Tag Archives: Intentions

Guiding Intentions for 2019

Since we’re mid-way[!] through the first month of 2019, it’s time to put my intentions for the year out into the universe. As I shared last year, I prefer intentions over resolutions as the new year begins.

Last year, my words were ease, kindness and ownership. I feel like I did a relatively good job living by these words. I definitely learned to flow more with the universe, down to the mundane daily tasks that sometimes shift. Kindness when annoyed or stressed is for sure harder. I’m learning to focus on the positive and embed more random acts of kindness, like holding the door, into each day. Ownership was likely the hardest; I still react when triggered but I’m better at articulating what I’m feeling and why I was triggered.

Now for my words of 2019:

  • Connection: I’m all about building relationships and connecting people so at the surface, this seems fairly simple. I am challenging myself to meaningfully connect with people who are different from me or who I have a strained relationship with. It’s harder to be present with someone who challenges you.
  • Conviction: This might look similar to ownership, which was all about owning up to my big emotions. Conviction is about values and purpose – knowing who I am, what I stand for and holding true to that even when challenged. There’s that word again…challenged.
  • Calmness: I’m noticing more and more that I need crave quiet reflection time. Stillness brings peace and a settled feeling. I plan to embed calmness and silence into my nightly routine and blocked time on my calendar each Sunday for reflection time.

There’s something empowering about sharing my intentions with the world. Even writing them in your journal can help. My super talented friend Lizzy Russinko creates beautiful prints with people’s words of the year. While you can no longer submit words to her, perhaps yours is included in this year’s print. If not, I encourage you to share your intention for 2019. It can be words, a phrase or even a specific color. Having something to guide your year gives you momentum.

Please fill up the comments with your 2019 intentions too!

2018 Intentions

Happy 2018 readers! I promised I’d be back in January to talk intentions. So here we go!

For as long as I can remember, I set New Year’s resolutions. Every January, like clockwork, I’d start eating healthy, working out, trying to stop cursing (YEAH RIGHT!), etc. By March, nothing was sticking and I was frustrated, so I gave up. This perpetual cycle was clearly unproductive.

About three years ago, I was searching for an alternative to New Year’s resolutions. At that time, my friend KJ shared a post on Facebook about choosing intentions for the year by picking three words you want to live by. I don’t know if the original idea was KJ’s but his post grabbed my attention. What if I chose words to live by for the next year, words that would dictate my actions and decisions? Ever since, I’ve chosen three words to embody for the coming year. Drumroll…my 2018 words:

  • EASE: I force things – I try to cram 7,000 things into a day. I fight hard for deep, meaningful relationships. While this pays off once in a while, the cost is energy depletion and exhaustion. This year, I am not fighting or forcing, but rather flowing my energy to things that matter to me, like getting healthy.
  • KINDNESS: I am judgy; there I said it. I make decisions about people based on one or maybe two interactions. I don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Given the world we’re currently living in, I want to listen more and give an extra measure of grace. As the quote goes, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This is SO true – I have no idea what someone is struggling with when I make a rash judgement.
  • OWNERSHIP: Hmm, this *might* be the hardest one. I am notorious for having big emotions, both good and bad. I don’t always own up as to why I’m reacting in a certain way. I am cracking down on my triggers in 2018 and keeping a journal where I can document them. No more outbursts or excuses!

I’m excited for my intentions and the year ahead! These are bold word choices for me, so please hold me accountable. More importantly, share your word(s) with me! I’m always interested in everyone’s intentions.

hello 2018.png

Motivation Mondays: Stop Trying to Control Everyone!

This past week, I celebrated by 24th birthday. I am blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. The amount of birthday wishes I received along with cards and phone calls was overwhelming. I also got to spend time with some of my favorite people. Overall, ringing in 24 was a huge success.

Every year around my birthday, I think about how I want this next year to be different from the last. What areas of personal growth do I want to focus on? How can I step up my game at work? I usually get overambitious and write a list of goals for myself. But this year there’s one thing I need to focus on: assuming everyone thinks like I do.

I’ve talked about the comparison trap, managing exceptions and professional F.O.M.O. before. But as I was planning out each piece of my week-long birthday celebration, this idea occurred to me. Not everyone operates like I do. No two people think the exact same thing about a situation. I’ve assumed the people close to me think along the same lines as me. But just because we’re close doesn’t mean we have the same opinion on birthday celebrations, politics or anything else. Diverse perspectives are what makes the world go around!

ThinkingMy consistent issue is that I assume people (mostly in my personal life) have the same values/intentions/beliefs that I do. I expect my family and friends to fall in line with my thinking. News flash Alex, the world doesn’t revolve around you. Sometimes it’s really hard when people don’t prioritize the way you do. It can be frustrating, overwhelming, upsetting and downright disappointing. But you live, you learn and begin to understand why that person might feel that way. Easier said then done most of the time.

