I first heard about One Little Word (OLW) back in 2012; it was all the rage in the Slicing Community. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the act of choosing one little word to act as a beacon to guide you through the year ahead. Sort of that one thing that you keep coming back to, that you focus on, that you strive for. I couldn’t think of a word in 2012, but in 2013, my OLW was balance. I was struggling a lot with striking a balance between my work and personal lives. After not achieving balance in 2013, I again chose balance as my OLW in 2014. I did a better job, but I’m still not quite there (Will I ever be?).
As I began reflecting on last year’s OLW and thinking about what this year’s word would be, one little word kept swirling through my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It kept creeping in when I least expected it. Not wanting to accept that choosing my OLW would be this easy (it never has been before!), I began reading other people’s OLW posts, searching for inspiration. I came across a list of One Little Words, and began reading them slowly and deliberately, trying to find one that resonated with me, that spoke to my soul. But that small little voice in the back of my head kept whispering my word. Every other word was blah in comparison. I decided to succumb. It’s very clear that my OLW has chosen me. And that word is intentional.
Lately I feel like I have good intentions, but my follow through isn’t always there. You know how it is…you intend to work out, you intend to call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, you intend to save more money, you intend to eat healthier, but something (inevitably) gets in your way. Well, at least your intentions were good, right? That has to count for something!
To be intentional is to do something on purpose, deliberately, consciously, and with awareness. Having good intentions doesn’t mean much. Being intentional means making conscious decisions to follow through with what you intend to do. It’s not enough just to think about it. Being intentional requires action. I’ve realized that I want to live more intentionally.
This year, I want to be more intentional with my work. Instead of putting things off, wasting time doing things that aren’t important, I want to be intentional with my day, prioritizing and making those conscious choices that will leave me feeling fulfilled, rather than with regret.
I want to be more intentional with my money, intentionally saving more, using it on things or experiences that really matter, knowing where it all goes. Budgeting has never been a favorite thing of mine. I’m not bad with money, by any stretch, but I could definitely do with a little more intentionality when it comes to money. I am going to intentionally save for the future, save for traveling, and buy things intentionally and with purpose.
I want to be more intentional with my relationships. Living abroad is an unbelievable experience, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but it poses challenges, particularly in maintaining relationships with those who are back home. I always have good intentions when it comes to keeping up with family and friends back home, but inevitably, they remain intentions. Maintaining relationships takes time, effort, and commitment. Couple that with crazy time zones, and it’s no wonder it’s hard. But this year is going to be different. This year, I am going to be intentional with my relationships, both at home and abroad.
Lastly, I want to be intentional with my writing. Writing is a love of mine, but it’s always a struggle, too. As a perfectionist, I find that I don’t always write when I want to write because it won’t be perfect. I make excuses for writing. I can’t write now because I don’t have enough time to do a good enough job, so why bother. I can’t possibly write as well as so-and-so, so I don’t try. No more. I’m going to be an intentional writer. I’m going to carve out time to write. I’m going to work on caring a little less about it being perfect and a little more about it being honest. I’m going to tell my story.
Time, I find, is so easily wasted when you’re not being intentional. It’s a precious resource that I don’t always use to the fullest. Being intentional is going to change that. This doesn’t mean that I intend to schedule in every second of the day, prioritizing every minute so as not to waste time. What it does mean is that I want to be intentional about it. If I’m working, I want to spend my time working. If I’m enjoying time with friends, I want to focus on them and our conversations (not think about work or check my phone). If I’m traveling, I want to live in the moment, intentionally soaking up all that I can from the sights, sounds, people, and experiences.
As I enter into 2015, with all of the wonder and newness that a new year brings, I am hopeful. Many changes are coming my way- that much I know. But growing through these changes takes intention, and that’s what I intend to do. Intentional is what I will be.