One Word 2017: Intentional

Note: It is hard to believe that it is 2017 and hard to believe that it has now been over a year since I blogged consistently. Here’s my first attempt at blogging monthly this year! It was a good reflective practice for me and I want to get back into it. Enjoy!

in·ten·tion·al – adjective;
1. done on purpose; deliberate

In 2015 I started my one word tradition with mindfulness, and it really guided my habits to make me a more mindful person. In 2016, I chose wander and although I never got around to blogging about it, I did enjoy being a little more adventurous and maybe I can recap it in a future blog post.

It was not easy to pick one word to guide my actions and focus in 2017. The past year has been exciting and full of challenges. I was promoted at Elon into a new job that I love and started supervising full-time staff for the first time. I taught a section of Elon’s first year seminar (Elon 101). I accepted a bigger leadership position in the Junior League of Greensboro that takes up a lot of my time (but is also a lot of fun!). I am dealing with an injury and can not run as much as I used to, but I picked up a new workout routine (Kayla Itsines BBG) that brings me a ton of happiness. I have this habit of doing the most; of doing everything. I am filling my days with things that make me happy, things that make me smile, things that make others happy, things that I hope are making a difference, BUT when I sat down to really think about all I have accomplished and all that I do, I wondered: am I doing all of these things with purpose?

“That was the day she made herself the promise to live more from intention and less from habit”

The word intentional on a picture of a dock and a lakeDuring 2017 I will be more intentional about:

making decisions for me
strengthening relationships
making memories (not just for the gram)
becoming a better person
reading one book a month
reflecting on life before it passes me by
blogging once a month (to help with the reflection thing)
not just living through habit

I will:

Eliminate the “fluff”
Do what matters
Be conscious, willful, and purposeful
Spend less time mindlessly scrolling through social media, and spend more time on my health, wellness, and professional goals
Pay attention
Do one thing at a time, less multitasking
Live an intentional life

I am excited! Did you choose one word for 2017? Make new resolutions or set ambitious goals? If so, please share in the comments

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My Journey to Mindfulness: Yoga

The answers that you seek quote

In 2015 I committed to focus on mindfulness. In an effort to improve my awareness of the present moment and strengthen my mind, body, and soul I decided to incorporate yoga into my weekly routine. It was not until I tried yoga that I learned how challenging it is for me to be still and experience the present.

My mind is almost always going 100 miles per hour. I have a hard time taking a break and doing nothing (for better and for worse). Mindfulness is important because it brings the individual back to the people and events surrounding them. Elon offers a wonderful wellness program for employees that includes yoga twice a week, so I was able to ease into beginner yoga classes starting in January.

During yoga practice you are asked to clear your mind of all thoughts and focus on your breathing. Do you know what happened when I started attending these classes? I would get to class, stretch out on my mat, and then start thinking about work, meetings later that day, and my plans after work. I would be thinking about my friends and my love life (or lack thereof) – I found a way to think about everything BUT my breathing. It is very hard to turn off the mind! Over time, and through the words of the teacher, I have learned to let these wandering thoughts come into my mind and then flow out of my mind.

It is a work in progress, but consistently practicing yoga has helped me be better at living in the present moment. When my mind wanders I am most often worrying about something, so I try hard to live in the present moment and soak in everything that is happening around me. There’s other positives too: a few months in I was able to flip my dog! Yoga is giving me strength – in mind, body, and soul.

How is your year going? What have you done to focus on your one word for 2015?

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One Word 2015: Mindfulness

mind·ful·ness, noun
  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

This year I am choosing one word to guide my actions and focus in 2015. If this is something you are interested in doing, check out #oneword2015 on Twitter and join me in Sam Davidson‘s challenge to come up with one focus word for the year. 2014 put me at a crossroads in some ways, and 2015 will be the first year in a very long time (20+ years) that I am not in school for any part of the year. The timing is right to be more mindful.

Mindfulness image

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you”

During this year of mindfulness, I will:

Be non-judging
Practice moment by moment awareness and acceptance
Grow with my faith
Care more; worry less
Be patient
Pay more attention to what is happening here and now, not necessarily what is wrong or right, good or bad
Have a beginner’s mind
Approach everyday things with curiosity and savor them
Trust others
Forgive mistakes – big or small
Be generous
Show gratitude for good moments and grace for bad ones
Practice compassion
Make peace with imperfection
Embrace vulnerability by trusting others (and myself)
Accept and appreciate that things come and go
Let go
Reduce stress
Strengthen my mind, body, & soul
Re-evaluate my priorities
Realize and experience the good in me and what’s around me.
Acknowledge the bad and be wise enough to know whether or not it’s worth worrying about
Spend more time with friends, less time on my phone doing stupid things
Be present when it matters
Say what I mean, mean what I say
Care more & worry less
Do more good
Be intentional with the people I care about
Love well, live well, and realize a life more abundant is not about abundance of things but of life

Have you chosen one word for 2015? If so, please share in the comments and join Sam’s One Word Group. Cheers to 2015!

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PS – Tis blog post I found on Twitter helped guide my thinking about mindfulness and what it would mean for me this year.

App Review: Habit List

After last year’s success, I am firmly committed to the philosophy of setting goals instead of resolutions. A lot of people believe that goals are more successful than resolutions; a quick Google search reveals that I am not revolutionary at all in writing about this or using this philosophy.

My success towards achieving my yearly goals usually depends on my ability to keep track of my progress. Sometimes I cross things off on a piece of paper, but recently I have found certain apps help me keep track of my progress. I use MyFitnessPal for my eating habits, dailymile for tracking mileage, and Evernote for all sorts of random things.

This post is going to be about one of my favorite apps for tracking my daily and weekly goals: Habit List

I love Habit List because of the simple design and ability to send me reminders for certain things. I currently have 3 goals set up on Habit List:

Habit List image

The green items are daily goals and the grey is weekly. I use it to remind me every night to take my asthma and iron medicine (if you’re wondering what that is). It adds up for consecutive days in a row (so in the post above I have gone 10 consecutive days taking medicine!)

My workout goal is set to 4 times a week, so every day I workout I check the goal and after I check it off 4 days in one week it goes away from my screen until the week starts over. I like this feature because it is holding me accountable to working out my minimum of four days a week. The image below is what my Habit List looks like when I have already worked out four times in one week.

Habit List Image

Also, Habit List provides weekly and monthly stats to check your completion rate:

Habit list percentages

Last year when I stopped using Habit List I stopped taking my daily iron supplements. I learned it is important for me to use this to hold myself accountable. Have you ever used Habit List (or a similar app)? I hope you will give it a try! Do you have other suggestions for apps I should try? Let me know!

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