Yesterday, I attended a brunch held by Temple Women’s Network, where their keynote speaker Yasmine Mustafa, a Temple alum, told a story about biking Death Road in Bolivia. Named appropriately, this path is along a steep mountain with a variety of twists and turns that would cause the most adventurous individual to become skeptical. Yasmine said once she “let go” and stopped trying to control the bike, she was in less pain. She moved along the mountain with more ease and less fear. She made a perfect analogy for life: once you stop trying to control everything and everyone, life become a lot less painful. JUST. THE. MESSAGE. I. NEEDED. TO. HEAR!

So my goal for year 24 is to stop controlling how everyone in my inner circle thinks. I can’t make everyone see things my way nor do I really, truly want to. Am I still going to do things I want to do? Absolutely! But I’m not going to expect others to follow suit or to prioritize the way I do. Do you struggle with expectations and wanting others to think like you do? Share your thoughts below!

London is Always a Good Idea

Have you ever wanted to just get on a plane and go, not caring where you went? That was my mindset earlier this year when my friend Lauren suggested we go to London to visit our Temple friends who were studying abroad. After some planning (I’m lucky, Lauren did everything), we were off on our London adventure earlier this month.

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

To say we were excited was an understatement. It was the first vacation we both were taking a vacation in a while and it certainly felt good to be able to afford such a trip. God bless Lauren for finding these AMAZING London passes that got us into pretty much everything: Kensington Palace, Winston Churchill War Rooms, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Thames River Tour, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We managed to pack just the right amount to sightseeing into our week. To top it off, we also made our way to Paris midweek!

I’m not sure I can put into words how amazing this journey was. We didn’t rush but we didn’t waste a single minute. Each day was spent exploring, wandering and seeing incredible, historical masterpieces. No picture could capture the expansiveness of Tower Bridge, the view from the London Eye or the perfect architecture of the Eiffel Tower. You have to see it to believe it!

I went into this vacation wanting to decompress, to remember how fortunate I was and to enjoy a week away with one of my best friends. Maybe it was that I needed this trip or that I vowed to have an open, carefree attitude throughout, but whatever it was, my little week-long trip taught me about..

– Silence: People on the Tube (London’s subway) don’t talk to one another, aren’t on their cell phones and in turn, the ride is pretty quiet, much different from a Manhattan subway. I find silence very uncomfortable; it makes me feel like something is wrong, so I am constantly trying to fill the silence. Instead this time, I just let it be on the Tube and while wandering around. This almost calming silence allowed me to fully absorb everything I was experiencing.

– Intention: I’ve written about being more intentional and intentional choices before. But, for some reason that idea hit me again while abroad. It struck me most at Tate Modern where there were floors of Picasso and Dali masterpieces that were 100% intentional. With every stroke, they gave meaning, political or otherwise, to each one of their works. Seeing that made me want to be more intentional with my time, thoughts, everything.

– Friendship: I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know this before but I’ve found such an amazing friend in Lauren.

The only picture of us that wasn't a selfie!

The only picture of us that wasn’t a selfie!

I couldn’t imagine taking this trip with anyone else. There was a level of appreciation we both had for this trip, which made it 100 times better. She also managed not to kill me (big plus!) and we absolutely laughed our way through London.

– Travel: Another thing I knew but hadn’t experience in a while: Travel is essential to growing, evolving your perspective and becoming all you can be. It doesn’t matter where you go, who you go with or what you do, just go. While I feel like London is always a good idea, truthfully ANY travel is always a good idea! I now want to plan several more vacations because I came home feeling so recharged, appreciative and that I had learned something.

London was never on my bucket list but I am so glad Lauren pushed the idea on me. It was an exceptional week filled with history, wandering and overall good times. Now I can’t wait for the next adventure!

What places are on your bucket list? Any recommendations for my next journey? Please please please share!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Motivation Mondays: Being Intentional

Have you ever playing solitaire on your computer or cell phone? Do you notice what the game keeps score of after you’ve finished? You’ll see your score, the time it took you to complete the game and how many times you when through the card desk. In essence, it keeps track of how many times we drew each card. So, your time and score aren’t the only things that matter. How many times you choose a new card also factor in to your score.

Why am I talking about solitaire this morning? Because when I was playing the game, I thought about just tapping the next card to see if it belonged anywhere. You forget the game keeps track of that. In the same way, sometimes we say or do things just because without actually understanding why we did them. We do these things unconsciously and do not understand the implications of these actions. We aren’t being intentional with our choices.

Think about the last special thing someone important did you for you. You cherished it because it was special and solely for you, right? What if everyone person you passed on the street said “I love you?” Those three words would completely lose their meaning. When you act with intention, those actions become more meaningful, not only for those impacted by them but also for you. Acting with intention also makes you consider your decisions rather than coasting through life, going through the motions.

Everyone gets one shot have making their life all it can be. The choices we make shape our journeys. These choices should be made with intention and reason, just because someone else wants us to. I’m not saying don’t be spontaneous, but live for yourself. When faced with a choice, think about the decision that will make you most happy, that is best for you at that moment. Don’t just tap the card in the solitaire game. Don’t just randomly pick a path. Live with intention.

 

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