2016 Intentions

Hey, would you look at that. It’s 2016. In fact, it’s been 2016 for some time now. I was “intending” to write this post at, say, the beginning of the year. But like Gretchen Rubin, who’s come around to the idea of sending Valentine’s Day cards instead of holiday cards, because that’s when she can get them done, here I am with my intentions for 2016. Because this is when I’ve gotten them done.

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I’m using the word “intentions” intentionally. These aren’t resolutions or goals. I know it’s a difference of semantics, but there’s something about the setting of resolutions and goals that just sets me up to disappoint myself. I mean, it’s mid-February. How resolved can I possibly be?

(On a related note, since I’m starting this with 10.5 months left in the year, do I get to pro-rate my success? To be determined in the year-in-review post.)

Last year, I did set a word of the year. It was “present,” and I failed miserably. I didn’t do much living in the moment, I let my gratitude practice wither, and my monkey mind sped ahead to the to-do list of tomorrow, next week, next month all too often. But I’m giving myself a break on all of that. In many ways, 2015 was a great year, but as I wrote in December, it was filled with its fair share of bumps, too.

So, this year, no word. But maybe a theme. And the theme is: me. I fell into a mom rut last year, consumed by everything that needed to happen while juggling full-time work and the baby and the toddler. I became a cliché – no time to read and little time to write, no time to workout, no time to go out.

It’s time to break those habits. Because cliché is sad, but martyrdom is worse, and I don’t want to end up there. So, a few intentions for a less clichéd 2016:

I want to read. I think I read a grand total of two books last year, not counting the kid sleep books I read over and over again (to no avail). I’d especially love to read some fiction, which I feel like I’ve floated far away from. I miss escaping into a book, that feeling when you just can’t wait to find a free minute to open the pages back up (or turn the iPad back on). I’ve already made a little progress on this point, in part by deleting Facebook from my phone. Time when I used to mindlessly scroll is now taken up with a few quick pages, which has helped me already to read Jessica Turner’s The Fringe Hours, on finding more time in your day (how meta is that?), and My Other Ex, an anthology about women’s friendships.

Other books on my reading list right now that I’d love to get through this year:

  • Anna Quindlen’s Still Life With Bread Crumbs (I started this, um, two years ago. An Anna book that I haven’t finished?!? You can tell by that very fact that reading took a nose dive for me.)
  • Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin
  • In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume
  • Kindness Wins, by Galit Breen
  • Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess)
  • Rising Strong, by Brene Brown
  • When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
  • Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler

If I even get through half of those, I’ll call it a win.

What books are on your nightstand, in your Kindle, or on your library waiting list?

I want to write. Writing makes me happy. But finding the time to sketch out a piece, edit it, and send it out into the world has been tough, of late. I spent a chunk of January taking a class on finding balance as a writer, and carving out time to create. I came up with some good ideas – and then fell horribly behind when the snow hit. I’m committed to finishing the class, and then to actually following through on my plans for making time to write on a more regular basis. The things that make my heart sing shouldn’t be last on my to-do list.

I want to work out. Isn’t this on everyone’s list? But at some point this year, for the first time in more than FOUR years, I will be neither pregnant nor breastfeeding. My body will be back to being mine, and it’s time I stop treating it like a garbage heap. I’ve coasted on nursing to help burn calories since Katie was born 15 months ago, but now it’s time to actually get back to some physical fitness if I’m going to be able to justify dessert. I’ve started barre classes once a week, and I’m aiming to run on the treadmill two other times a week. I’d even like to run a 5k this year. In the fall. Maybe. (It would be my first race in almost five years!)

I want to dress up. Stitch Fix has revitalized my wardrobe far more than the several pieces I’ve kept from the styling service alone would show. I hate spending money on clothes, a fact that my closet made painfully obvious when I took inventory back in the fall. But spending a bit on some good pieces turns out to be worth it for mind and body alike. I’m sticking with Stitch Fix. My next box arrives March 9!

I want to get out, and get away. Babysitters are expensive, and it’s hard for one parent to take care of both kids for a whole weekend. But there’s value in investing in date nights that require clothes other than yoga pants and entertainment other than Netflix, and in B getting some solo time with Teddy and Katie while I return to my annual Girls’ Weekend. (That’s right, ladies, Michele’s back! Look out, New Hampshire!)

I want to get back to gratitude. I kept up my monthly(ish) Three Good Things posts last year, but I found it easier to find things I’d loved and learned than those I’d felt grateful for. I think that’s because I stopped looking as intentionally for the good. This year, I want to get back to listing five things I’m grateful for each day. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over and over again: the more I look for the good, the more good I find.

What do you intend to do this year, and what have you already accomplished? I’ll be back in a few months to let you know how my intentions are working out.

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10 thoughts on “2016 Intentions

  1. This is a great piece, from my experience your intentions will be challenging, but attainable if you put mind to it. I’m going to check out some books from your reading list after I finish my current Jojo Moyes novel…
    Hip hip hooray for girls weekend, so thrilled to see you in a couple months, but please wear your yoga pants, comfort is key💚💚💚💚

  2. I love the idea of Valentine’s Day cards instead of Holiday cards. I seriously love it! However, I just bought a ton of holiday cards on clearance for this coming year, so those V-day cards might not happen until 2018 😉

    I love your intentions. I set mine late too. I feel as if I’m JUST getting into 2016. Not that two months are almost done.

  3. I get so overwhelmed by the books piling up on my nightstand and on my kindle. I read about one a week, but now I’m juggling too many at once and feel like I’m not finishing them. Arg!

    • I feel kind of haunted by all the books (both paper and electronic) that are waiting for me. And a real sense of accomplishment when I finish one! If I get through one a month this year, I’ll be happy! Love reading your book reviews – always a few more things to add to my Goodreads list!

  4. I love these Michele! I’m reading Big Magic right now and it’s amazing. Oh I so want to read more this year. And write more. I end up waiting until the last second for Finish the Sentence and then I want to change it but then say forget it then change it. If I wrote more often, I think this would be less of an issue. Also I signed up for Stitch Fix based on your recommendation but I’ve yet to buy anything. Must. Get. On. That.

    • Yes! Stitch Fix! The whole process has been a lot of fun – picking things for my Pinterest board, getting the box, looking for other pieces to freshen up my wardrobe. The first time I can remember having fun with clothes!

      At some point we *will* trade notes about Big Magic. 🙂

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