A new month in a new year signals a return to intentional living— you know, picking up those goals you jotted down last year that didn’t quite stick!
And if you’re like me, New Year’s resolutions can sometimes feel heavy. I mean, we’ve been doing this for a number of years by now. And we’re still at it with some of them!
But who doesn’t feel there’s always room for improvement in one or more major areas of their life? So we start in January (or December, for the truly organized), dreaming about how things could be (or dare I say, should be, which is even more daunting).
But how many of those ambitious line items continue to be worked as the year unfolds?
Well, after years of pledging to be perfect (and shocker: falling far short), I’ve recognized a flaw with the inordinate emphasis on big.
So instead, I’m choosing an intentional living approach: executing on little actions that can bring my larger goals within reach. And along the way, I’ll be relishing this focus that makes each ordinary day meaningful.
Think about it this way: There are many ways to get from where I am to where I want to be. Some of those ways are direct paths, or habits to do more of. Others are detours, or habits to do less of.
I’m going to focus on incorporating the little habits in my daily life that will keep me on track and offloading the ones that derail my journey!
Today, I’m sharing a few examples of “more and less” little habits that will comprise my 2022 Year of Intentional Living. Because working the small steps feels more sustainable than fixating on the big ones. Feel free to claim any that resonate for you!
What I'll Do More Of This Year
The last few months of 2021 had me on a bit of a pause. (Over here if you missed the last post). It was a time where I was sorting out my own living intentions by shifting inward. And by doing so, I observed success with occasional tiny habits that lifted me up and felt empowering. Clearly, it was time to do more of those things!
This is still a work in progress, so I reserve the right to tweak as I go along.
But so far, I’ve drafted a short list of little actions for major categories (work, relationships, mental/physical/spiritual health). They are tiny habits which can yield big benefits when done daily.
- morning journal (brain dump) to release swirling thoughts and to center myself
- physical activity to get my endorphins flowing
- mantras to turn around worry (“I’m right on schedule”), hesitation (“do it anyway”) or negativity (“think this, not that”). The last two are courtesy of the brilliant Mel Robbins!
Being sensitive is both a blessing and a curse for me. It’s challenging how easily my mood can turn on a dime, just by what someone says or does. It’s a reflex.
But what if at the moment when that happens, I train myself to pause? Use one of my mantras? The bottom line is, my reactions are simply old habits that can be adjusted…one day at a time.
And the good news is, each of these micro actions take less than 20 minutes and some are barely 10 seconds! With practice, they become second nature.
The more I do them, the better I feel.
And the better I feel, the better my day goes … boom!
What I'll Do Less Of This Year
On the flip side, I’m restricting what brings me down, feels like a slog, or gets me stuck. Identifying and limiting what I must allow less of …even if the world (or sometimes myself) keeps nudging me to do them.
Who knows better than I what makes sense for my own well being? Each of us is wonderfully unique. It follows that “one-size-fits-all” / “do what everyone else does” approaches are not always best.
So what’s on my “doing less of” list?
- endless audible notifications
- all-day work marathons
- backseat driving
There’s a lot to parse here! Let me just say that incessant interruptions really derail my focus and my mood. I’ve long prided myself with my multi-tasking skills—but at what price?
Deep thinking or being fully present in a conversation means something’s gotta give with the electronic pings. The same with stealing time every few minutes to glance at my phone or to scroll a little.
And life balance is essential. My corporate days are over. While writing brings me fulfillment, it’s a blessing that my personal life does not need to constantly come second. Time to break that twitch!
So along the lines of the Pomodoro Technique, I’m not entirely giving up getting several things done….I’m just going to ensure I go deep enough with my main objectives before I reward myself with a little social catch-up!
Lastly, yeah: backseat driving refers to my instinct to control things and direct people. It’s such an ingrained habit that I find it quite humbling to realize how often I do this. Whether I’m right or not, it’s not always appreciated (yikes!). Nor is it always effective. (Time to refer above for the proper mantra!).
Some habits may likely be something I’ll need to work on forever, never quite mastering. But always refining. Like that backseat driving.
The Wrap On Intentional Living By Way of Little Habits
Intentional Living allows us to live our best lives.
When we pause to pay attention to what our souls yearn for, we can discover our deeply personal big goals. Then we can create little habits that move us in that direction—one tiny step at a time!
This approach feels so incredibly liberating, powerful, yet doable! Which sounds like a recipe for a sustainable approach to achieving what matters most to us.
The bar is always moving higher on our big goals. But then again, so should we—don’t you think?
For another take on why it’s hard to accomplish big goals, check out this post over here. (spoiler alert: perfectionism is a notorious non-starter!)
Did you uncover a useful idea here? Have some little habits of your own you’re incorporating this year?
Share your takeaway in the comments below—I welcome your thoughts!
…And thanks for stopping by!
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