I have to admit that I am not usually a ‘buzzword’ kind of gal. But there is something about the thought of living simply, and with intention, that has really caught me as we head into 2019.
Many, many moons ago, I subscribed to a magazine which focused on the art of slow living; something I would flick through the pages of enviously. Slow living sounds like my kind of jam…except, it never seemed to be the case that we were actually able to slow down. Over the last couple of months I have had to come to a place of acceptance, in myself, that we don’t live the kind of lives which are slow-paced. We live 100 mile an hour lives; lives which are busy with work and children and after-school clubs and hobbies and church commitments and family commitments and have I exhausted you reading my list yet type of commitments?
Perhaps you are even nodding your head because you are facing those problems too?
How do you slow down when everything around you just won’t give?
This is where I have had to make my peace. Life comes in seasons and waves, and right now, with where we are, our lives are fast moving. No amount of pulling on my part is going to change that. What is more likely to happen is that I am going to be left feeling like I’ve dropped the ball, or missed something crucial. So how can I combat where my life was at, with where I wanted to be? This has been my thought process over the last few months. I have gone backwards and forwards on this, but ultimately I think I’ve found something worth trying out.
Enter 2019…the year of simple and intentional living.
Just because my life is fast doesn’t mean that I have to allow myself to be swept along. I can still make decisions every single day which fall in line with my ideals and dreams. I don’t need to feel as though I am ricocheting from one moment to the next.
I might not be able to slow everyone and everything down but that doesn’t mean my life needs to be chaos.
Are you nodding along with me here? Living with intention means deciding on what is important to me and ensuring that each day I make decisions which fall in line with that. It might mean making some hard choices. It might mean saying no to things I would previously have gone along with, but this is all about taking back control. Determining for myself what happens in our lives and not just going along with the flow.
Does it feel like your days roll into weeks roll into years…without you even seeming to realise?
Do you make decisions based on what is happening around you, letting other situations and people create the momentum which pulls you along?
Yep. Me too.
But this year is the time that it stops. I want to employ some really simple steps to help give me and my family a renewed sense of direction. I want our actions and our decisions to be intentional. I want to streamline our lives so that we are inclusive of things which are important to us, and we get rid of dead-weight we don’t need.
I am going to share these steps with you, and hopefully share our journey as we become a family living simply, and intentionally in 2019. I hope you find them useful.
1. What are my core values?
I have started by asking myself what is important to me. Everyone will have different core values; mine are my faith, my family, my mental well-being, my desire to travel and show my children the world and to succeed in my job.
It might be that you don’t know right off the bat what your own core values are in which case I would encourage you to spend some time contemplating what is most important in your life. Without knowing this, you can’t know what you are building towards.
2. What do I want?
Next, I spent some time thinking about what I ultimately want from life. What catches my heart? When I sit and look back at my life in 20, 30, maybe even 40 years, what do I want to have achieved?
There is no right or wrong answer here but the answers will determine changes which need to be made. For example, if I were to answer that I wanted to write a second book by 2020, then I would need to implement steps to make this happen.
3. What do I need to do?
Now I have a confession to make. I have started this process once or twice before. Never on this scale, and I have never shared it with anyone but as a goal-orientated, driven individual, this is not the first time I have listed out my core values and my ultimate dreams in life. For some reason, this third step; actually beginning to implement change, is my biggest stumbling block. This is the step which I seem to get stuck on. When it comes down to making changes, I grind to a halt. This winter I have come to a realisation that the reason behind this is trying to start too big and have it all immediately fall into place.
Intentional living is as much about the small, repeated, every day decisions which gradually turn the tide and begin to push you towards your ultimate goal.
To use the book example again, how much easier to set myself a goal of ‘I’m going to try and write 200 words each week’ rather than ‘I’m going to write 1,000 words a day.’ Maybe I will do more than 200 words but starting small, and with an achievable goal, will make sticking to it much easier. And once I have found my rhythm maybe I can push a little more, and a little more.
This is not about sweeping, expansive goals. It’s about small, achievable ones.
Intentional living is not about having everything figured out, but it does mean having a purpose behind each action you make.
4. It’s a continual process
The final part of my post today, is the understanding that this is a continual process. As I’ve mentioned above, this is about the small, every day decisions not the big life goals. Yes, it helps to know what you ultimately want from life but it’s very unlikely that you will be able to just switch everything around. I am tied to my job, my responsibilities, my children…these are not things which can simply be put to one side.
I really hope that this year I can make this stick. And I hope if this post has resonated with you in some way, that you can also try to put these steps into motion. I’d love to know how you get on if you do!