My Ten Intentions For 2016

To the surprise of no one, I enjoy reflecting at the turn of the year! And while it’s nice to think of the fantastic moments and the warm fuzzies, I also value thinking about lessons learned from the crappy experiences. On Thursday, Asha and I will share our 20th (20th!) Edit Your Life podcast episode on Reframing New Year’s Resolutions, and in advance of that episode, I want to share ten intentions that I’m setting for 2016. I’d love to hear what you are thinking about for 2016, too -- please feel free to share in the comments below!

1. Work on expressing my anger. This one may sound a little weird but it's very real for me. My dad was rage-prone so I grew up scared of anger. Subsequently, when I get angry I tend to clamp down on it, and if the emotion does leak out, it can be over minor and sometimes ridiculous things. What concerns me most is how inconsistent and confusing this can be for my loved ones, which, hello, is EXACTLY WHAT I GREW UP WITH. I want to work on using my words when I’m angry (hmm...doesn’t that sound familiar?!), both for my own health and so my girls can learn how to express anger and frustration in healthy ways.

2. Focus on the present instead of what’s next. I’m a task-oriented person and I’m usually looking forward. And while looking ahead is a good thing, I admit that sometimes I do this to the detriment of focusing on what’s right in front of me. I want to live in and enjoy the small moments with Jon and the girls...Jon has been so helpful with gentle reminders in this department.

3. Make choices to rush less (even if it means being less efficient). Just yesterday morning I was doing my classic morning mental time Tetris exercise. Violet was running late (classic post-vacation school morning resistance!), it was freezing out, and I was trying to figure out if: a) it was too frigid to walk Vi in the stroller; and b) I could squeeze in our walk to school/my post-drop off run before going to the dentist. I was literally standing there in a brain swirl knowing that I didn’t want to start the work week in a rush but totally trying to talk myself into it! I’m almost a little embarrassed to admit this but finally I said, “Jon, tell me what to do!” He pulled me out of my brain swirl and recommended I drop off Violet by car and adjust the rest of my morning routine so I didn’t need to rush. It was not the more efficient route (in terms of getting in my run before going to the dentist) but it was so much better -- like, 8,000 times better! -- not to start my day worrying about my arrival time to Vi’s school, to home, and then to the dentist.

4. Crack the 10-minute/mile during a race. I’ve always been a big proponent of owning your pace and slow running, but I’ve experienced a shift in my body over the last few months where running finally feels more natural and comfortable, and perhaps not surprisingly, my pace has been changing too. I used to be a solid 11-minute mile girl (and was good with that!) but with the recent pace change, I’ve been feeling the desire to hit a new milestone and would like to crack the 10-minute/mile pace during a race (which I’ve never done before). The last two years I’ve run the Super Sunday 5-miler I clocked a pace of 10:43 in 2013 and 10:25 in 2014. This is the first race I have on the books for 2016 so I’m setting my sight on this intention for February!

5. Insert a midday break into my schedule. Due to my nature, the paces of my different work streams, and my firm decision several years ago to stop working at night, my tendency is to push hard from the beginning to the end of the work day. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that I’m fried and have a tough time transitioning into evening family time. I want to take a play from Jon’s playbook and insert a midday break into my day -- even if it’s just 10 minutes to read a book, take a walk around the block, or foam roll out some kinks.

6. Make more art. Since my design work has moved mostly to digital, I’m doing less creative work with my hands (beyond mouse clicking). I miss it a lot! During the fall I started to experiment with these amazing watercolor pens and it was SO FUN. I want to make more art, and since Laurel and Violet both love doing creative projects it’s the perfect activity for us all to enjoy together.

7. Launch my video series. In general, I’m the kind of person who has an idea and hits the ground running (even if the idea isn’t 100% baked). But one thing that I’ve been totally stalling out on is launching a video series idea I’ve had for well over a year! I’m putting this intention out there right now to hold myself accountable. (If you want to subscribe to my YouTube channel, this is where the videos will be going down!)

8. Continue to improve the livability of our nest. Over the past couple of years, Jon and I have made a wonderful commitment to improving the livability of our nest together. We have a couple of dead zones in the house that we’ve been thinking about flipping into spaces where fun and creativity can happen. I want to dedicate some thought and love to that this year.

9. Extend my hand. I want to continue to find small moments for generosity and connection, whether that’s helping a friend with a project, inviting someone to dinner, donating time or money to a charity, or sending someone a letter to let them know they are in my thoughts.

10. Use 2015 as a guide for improvement. I have been plain here and elsewhere that there have been years during my 9-year freelance rollercoaster where I have fallen down big time when it comes to prioritizing work and travel over my family. And it was so gratifying to reflect on 2015 and realize that it was possibly the best and most balanced year in terms of finally getting to a place where I was able to love well both my family and my work. There’s still some tweaking to do, of course, so I want to use 2015 as a guide for 2016.

Image credit: Christine Koh