Happy Monday Y’all! Having a week “off” to decompress and get my thoughts in order was much needed. My creativity kicked back up thanks to a few fun new projects, though I won’t be sharing them any time soon (still in the early stages). So, six months ago I started with my 2018 “happiness project”, which was inspired by Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast. The first six topics included vitality, marriage, attitude, financial freedom and nutrition. Those have all been really broad, yet influential, topics that have many, many layers to them. For June, I wanted to try and put those practices into play more and thus became the topic of intention.
You hear this often with elderly or sick people, who have a newfound outlook on life. More often than not, we find ourselves distracted and disconnected – on our phones, watching tv, in a tired fog, irritable and grumpy…with the everyday pressures of work, money, kids, marriage, health, etc. it’s no wonder that we forget to lead life with intention. While this is for sure a life-long challenge – to “be present” – I wanted to give it a go in June to at least have a better understanding of what my goals and challenges are. So I am breaking this down into three parts:
Part 1: Words
I’m pretty sure we all heard it in kindergarten…actions speak louder than words. But I often disagree. Words can have a severe impact (positively or negatively) and they’re hard to forget. As a repeat offender of “foot in mouth” syndrome, this one is tough for me. I swear, my mouth moves faster than my brain and I am really bad at thinking before I speak. For better or for worse, I have been this way my whole life. Being intentional with words are tough – while I think it is important to try to always be kind, it’s equally important to be honest. This is where speaking with intention comes into play. Whether it is in your marriage, in your family, to your friends, or in your workspace – trying our best to be better communicators just makes everyone’s life easier. Studies show that emotions can be “heard” in our voice…but can intention?
Be intentional with words. Saying what you mean, in a constructive, effective way, leads to stronger relationships, healthier conversations and overall greater happiness for all parties. This is obviously easier said than done, but it’s one we can all work on.
The Verdict: Perhaps the hardest for me, thinking before you speak is key. This comes with time, maturity and great practice. After all, the best way we can communicate is to listen.
Part 2: Time
I love that in Oprah’s podcast introduction, she says “I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time. Taking time to be more fully present.” Through each stage of life, we find ourselves limited with time. In our childhood, we are (hopefully) too busy have fun and growing up and not really understanding the concept of time. In high school / college years, we are busy with activities, building relationships and trying to do it all (FOMO, it’s a real thing y’all). In our 20’s & 30’s, our time is spent focused on career / family / marriage / kids / travel, etc. I can only imagine how much busier it will get as the years go on. Basically, we are trying to do so much that we miss out on enjoying the moment.
It’s hard to try to minimize the unnecessary. To weed out the unimportant and to really put intention behind how we spend our time. Who we spend it with. What we spend it doing. It’s difficult, but I think it’s absolutely imperative to our happiness. I know that for me, I spend a lot of time doing things I feel like I should be doing, but not that I want to be doing.
This past month, I really worked on how I chose to spend my time. I chose to go visit some dear friends. I chose to reconnect with some long lost (but equally dear) friends. I chose to dedicate a weekend to spend time with my family. I chose to forego a couple of events that didn’t bring much value to my life. And you know what? I feel better – and I am happier – for choosing to do these things that make me happy.
The Verdict: Learning how to say “yes” and “no” to what you truly want to spend your time doing is key. A lifelong challenge for sure, but incredibly rewarding.
Living with intention is one of the most powerful – and empowering – ways we can live our lives. Over the past month, I made small attempts here and there to live my life with greater intention. To spend my time, my words and my actions doing what I love and with those I love. I’m a firm believer in doing stuff right – “go big or go home”, as they say. Don’t do something half ass just to do it. As my grandma always says about cooking (and why hers is so delicious)…do it with love or not at all.
Happiness Habits Implemented
From January: Power Hour for life! Read about it here.
From February: Doing great at not worrying about little stuff. Focusing more now on giving “proof of love” and understanding what that means to my husband.
From March: Working on saying “yes” but balancing it with intention. A work in progress.
From April: Budgeting like a boss. We are currently saving up for a few big trips, so prioritizing everyday spending is key right now.
From May: I fell off the wagon a bit over the 4th of July holiday, but focusing on eating my veggies, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep is the name of the game around here.
Have you started your Happiness Project?!