On New Year’s Eve, as I watch minutes pass away and an entire year come to an end, I get a little nervous. The year, that has become so familiar, is gone. And the new year, a completely blank slate, lies ahead. Will it be a good year? Or one that requires much endurance?
Even with all of my anxious feelings in the darkness of Dec. 31, New Year’s Day is a completely different story. It’s usually one of my favorite days of the year. I love feeling like everything is new, and everything is possible.
I know, I know … it’s just a day, right? Any day could be the start of something new.
But New Year’s Day is always a clean slate for me. I love it. I love believing I can make changes and improvements. And I love setting aside the day to quietly make plans and think through strategies.
An intentional life
A few years ago I began creating a phrase for each new year with Accidentally Green. Last year was Safe and Simple, but this year I’ve chosen what I want to be true in my own life and in the lives of my readers. I want 2015 to be the Year of Intention.
I’m turning 40 at the end of December, and I know I have 12 months to get a lot done. Since brainstorming the 20 things I want to do before I turn 40, I know I have to stay on task to meet my goals. None of them are impossible. But I can’t spend most of the year slacking, either. (And truthfully, I wouldn’t want to spend most of the year slacking.)
So what am I going to do to stay on task? And what can you do?
First of all, know where you’re going. Know what you want to do.
You need to take the time to think about what you want to see in your year. Pray about what the Lord is leading you to focus on. What areas of your life could use some improvement? What’s a dream you’ve always had? What would you love to see in your life on New Year’s Eve 2015?
Make a list of those dreams. Set those goals. It’s OK if they seem pretty incredible – make sure that some of them are.
Next, figure out the details needed to meet those ambitions.
- Do you want to eat healthier? What will that look like in your weekly meal plans and shopping trips?
- Do you want to use healthier cleaning products or cosmetics? You’ll need to think about what products you currently use and find out if they’re safe or not. Then choose one product that you’ll change each shopping trip. So if you want to overhaul your cleaning supplies, take a week or two to figure out how you’ll clean your oven safely, then make the change. The next shopping trip, buy a safe dishwashing detergent. The week after that, you can move on your bathroom cleaners. If you buy one or two new safe products a month, by the end of 2015 you’ll make the entire switch to safe cleaning and personal care.
- Do you want to lose weight? What could be a reasonable goal for you? One pound a week? One pound a month? Once you know how much you want to lose, how do you plan to do it? How can you tailor your eating choices? How many times can you reasonably expect to exercise each week? How long will you exercise in each session? What time of day will you fit this in?
- Do you need more sleep? Figure out how many hours would be ideal. Set your wake-up time, and then figure out when you should head to bed each night.
- Do you want to organize your home? What drawer can you tackle first? What room will you focus on first? As an example, I know I want to purge my home of everything unnecessary – and I want to finish in time for a Memorial Day weekend garage sale. To meet that deadline, I know I need to focus on certain areas of my home for a month at a time. In January, I’ll tackle my basement. In February, I’m moving to the bedrooms. In March, I’ll take on the kitchen. In April I’ll work on the rest of the house, and in May I’ll price everything.
Once you know the details to make your dreams a reality, figure out when you’ll do everything.
Take your planner and get planning! If you know that you want to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week, pencil it in your planner. Know when you’re going to do it – and treat it like an appointment.
For my cleaning project, I’ve set aside an hour three days a week to focus and work.
I’ll admit – it can be daunting to look at a big list of goals when you really don’t know how you’ll make the changes. But once you have a game plan, it’s much easier to believe that you can change. Figuring out the details makes it very possible to make the changes, because you’re making small steps all throughout the year. And by doing that, you’re living intentionally.
By living with intentional plans, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of meeting the goals you want and need to make.
Eliminate the unnecessary.
You’ve made your goals. You’ve thought through what it will take to succeed. And you’ve figured out when you’ll work on everything. The last step, before actually following through with everything, is to eliminate the unnecessary.
We all carry around things that weigh us down and hold us back. It could be clutter, debt, or extra pounds. Maybe we’re overcommitted when it comes to scheduling.
Whatever is holding you back, this is an excellent time to take the advice of Elsa from Frozen and “Let it go!”
I recently read Heidi Maranell’s 30/100 concept: If you attempt too much, you’ll only thrive in 30 percent of it. But if you focus on a few things, you’ll have a better opportunity to give 100 percent to those things. (I think this is genius and have been contemplating it as I plan for my new year.)
The Intentional Challenge
So what does a year of intention look like for Accidentally Green? After getting reader feedback, I know there are definite topics you’d like to learn about … so I’m covering them. I’ll focus on one theme each month. You can look forward to:
- January: Intentional Plans
- February: Intentional Food
- March: Intentional Home
- April: Intentional Green
- May: Intentional Home Remedies
- June: Intentional Body
- July: Intentional Repurposing
- August: Intentional School
- September: Intentional Family
- October: Intentional Safety
- November: Intentional Kitchen
- December: Intentional Holidays
If you’d like some help with those areas, join me in the Intentional Challenge!
