Have you been wondering what ever happened to my monthly goal-setting series? It’s been MIA for while now! I have decided it’s time to shake things up a little bit! If this is your first visit here, thanks for joining me! Back in 2019, I decided to start setting three specific goals for myself each month. My objective was to be more intentional in my day-to-day life. Last year, I have found myself in need of a more gentle, grace-giving approach. One that still offers me accountability, joy, and connection – but with much less pressure. I decided to shift this to a series of monthly intentions. It’s been a minute since I posted any but as the halfway point of the year is upon us, here are my July intentions for 2022.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hello there… it’s been awhile! Can you believe that we’ve already arrived at the halfway point to 2022 (how did that sneak up on me so quickly?!)! I’ve been doing some creative soul searching over the past month or so. Checking in with myself on the things I set out as intentions for the year. Thinking about the what matters most to me. Considering whether I have been honoring the word I chose back in January (EXPAND) to embrace the energy and growth and my authentic desires for the year. What I’ve realized is that I am craving a major reset.
I’ve always been motivated and inspired by a clear set of goals. It helps my chaotic brain stay focused and grounded about things I want to be intentional about. For a long time I had a good routine of setting goals for myself each month and sharing them with you here. From the inception of my goal-setting series (back in July of 2019!), I’ve always truly enjoyed this process. For one thing, there is a pretty strong sense of accountability that comes from announcing to the internet what you are trying to accomplish in a month. There have been seasons when all I could manage to find time (or make time) for with my blog was creating these monthly goals posts. Writing and sharing my goals with you felt like an uncomplicated way for me to show up in this space and yet, somewhere along the way, I just stopped.
So why start over setting personal intentions again now, you ask? Well… WHY NOT? I think setting July intentions is as good a time as any to get back in the action again!
I’m feeling enthusiastic to get back on track with rhythms and routines that help ground me in my day to day life. I’m craving accountability. So much of our lifestyle requires me to go with the flow, but I thrive so much better in the chaos when I have anchors that I have set out for myself along the way. These anchors become lifelines for me on the most challenging days. I have been longing to reconnect with personal intentions that help me hold space for the most important things in my life. Mostly I want to capture more moments, make the days feel more meaningful, and maintain more presence.
This space has always been a wonderful opportunity for me to set and reflect on goals/intentions that I would like to pursue in my life, as well as offering me a greater sense of accountability. So I’m recommitting (once again!) to my monthly intentions. For now I am planning to do them through the remainder of this year and then I’ll re-evaluate how I feel going forward into 2023. Each month I will choose three intentions that I feel the most pull towards that I want to be pursue and stay motivated about. I’ll be here on my blog to share them with you, along with what worked/didn’t work for the month.
I’m not going to let myself get too carried away. Some of these intentions will be one ones I’ve set for myself before (because, well, I’m a continual work in progress!). A few of them may seem overly simplified – starting small is one way I keep things from getting overwhelming for me. On occasion, they may be aligned with what’s happening for us in any given month or season as a family. I hope you will enjoy following along, join me in setting your own intentions as you feel compelled, help to hold me accountable, and possibly find some inspiration of your own within these posts.
So without further ado… here are my July intentions!
My July Intentions 2022
1. Get back into Blogging!
I have really fallen out of the habit of blogging regularly. In fact, this year I have barely shown up in this space at all. I’m not happy about it because this has been something that is incredibly important to me. I have found so much joy and fulfillment from writing and sharing here. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately examining how deeply I feel “called” to writing. I wrote a little bit about it here. Creating for my blog is a big part of that calling. Continuing this process is very much on my heart and on my creative priority list.
One thing I recognized last year is that I’m not great at planning and work flow. When I set aside time to work on blog posts, I often go into that time with an expectation for myself of publishing in one sitting. This tends to be overwhelming and causes me to start a lot of posts that get set aside without completion. Or, if I’m keeping it REAL with you and myself, the overall task becomes overwhelming because the time I need to work through to completion isn’t always available to me and so I repeatedly put it off. Hence what has happened this year so many times. I’m still learning that breaking the process down into smaller parts works best for me when it comes to actually bringing them to life.
Setting some realistic intentions (and offering this up to you for additional accountability!) will hopefully help me find a rhythm to publishing that offers consistency to my readers and offers me a chance to establish some better work flow tendencies to enhance my process. Just carving out time for my creative writing and planning will be a big help!
Why is this one of my July intentions?
Blogging is something I REALLY want to do! It brings me so much joy to show up in this space. Often it gets pushed aside in this season of life with two littles and a hectic, totally inconsistent, daily schedule of priorities. I admit at times, in my more insecure moments, I have succumbed to the narrative that blogging is a “frivolous” hobby and thus end up not prioritizing it for myself. There is also a deeply rooted reluctance in me to hold space for this side of myself, to find the worthiness in doing things I find fulfilling in lieu of prioritizing the other main characters in my life.
Possibly even more difficult to admit, is a hesitation within me to dig deep enough to see the exposed vulnerabilities that writing brings up for me. I suspect there is a subconscious fear to truly SEE myself and prioritize the work of understanding, experiencing, and accepting the more emotional side that emerges in the process of showing up in my writing. Acknowledging this feels important. There is power in the PROCESS. So much of my self-growth comes from being willing to SEE and admit the ways I enable the resistance to occur.
