I have been thinking about this post for quite some time- well before the New Year rolled around.
2013 was a challenging year.
I want 2014 to be better.
I know for a period of time in latter part of 2013, I quit doing things I normally do to take care of myself: eating in a way that fuels and sustains my body and mind, reading my bible daily and praying, WRITING, reading and practicing yoga.
Instead I spent endless hours watching Netflix while eating takeout and sweets, napping away whole days nursing hangovers of various sorts and avoiding God. I avoided writing because words I have to say felt too big to put pen to paper. I still ran and lifted weights occasionally but I had no schedule or plan and simply missed numerous days in a row due to lack of interest and energy.
I am not going to go on and on about how I’ve been depressed for a couple months. Because honestly? No one wants to read sad stories and I don’t really want to talk about it anymore. But I will say I have been struggling and I’m going to do something about it.
Originally, I wanted to use the word discipline to describe this endeavor. I liked the idea of having a plan and goals and being diligent- showing care in one’s duties- in working towards them. Then I looked up the definition of the word discipline:
The practice of training people to obey rules or code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.
Yuck. No. Not at all what I was looking for. I’ve been punished plenty by myself in this life, I am not looking to do anymore damage to my self-esteem through unrealistic expectations in the form of rules. Instead, I’m looking to create positive habits in my life that are the opposite of punishment- behaviors and rituals that are positive. I want to form routines that are encouraging and kind to my body and soul.
I’ve read a lot about creating habits as a means to reaching goals. (I highly recommend the book ‘The Power of Habit’ – check it out here) I read something once on the internet about creating a habit by doing something for 100 days. If you did one thing every day for 100 days- what would that look like? How would your life be changed?
I have made many goals over the years: I quit smoking in 2010, trained for a marathon in 2011, ran one in 2012 and ran my second marathon in 2013. I’ve made goals to read more, write more and spend less. Last year, I didn’t buy any new clothes (except 3 items in November that I swapped out for old stuff). I like having a plan and a goal and I find great accomplishment in doing something I set out to.
This year, instead of just doing something for the year, I wanted to START something lifelong. I wanted to pull in a little and put less focus on doing all the things and more on being the best version of me that I can me through the creation of good habits. I want to just be better in 2014.
Intention is described as ‘an aim or plan.’ I think this is an accurate description of the changes I’m trying to make in my life.
Starting January 6th, for each of the next 100 days I am:
- Writing for at least 15 minutes (always journaling on paper, but also blogging on some days)
- Reading my Bible (I’m using the Chronological plan on YouVersion to read through the entire bible this year)
- Physical Activity (run, dog walk, gym or yoga)
- Yoga for at least 10 minutes
I started at the New Year with some of these things to sort of ready myself, but my official Day 1 was Monday January 6th. I picked it because I like starting things on Monday because it’s a new fresh week. Also, Monday was Ephiphany. If you don’t what that is, it is the 12th day of Christmas and also when Jesus was recognized as the Son of God in human form. I felt like that was a good day to make some changes to my life.
This verse inspired me: “So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” 1 Peter 1:13
Today is Day 5 of my 100. I’ve already ran into issues with feeling lazy at night and not wanting to do yoga or write or read. I’ve woke up tired and hungry and really wanting cookies at 3 PM, but I’ve dug in and stuck to these things. They seem so small when I put them on paper, but having a focus and carrying out something for 100 days is no easy feat.
Have you seen this video floating around the internet? I watched this video 3 days into my 100 and it inspired me even more to keep it up. I believe that having intention and goals is the only way to grow as a person. Having a plan and a goal and reaching it is the most amazing feeling. You can see and feel the fruits of your labor. You reach a new level of knowing with yourself…that you have the ability to do anything you set your mind out to do. It builds confidence and self-awareness and allows you to reach levels of success that before seemed unreachable.
I’ve just been thinking that there are things I want for my life- to be an entrepreneur, to travel, to be close to God, to be healthy and to live a long and happy life. If I fail to take action to make those things happen, if I don’t put in the work (at the things that require me doing them- obviously God loves me no matter what), then I have no one to blame but myself!
Every day, every single one of us has the conscious decision to engage in life or not.
I chose to engage.
It’s quite possible I can work towards all the things I want out of life and not get them. However, I will know that I did everything I could; I’ll know I gave it my all.
I struggled with getting these thoughts out. I’ve agonized over what I wanted the 100 days to represent to me. I looked up numerous words and thought them over, rolling them around in my head and finally landed on intention.
I wasn’t 100% sold on it, then I looked up the definition and knew it was the right word for me.
You know what the other definition of intention is?
The healing process of a wound.
Here’s to health, happiness and healing this very year and all the years to come.
Happy New Year.