The clock struck 12AM on January 1st, 2019. I smiled, gave hugs and kisses to the family surrounding me, and then…
Only moments before I had been thinking about all the things I wanted to accomplish and change this year. I felt invigorated, motivated, strong, but the simple turning of a clock sent all those positive feelings crashing around me.
I can’t pinpoint what caused this low moment. All I know is I believed, in that minute, I didn’t have the capability to accomplish anything.
My therapist told me one reason I struggle with these ideas of inadequacy, with anxiety avoidance, is due to past trauma. After my brain injury in 2008 there were many things I could no longer do. While I should have regained those abilities, abilities to better mentally handle situations, I didn’t immediately receive the treatment I needed. This led me to become stuck in the past, holding on to this strong belief that I can’t do anything.
The past year was one of the hardest of my life. Loss, illness, health scares, mental breakdowns, and saying goodbye to relationships leap to the forefront of my mind when I think of 2018. It drudged up a lot of bitterness, cynicism, and depression.
And yet, if I stop and think, this past year was one of growth. It opened my eyes. Brought new people into my life. Allowed room for a new furry companion to take over my heart. Made me appreciate my family on a new level. Gave me the courage to make some changes in my brain injury therapy. Led me to begin this blog.
Goals are always a set up for failure. Intention is the new word taking the world by storm, and I’m okay with that. Intention opens doors for a plan. To make a plan work, you need actionable steps. Intention focuses on the inner rather than material goals.
In medical terms, intention is the process by which a wound heals.
I spent the entirety of the past 365 days discontent. So, this year, I intend to slow down. Be more mindful. Nourish my soul. Learn appreciation. Move forward and grow. I intend to embrace simple living and each intention I created will hopefully manifest this way of life.
Value My Own Opinion
I’ve held little value for my own opinion over the years. I prefer to let others speak out of courtesy, respect, fear, and shyness. I go through life weighing what each person in my circle might say, letting others influence my decisions, my thoughts, my path for years. And I am tired. I hit a breaking point at the end of last year. I strove forward against opposition, from others and my own mentality, and made changes in my life. And you know what? It’s worked out pretty well so far. I want to carry on this strength and stop worrying about what others think and just live my life the way I believe it should be lived. I intend to start respecting my own inner voice and listen to what my mind and body tell me they need.
A couple of years ago, I faithfully kept a gratitude journal. I can’t go on enough about how it helped me slow down each night and appreciate the day. This past year, I only wrote four entries. I’m shoving bitterness aside and recommitting myself to practicing gratitude. I intend to use my planner as my journal and write an entry in each calendar day, so I have the month to look back on and remember the blessings.
Be Mindful of What I Absorb
I live a screen-filled life — mindless Pinterest scrolling, TV shows I don’t really care about, absorbing others’ lives and wishing, wishing, wishing, working on creating an online business. This lifestyle takes its toll, physically with increased headaches and mentally with depression and anxiety. Being a blogger, it’s hard to cut down on screen time. I’m setting up a work day schedule so I can fill my daily activities with more intention and cut down on screen time. This way, if I’m scrolling through Pinterest, it can also be to help increase my blog views. If I’m watching TV, it’ll most likely be with family. And, by giving more purpose to each hour of my day, I’m exemplifying the true source of admiration I have for my “idols” — their work ethic.
Do One Thing at a Time
Remember when multitasking was all the rage? No more. I’m done with multitasking. It’s torn me apart the past few months. I intend to watch TV without scrolling through Instagram at the same time. Put my phone down during car rides. Work on one thing for the blog per day. Practice listening to a podcast without also keeping my hands busy. I’ve also created a batch organization schedule for work that I hope will ease the constant “under pressure” feeling. It’s time to slow down.
Get Out (in Nature)
As a child, I was always outside. There I felt at peace in communion with nature. But as my indoor activities occupied more and more of my time, and my brain injury made me less adventurous, I turned to looking at nature pictures rather than physically experiencing it. This year, I intend to get out every day. It may not always be “in nature,” because we all know running errands is often a more realistic endeavor. But just to step out of the house and breathe in the sun and air will do wonders for mental rest. And for the days motivation is low, having a purpose, such as collecting leaves and flowers for journaling or testing my photography skills, will spur me to venture outside once more.
I have a mental road block when it comes to learning. High school shone a light on many of my mental health problems. From then on, anytime I try something new, even just a hobby, I find some excuse to count it too hard and give up. (Not to mention the money I’ve spent over the past three years on online courses that ended up being scams…) But part of my issue was a lack of focus. I’ve discovered I shouldn’t force myself to learn something that brings no value to my life. But I do have to give up on giving up. I’m redirecting my learning focus to things I am already in the process of creating, such as blogging, photography, and business. I also intend to explore different hobbies that don’t involve a screen (such as texture journaling) so I am always creating.
I love shopping, but I no longer love filling my home with mindless stuff. I want to give purpose to each thing I bring into my home and fill my space with timeless pieces. Shopping consciously envelopes the labels of ethical, sustainable, slow, etc. However, I’m not yet applying these labels mainly because as this is a new endeavor, I want to leave some grace room for experimentation. I’m starting small — literally. I aim to make “more” purchases from small businesses, buy only what I need when I truly need it, and buy items that will last for years (goodbye, $4.99 t-shirts from TJ Maxx that last one wash). I intend to break my habit of stress shopping and be mindful of what I bring into my space on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Prioritize Physical Health
In the past, I’ve set so many physical goals to become stronger, skinnier, more toned, or meet a physical therapy goal to increase my ability to keep up with others. After being sick every single month this past year, I simply want to work on physical wellness to create a healthier body and happier mind. Whether that’s creating a specific budget for wellness, exploring natural remedies, or finding a workout I actually enjoy, I’m casting off fake “self-care” and focusing on my well-being and appreciating what my body does for me every single day.
Develop a Rhythm
Rhythm is another word I’ve seen pop up to replace ideas such as routine and ritual. For years I have struggled to create a morning and evening routine and stick to it. I’ve had countless therapists recommend the practice to help motivation and anxiety. But as I can’t seem to stick to any one formula, I’ve decided to take a different approach. Rather than create a set A, B, C schedule for my morning and night, I’m creating a vision of what I want each day to look like. I want to enjoy slow, quiet mornings; work on quality rather than quantity; introduce a slower routine into productivity; and create more time for mindfulness. Knowing what I want out of each day will hopefully help me create rhythm that will bring more peace, happiness, and incentive into my life.
What I love about setting intentions is the room it provides for growth. Each one of these intentions may change as I grow over the course of the next year. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to a goal in July that you set in January; it simply may no longer align with your personal values and life.
I hope this list inspires you to create your own set of intentions and live out the new year mindfully. I’ll be sharing my own journey through each of these intentions throughout the course of the next 365 days. Thank you so much for your support in Wildflower + Ink’s “birth year.” Here’s to a wonderful 2019 (or whatever year you’re reading this!). I can’t wait to see what we accomplish.