A New Year and New Intentions

It’s the new year, time for…goals? Resolutions? I have missed many goals and broken many resolutions. But I have become a great fan of intentions. For the new year, make new intentions. What the heck do I mean?

Image of the word Start at the beginning of a road to the mountains, Make your new intentions for the new year.

Intentions

As a writer, I first came across the term creative intentions as explained by Orna Ross in her eleven-part blog series, The Power of Creative Intention for Creativepreneurs.

It is my belief that everyone is creative. See my post, You Don’t Have to Be an Artist. But I know not all of you believe that. So drop the word creative and just use intentions. 

Anyone and everyone can set intentions. About now you’re getting impatient for a definition. (I know I was when I started learning about this mindset). To get to a definition, we need to look at the root word, intend.

According to Merriam-Webster, intend means “to have in mind as a purpose or goalPLAN” or “to direct the mind on” or (archaic) to proceed on a course.

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

To have in mind as a purpose seems a much better way to think about what my plans are for the new year. In my mind, a goal and a resolution have more permanence and allow little flexibility. An intention seems a more flexible way to plan despite the interruptions and disruptions we all face in life. 

close up of dart board, Keep your eye on the target with new intentions

We can miss a goal. We break most resolutions. But an intention is a focus. When life gets in the way of your plan, take care of that event or disturbance intending to return to your primary plan. Every morning begins with a renewed intention.

It’s a wise man who understands that every day is a new beginning, because boy, how many mistakes do you make in a day? I don’t know about you, but I make plenty. You can’t turn the clock back, so you have to look ahead.

Mel Gibson

More than One

Heck, you might have more than role and therefore more than one area of intentions. I am a writer which means I’m also a marketer and a website manager. Another of my roles is as a caregiver. Therefore, I have intentions for Making (writing stories), Managing (website and blog), Marketing (my books), and Home (caregiving and household duties).

When I decide upon my intention for a new year, I make one broad intention for each area.

My intentions this year are to finish If I Should Die (Make), Improve my website (manage), run ads for my books (Market), and be a compassionate caregiver and manage our household duties (Home). I also choose two or three secondary actions for each.

Going Forward

Once I know what my year’s plan looks like, then I break up those intentions into quarterly and monthly steps. No matter what life interruptions I have, I keep my focus because of my intentions. 

Do you make goals or resolutions? Or do you prefer setting intentions? What new intentions have you set for 2020?

Lessons from 2017 & Strategies for 2018

It’s New Years Day. Happy New Years! Did you make a list of resolutions? I didn’t. According to Forbes, less than 8% of people achieve their resolutions. I can attest to that fact. I’ve made a ton of resolutions and rarely achieved my goals. For a long time, I thought that meant I wasn’t a goal-oriented person. Hogwash!

The only real mistake quote from Henry Ford, resolutions, lynettemburrows.com

I spent a portion of 2017 documenting what I achieved in my bullet journal. My bullet journal was an experiment. I wanted to record goals and accomplishments, desires, and what I learned each day. Turns out the lessons I learned in 2017 were many. I learned that I accomplished a lot of things. And I learned a few things I hope to use to make 2018 a better year. I’m sharing my lessons here in the hopes that you might use one or two of my lessons and also have a better year in 2018.

Healing happens in its own time.

This applies to healing from diabetic wounds, healing from grief, or even healing from a common cold. To say that it takes time is an understatement that is a disservice. Not because of the amount of time but because healing is not something that happens in a straight line.

Be patient with yourself or others going through a healing process.

Draw comfort from the sources that give you the most comfort. Practicing creativity, hobbies, or new interests can be therapeutic. Acknowledge the feelings you feel. There will be many. Some you won’t understand.

Give it time. There will be days when you think you’re done and days when you know you’re not. Get through the bad days. Live in the moment on the good days.

You can’t control everything.

My personal journey over the past two years has been an emotional yo-yo. I transitioned from life partner to supportive partner to full caretaker and then to a part-time caretaker. Life is also not linear. Coping with the ups, the downs, and the sideways twists is difficult but there are ways to cope.

Focus on what you can control—namely yourself. Your thoughts and actions are the only things over which you have control. Want to live a more positive life? Choose to think and act more positively.

Identify your fears. Our worst decisions are made from a place of fear.

Concentrate on your influence. What can you do that will make a difference? How can your actions influence others for good? Focus on what you can do.

Differentiate between problem cud-chewing and problem-solving. We all get caught in circular thought patterns. Break out of that pattern by problem-solving. Can’t see a solution? Focus on what you can control.

Sometimes it takes a Leap of Faith.

I retired a couple of weeks ago. Scary because I retired earlier than I’m really comfortable with. Scary because–change. Scary because I’ve committed to being a writer FULL TIME. Writing in the cracks of time has been my life up until now. Now I must learn to write daily, to produce regularly. Different skills entirely.

