3 Best Ways to Live With Intention

A new year is often time for reflection. We take a look back and think about what we want to be different in the year ahead. We create new plans, new goals and begin with hope for a new future. We know things don’t always go as planned, our goals aren’t always achieved and sometimes our hopes are dashed. Yet we celebrate a new year with anticipation that this year can be different, can be better. One of the ways to make this happen is to live with intention. As Kristin Armstrong, three-time Olympic gold medalist reminds us: We either live with intention or exist by default. Make 2021 your year to live on purpose.

Here are three ways you can build intention into every day: practice gratitude, mindfulness, and focus. I will cover each of these in the next three posts, this post I’m going to focus on gratitude.

Even when things are at there worst look for things to be thankful for. One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. Begin your day by acknowledging what’s going right in your life and the people you appreciate. Recite out loud affirmations such as:

I am so thankful that the universe is working for my greater good.

I am grateful for another chance to live my life.

I’m grateful for the air I breathe and the blood flowing through my body.

I appreciate the help and support of the people who have helped me along with way.

Take a few minutes right now to create and write down a few gratitude affirmations that appeal to you. Next put them in a place you where you will see them shortly after you wake up in the morning so you can repeat them as you begin your day.

I’d love to know one or two of the affirmations that you create, post them here and begin 2021 by being intentionally grateful.

What is your response to a red light?

What is your response to a red light? Is it something like – just my luck, I am always stuck in traffic, if that person ahead of me would have been a little faster…? Or is it something like this – great I can take a moment and relax, look at the sunshine, or the rain drops on my windshield, I can take a breath and give thanks for all the good things in my life.

If your response is like the first one, adopt the attitude of the second, for our response is a choice and the more times we choose to be frustrated and angry the more we are frustrated and angry. If we choose peace, calm and gratitude our lives become filled with moments of serenity.

Years ago I clipped the following out of a magazine:

If I Had My Life Over by Nadine Stair

If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously.

I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.

Let me know how you respond to traffic lights? Post here.

Lake Story

Lake StoryHave you ever watched a storm come across a lake? A couple of years ago my husband and I were traveling through northern Indiana on our way home to Michigan.  We stopped for dinner at a small lakeside restaurant with large windows overlooking the lake.  While looking over the menu and waiting for our drinks to be delivered we looked out over the water.  My husband realized he left his glasses in the car.  As he stood up to go to the car and retrieve them, I stopped him and said look outside, it’s pouring rain.  We had not been in the restaurant for five minutes, it started to rain that fast.  We watched a speed boat making for cover, the passengers holding beach towels above their heads to fend off the downpour.  The waves rising higher and higher with each gust of wind, slowing down their travel.  And almost as soon as it started the rain stopped and the sun came out.  The boat and its passengers made it safely to the dock and my husband went to the car and came back with his glasses.  All was well as we enjoyed our dinner and watched a magnificent sunset over the lake.

As I’ve been reflecting on the challenges we face today with the pandemic, I was thinking about our dinner that evening.  It seems like we had little warning.  One day it was business as usual and the next we are staying at home to stay safe. But just like any storm, after we run for cover (like the boat and its passengers) or stay put (like my husband did), the rain ends, and the sun comes out. I am certain this will be the case with this crisis.  It is what we do during the storm that makes the difference in our life when the sky clears.

One thing we all have control over is our thoughts we think and where we focus our attention.  Make it a point to fill your mind with messages of hope.  Avoid negative messages and people. Do a good deed. Call someone and offer encouragement. Send a note or a card to a friend or relative telling them how important they are to you. What is one positive action you have taken to weather this storm? Share it here in the comments.