may seem like common sense to most, and really it is to me too, I know I should be doing that, but up until this point it had been hard for me to do. Like I’m actually FINISHING my candles before I buy more and that is just a huge step for me 🙂

Some things I plan on working on these next 3 months are: 1. continuing to declutter the house (I’ll up this a bunch with it being summer and no longer teaching) 2. continuing to work on our current garden AND beginning to plant some of the perimeter plants we are wanting to get in 3. spending quality time with each kid one on one over the summer 4. letting go of expectations that I have to get everything done every day but instead to be ok if I have to push some things off for another day 5. read/relax every single day. make time for it, it’s important 6. drink more water. 7. continue to only watch tv at night when the kids go to bed 8. up my scripture study time since we won’t be having the school schedule 9. less projects around the house (other than finishing what we have started) and more family adventures. 10. continue to have get togethers with friends & family that bring us joy and encouragement

I hope if you have been following since the beginning of the year when I first talked about setting yearly goals and checking in regularly to stay on top of them that you use this post as a reminder to check in with yourself. How are you doing? What have you been doing well? What changes have you seen for the better? What areas could you improve? Have you realized new goals that you want to set for yourself or any that you realize aren’t as important as you thought? Re-evaluate, re-adjust if needed and KEEP MOVING FORWARD. You got this!


setting goals and sticking with them

Do you love setting goals for the new year or do you find it pointless?  Goals can be a great way to give us purpose and keep us intentional with what we are doing with our time. Now I set goals for years and by summer I would have completely forgotten what they even were or I felt like I hadn’t made any progress up until this point so what were the odds I was going to actually achieve it?  Might as well give up and try again next year.  That was until I figured out what worked for ME.  In this post I’m going to share what that is and maybe it will turn out to be what works for YOU too! 

I have found that the only thing that works for me is to have a word that sums up what I want to work on for the year and then to do a checkin every 3 months. Some of the words from years past: Fit, Growth, Intention, Service. This year, my word is CLEANSE and I get excited and sigh a little sigh of relief every time I think about it.

When you look up the definition of cleanse and look at the noun description it says, “a process or period of time during which a person attempts to rid the body of substance regarded as toxic or unhealthy…” and that perfectly sums up what I want this year to look like.  I’m not just talking about cleansing my body of toxins by drinking more water, I’m talking about removing ALL toxins from my life.  The people, behaviors, habits, and lifestyle choices that I feel are having a toxic effect on my life.  Riding our house of unnecessary items that are becoming distractions or creating chaos where I want there to be only peace and beauty.

Now that I have a word and understand the main goals I hope to achieve with that word, I then like to break it down to what the first steps are going to be to get there. I break it down into 3 months because if not I feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew and it feels overwhelming to me, more like a daunting task than something that motivates and excites me because I feel like its attainable. Another key for me is to remember that there is no “end game” with these words.  It is not a goal that you can achieve and cross of your list in December and say, “Good, I did that this year, now I’m done.”  I choose words that will help me create better habits that I will continue to do throughout the rest of my life.  So when the year begins to come to an end I can reflect on how far I’ve come and look forward to continuing the journey with the word moving forward. 

Ok, so back on track to my first steps.  In these first 3 months I’m going to focus on cleansing my social media & my relationships. I’m going to do this by:

  • unfollowing/hiding people who bring feelings of contention to me as I read their post (important to point out that I’m NOT saying anyone who disagrees with my beliefs. what I am saying is ANYONE who feels the need to tear others’ views down in order to make their point…bye bye to them.  I have so far unfollowed many who have the same views as I do but they go about it in a way I disagree with and I continue to follow a handful that have different views than I do but I appreciate their approach of teaching and it helps me to see things from a different perspective, which I always LOVE and encourage)
  • following people that uplift & inspire with their post
  • saying “no” to being around people who I feel uncomfortable around (contention is again a key word for me here) or who I feel do not accept me for who I am
  • spending more time with people who bring me joy, uplift, inspire me to be better and who I can be myself with
  • less time on social media & tv and more time listening to uplifting/fun podcasts and uplifting/fun music & most importantly more INTENTIONAL time with my family

Around Easter I will have a little “checkin” with myself to see how I’m doing with these?  Have I stuck with it?  Do I still have room for improvement?  If anytime before April I feel like I’m doing well with these and want to “checkin” sooner and start adding to my list I absolutely do, but I will still spend some time around April to look over my list (which, FYI, I keep in my journal).  Also, it’s great to have an accountability partner if you can.  My husband doesn’t set goals OR have a word for the year like I do but he is a great listener so every so often when we’re on date night I fill him in with where I’m at and what I think I can continue to work on and I ask for his feedback on any progress he has seen or areas he thinks I can still improve.  So, your accountability partner doesn’t have to be someone who is willing to do this with you, just someone who cares enough about you to support you.

Some other areas I hope to CLEANSE:

  • decluttering every room of the house (this is a great year for this since we have remodeling going on)
  • negativity – less negativity and more gratitude
  • self doubt – cleansing myself from nasty self doubt and having greater faith in God’s plan for me

I will continue to add to my list things that could go under my “CLEANSE” word so if you have ideas, please comment and let me know!  Also, if you need an accountability partner guess what?  You are in luck!  I can be one!  And everyone reading this can be one.  Comment below with your word for the year and when I check back in around April you can comment again and let us know where you are at with your word.  The most important thing to remember with setting a word/goal for the year is this: its ALL about progress and intention and NOT about perfection or crossing a finish line.  You CAN do this.  You can start taking steps to a healthier, more fulfilling life and it doesn’t matter if it is January or November…you can start RIGHT NOW.