Listen to your inner voice. It actually knows more about what you need that your brain does.

Practice Daily Self Care. Get enough sleep. Good nutrition. Exercise. Especially be kind to yourself.

Change fear of the unknown to a desire for what’s next. It takes practice, kind of like affirmations. Say it out loud. Repeat until it’s a habit.

Allow yourself to be supported. This one is tough for me. I’m working on it.

Quit Comparisons. You know that’s right. When you find yourself making a comparison, step back, remind yourself you have your own journey. Easier said than done, but again, it takes practice.

Celebrate what you’ve manifested to date. Celebrate the small victories. Every. One. Record what you’ve accomplished. Reinforce that your leap of faith won.

Have the strength of your conviction. You have a lifetime of knowledge and skill, use it to bring your vision to life.

Is your decision fear-based or love-based? Love wins hands down.

Choose a date. Believe in yourself by making a choice and sticking to it.

Handle the naysayers—fear makes bad decisions,

Come in for the landing — crash, get up and do it again. Let’s face it, some leaps of faith won’t end the way you want them to. It’s okay if you crash this time. Learn from it. Dust off your knees and do it again with new knowledge and experiences to build on.

Growth takes patience.

Lots of it. Having a puppy for the first time in a dozen years has made me acutely aware of the patience required for growth. This reminder applies to growth as a writer, a blogger, a person, or . . . a puppy.

How do you develop patience?

Pay attention. When pain or irritation occurs pay attention. Is it uncomfortable or intolerable? Intolerable needs swift attention. Uncomfortable can wait. Training your brain to identify what the problem is and the severity of the problem will help you come up with a solution that will work.

Slow down. Take a few breaths, count to ten, do some isometrics, or sit and listen to an entire song on the radio. Think through what you want to rush (second helpings of dessert, a snappy comeback, a not-quite done project). What outcome do you want? What will happen if you wait?

Practice. Spend time practicing patience. Stop. Start small (fifteen minutes, half an hour, an hour) and build up to a full day of practice. Record your progress. You may surprise yourself.

These are lessons I needed. I’ve taken a leap of faith and will need to use each of these lessons in the coming year. So I made an infographic for when I need reminders.

infographic on Lessons from 2017, resolutions, lynettemburrows.com

Did you find any of this helpful? You can download a copy of the Lessons & Strategies infographic here.

(Edited 1/7/18 to correct link for download. It will work now. Sorry about the inconvenience.–LMB)

Would you care to share how you might use these lessons?

Did you learn a lesson in 2017 that you’re willing to share?

The Wormhole of Wrecked Resolutions

Hello! I’m back!

*Crickets*

Well, I can’t blame you. I’ve been gone a long time. Where was I? I was lost in a wormhole.

wormhole
unedited photo: Wormhole by Steve Moses via Flickr Creative Commons. https://www.flickr.com/photos/smoses/16997463929

According to space.com, a wormhole is a theoretic passage through time and space that could create shortcuts across the universe. This wormhole was first proposed by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen in the theory of relativity. They thought of it as a bridge. Well, let me tell you, wormholes can have mighty long bridges. Life handed me a one-way ticket through a wormhole about two years ago.

Scientists speculate that it takes negative energy to keep a wormhole open. Check.  I’ve had my share of negative energy ranging from having to say goodbye to beloved pets to hated-but-required tasks of the day job, to housework (oh, the waste of time!), and the nightmare and heartache of a loved one’s life-limiting illness. My resolutions, my goals, slid out of sight as I trudged one foot in front of the other, trying to make it through to the other side of the wormhole.

Yet, in the quantum foam that formed my wormhole there existed moments of awesomeness. I attended a life-changing Master Immersion Class with Margie Lawson and participated in an online FAB 30 class. I experienced the joy of my son’s wedding, a grandson’s enthusiastic exploration of the day, critique partners who cheered me on in my writing journey, and quiet moments of tenderness with loved ones. But in my travels through the wormhole, I found I was missing something.

You see, when life handed me the ticket through the wormhole, I battened down the hatches to focus on two things: my writing and my family. I didn’t want to look back and regret not having been there for the moments my beloved and I had left.

Those moments have been precious. I wouldn’t trade any of them. Not even the “negative” ones for without them my “positive” moments would have been less shiny (and I do love shiny!) I will not ignore those moments ever again. I know that now. But in my anxiety to be certain I didn’t miss those, I missed a whole bunch of moments with you folk, my readers, classmates, and friends. My bad. My deepest apologies to all of you.

I’m still on that bridge through the wormhole. It’s not a flat bridge. It’s not a yellow-brick road to the land of Oz. There will be times when I post irregularly. But I won’t ignore the online moments anymore. My moments with you are a valued part of the wondrous trip through the wormhole we call life. I don’t want to miss any of them. 

Have you ever been lost in a wormhole? Please, take a moment and, in the comments below, share one of your wormhole moments.