Simply sign up for Accidentally Green’s free eNewsletters and a monthly Intentional Challenge, weekly reminders and an end-of-the-month wrap-up will be sent straight to your e-mail inbox. If we work together, 2015 could be our most intentional year yet!
Want to make 2015 the best year yet?
I have 41 ways for you to do just that!
1. How to Set and Keep Goals to Make This the Best Year Ever | Jen @ Girl in Garage
2. 15 Ways to Stay Organised at Work During 2015 | Elizabeth Harrin @ A Girl’s Guide to Project Management
3. How Personal Style Will Help You Achieve Goals Faster in 2015 | Cherene Francis @ Aura Image Consulting
4. Completing Those Unfinished Projects in the NEW YEAR | Angela Lerew @ Unexpected Elegance
5. 42 Ways to Practice Perfectly & Become an Expert at Almost Anything | Amy Garro @ 13 Spools
6. Easy Exercises to do on a Cruise Ship | Amanda Woods @ Adventures All Around
7. 10 Simple Ways to Eat Healthier This Year | Dawn @ Reveal Natural Health
8. 31 Days to a More Fabulous You | Julie Bonner @ Mom Fabulous
9. How to Make This the Best Gardening Year Ever | Kendra Spencer @ a Sonoma Garden
10. Make This the Best Monarch Season Ever | Tony Gomez @ Monarch Butterfly Garden
11. 12 Scriptures for Goals and Guidance | Julie @ Loving Christ Ministries
12. How to Build a Starter Emergency Fund in 30 Days or Less | Jackie Beck @ The Debt Myth
13. Family Verse of the Week Challenge for 2015 | Jamie Yonash @ Life is Sweeter By Design
14. Hot Work at Home Jobs for 2015 | Holly Hanna @ The Work at Home Woman
15. A Year of Intention | Hilary Bernstein @ Accidentally Green
16. 2015: Our Best Year Yet | Ashley @ Leaving the Rut
17. Create a Better Life Story | Bronwen Warner @ Tummy Time and Beyond
18. Get Ready to Get MDfit | Tom and Anne @ Eat & Be Fit
19. 5 Free Ways to Learn Something New This Year | Sarah Fuller @ Saving Sarah
20. Healthy Leek Soup | Mirlandra @ Mirlandra’s Kitchen
21. Health Resolutions: Baby Steps to a New You | Ellen Christian @ Confessions of an Overworked Mom
22. 5 Ways Busy Moms Can Get Motivated to Work Out | Diane Nassy @ philZENdia
23. Be Prepared for the New Year | Jennifer Dunham Starr @ Memory Journalists
24. 3 Steps to a Healthier Life in 2015 | Joe Goodwill @Average Joe Cyclist
25. New Year’s Resolution: Cook More Often! | Kim Pawell @ Something New for Dinner
26. I Should What? 28 Ways to be Happier | Karen Young @ Hey Sigmund
27. 9 Ways to Get Healthier In The New Year | Amy Maus @ Home and Farm Sense
28. In 2015 Resolve to Take Control of Your Money | Kristia @ Family Balance Sheet
29. Eucharisteo: A Year of Thanksgiving | Lani Padilla @ Simply Fresh Vintage
30. No More Tears at IEP Meetings: Make This Your Best Year Ever! | Lisa Lightner @ A Day In Our Shoes
31. Learn to Save Money on Groceries | Melissa Buckles @ Everyday Savvy
32. How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution – For Real This Time! | Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies
33. 52 Weeks to a Better You: Week 1 – Go to Bed Early | Mindi Cherry @ Moms Need to Know
34. Food Street: How a Community Has Joined Forces to Start a Street Farm | Sam Walker @ Bubble ‘N Squeak
35. Organizing Coupons with the Binder Method | Sara Steigerwald @ Sisters Shopping on a Shoe String
36. How to Make This Year the Happiest Yet | Shambray @ Shambray.com
37. A New Year, A New You | Sharon Rowe @ How to Get Organized at Home
38. 5 Ways to Get Paid for Losing Weight This Year | Anna @ Real Ways to Earn Money Online
39. Tips for Successful Whole30 | Deanna Michaels @ From This Kitchen Table
40. 75 Ways to Be Healthier in 2015 | Maryea Flaherty @ Happy Healthy Mama
41. How to Make 2015 the Best Year Ever! | Jennifer @ My Boys & Their Toys
Bonus link: Fashion Resolutions: How to Add Style to Any Outfit | Ellen Christian @ The Socialite’s Closet
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