One month ago today, many of us found ourselves giddy with excitement and anticipation about the dawn of a new year and the fresh start that awaited us. Now that the new car smell of 2016 has worn off, and the first month is under our belts, it feels like an opportune time to take stock of where we are today and to explore where we want to go tomorrow. With the first day of a new month and a new week on the horizon, I find myself in a bit of a reflective mood.
Almost as soon as the ink had dried on the New Year’s resolutions, the challenges to my carefully crafted goals began to appear. These obstacles were not the result of anything negative per se, as much as they were simply a part of life. While I wish I could focus 100% of my time, attention, and energy on my personal and professional goals every day until they come to fruition, realistically, I cannot. That is one wish that won’t come true. I have bills to pay, children to raise, and work to do, and I can’t put my current life on hold to pursue the life I aspire to have. So, January has been a balancing act of staying present and taking steps toward the future.
Some days, everything fired on all cylinders, while other days, everything backfired. Through it all, two practices helped me stay faithful to the small details, while keeping the grander vision fresh in my mind and heart:
- Set daily intentions each morning. Before my feet hit the floor, my intentions hit my lips. I say to myself (yes, sometimes, I even say them out loud) whatever I intend to do that will leave me feeling content at the end of the day and that will bring me closer to my goals. Some intentions are repeated almost every day. I intend to do quality work and reach my productivity goal at work. I intend to exercise. I intend to make healthy food choices. Other intentions are born out of specific situations. I intend to breathe through the anxiety. I intend to focus on healing from breast cancer. I intend to ask for help when I am not feeling well. The intentions may vary, but I find when I set them every morning, the results tend to be the same. When I honor my intentions, they honor me by helping me to be more positive and productive.
- Write in my gratitude journal each evening. Last year, I was bombarded with losses and painful experiences, and I found myself mired in hurt and tragedy. This year, I am facing some tough situations, again, but I am doing so bolstered by gratitude. It’s funny how it is easier to complain and lament than it is to give thanks and be happy, but it is, at least it is for me. I rediscovered, though, that when I look for moments throughout the day to be grateful, my days, even the tough ones, are better. Here are some of the things that I took note of today that garnered my appreciation: I am grateful for being able to open my windows in the dead of winter to enjoy a spring like day. I am grateful for invitations from two dear friends to spend time with them. I am grateful for autumn squash soup. I am grateful for my daughters’ help in cleaning our home. I am grateful for a quiet Sunday night at home. There’s always something to be grateful for in our lives. Always.
One month is in our rearview mirror, and eleven more are on their way. I don’t know what the rest of this year will bring, but I will be bringing good intentions and gratitude.
Just one thing each day . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day