I offer myself grace (trust me, I have come a long way in doing so!) but I am finding that accountability is what I need even more than grace. Accountability to MYSELF first of all and then accountability alongside people who feel similarly compelled and perhaps who also resist this as I do. Let us create, share, and hold space to self-reflect/grow. There is solidarity and connection to be had, love to offer each other and ourselves, and a whole lot of self-acceptance to gain. When I look at the things in my life that bring me the genuine fulfillment, creating and sharing in this space is high on that list.
I believe the things that bring us growth and self-reflection, solidarity and self-acceptance, joy and a true sense of fulfillment SHOULD be kept on our goal lists!
Action plan: I rarely seem to have trouble prioritizing things that I schedule in my calendar. Whether that be tennis or soccer, girls’ nights, or book club – making an appointment for such events means that I will find a babysitter if I need to or block that time more intentionally. I realize I need to prioritize my creativity in a similar way. I also need to create an environment where I can focus and finish things I set out to accomplish. Turning off my phone, popping in my noise-canceling headphones, and staying in the zone without interruption is really helpful for me. So by this time next month, I will share at LEAST ONE MORE BLOG POST (hopefully my August intentions!) and I am officially inviting you to witness this intention as another way to hold myself accountable!
2. Daily Morning Pages
When I’m in the groove with my morning routine, it feels like life just flows more smoothly from day to day. Morning pages has always been a powerful part of that routine for me. Waking up early before my family has been a way to help me feel calm and focused as I head into each day. I get up, make myself a cup of coffee, settle in at my desk, and grab my notebook to clock 15-20 minutes of free writing. The creative guru Julia Cameron (author of The Artists’ Way and Finding Water) calls this creative process the “morning pages” and I’ve done them off and on for many years. Lately, I’ve been “off” more than on despite making a conscious effort to be more intentional about them. Since I’m returning to monthly intention setting, this feels like a perfect place to start again.
Why is this one of my July intentions?
Since we moved last year, I have really struggled to find my morning groove again. Some days it feels hard to keep my head above water. My kids are up at the crack of dawn. Oftentimes I stay up much too late and can’t seem to drag myself out of bed. The list of things I need to do seems to pile on from the moment my eyes pop open each morning.
One thing that has been very clear to me is how much the absence of my morning ritual inhibits my creativity, my mood, and even my ability to feel grounded in my days. It’s amazing the huge impact that writing morning pages can have on me, emotionally and mentally. Taking time to ground myself intentionally through journaling, meditation, prayer, and gratitude, and even by simply sitting in the predawn silence of our house is such an important way to set the tone before the chaos of the day erupts around me.
Action plan: Set my alarm and get UP when it goes off. Hold space for this time even when the day takes off before I’m prepared. Find the margins in my day that allow me pockets of time to write if I can’t carve it out in the earliest part of the day. Connect with other creatives for accountability. Trust the process.
3. Daily Marriage Check-ins
In the last couple of months, our family schedule has felt pretty intense. Paul has been working demanding shifts all hours of the night and day. I’ve been busy keeping up with our kids being on summer vacation and home full time. It seems like there are so many events and activities to keep up with! Sometimes it feels like days pass without Paul or I having a chance to genuinely connect with one another. When life gets chaotic, both of us tend to hunker down and push through. Often forgetting to lean in to one another for support and camaraderie. Over dinner the other night, we revisited a conversation we’ve had many times about how negatively “disconnection” affects our marriage. We decided to rekindle a plan we’ve used in the past to be more intentional with one another.
In Kendra Adachi’s book The Lazy Genius Way, she talks about one of the main reasons we have difficulty in creating new habits for ourselves is that we start too big with our goal setting.
In her book, she shares her struggle to start a yoga habit. Her original goal was 20 minutes a day and she just couldn’t seem to keep at it. However, she found success in her efforts when she committed to simply 1 downward dog pose daily. It was such a small goal that she had no excuse not to do it each day. // One thing Paul and I noticed is that we would always set intentions to talk together for 30 minutes a day. Or we would plan to have family meetings every Sunday. These things tended not to happen consistently and would quickly dissipate leaving us discouraged and further disconnected.
So when Paul and I asked each other, what is the smallest DOABLE amount of time we can both consistently prioritize and commit to? It sounds crazy (because it’s feels like a small amount!) but 5 minutes it what we agreed on. That seemed to be reasonable and realistic enough for us to consistently show up for. No excuse can deter us with it being such a small amount. And what we’ve found in the past is that 5 minutes often leads to much longer spontaneous conversations.
Why is this one of my July intentions?
Our marriage is the foundation of all things in our family. Being intentional about prioritizing it is incredibly important to both of us. Some days life pulls us in different directions and we lose touch with one another. When we get out of sync, sometimes it leads to one or both of us feeling taken for granted, unsupported, unseen, or dismissed by one another. Making this effort more of an intentional habit is a way to help us stay better connected.
Action plan: Find 5 minutes EVERY single day to connect (since it’s my monthly intention, I’ll be responsible for initiating if Paul doesn’t beat me to it). Begin our check in by sharing marriage gratitude/spouse appreciation. Then share things we may be feeling stressed about or areas we need support from one another. Figure out when we will meet the following day. If we can’t connect in person, we will do it by text!