A few years ago, I came to the end of the year and did what so many do – I looked back at the year about to end and thought about what I wanted the next year to look like. This wasn’t about setting New Year’s Resolutions. I know myself well enough to know that my brain and my life don’t function well that way. But I did desire a focus point.
You may ask, “If you don’t set resolutions for yourself, why look ahead to the next year?”
Remember that “focus point” I mentioned? I was intrigued by the idea of a “word for the year”. It was an annual habit for a handful of my friends and I thought I’d give it a go.
I still remember my very first “focus word” – alignment. It was a year-long reminder to myself to only say yes to those activities which most closely aligned with my God-given passion and design. I even got a bracelet with that word stamped on a disc as a gift to myself! (Check out “My Intent” here.)
In the years since, it has become an annual habit to find a word or phrase or passage of scripture that is my focus for the year. It usually connects to a habit I want to change, a new hobby I want to try, a character trait I’d like to strengthen or develop . . . you get the idea! That phrase/word/verse sort of becomes my “North Star” for the year. I don’t really choose them. I pray for awareness and sensitivity to what the Holy Spirit wants me to focus on and go from there. The system hasn’t failed me yet.
My 2019 word has finally become clear. I have to admit – I had to look it up to make sure it was really a word! The word is “intentionality”.
Intentionality (noun) – the fact of being deliberate or purposive; the quality of mental states (thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.
The process of arriving at this word actually started with, of all things, technology. A system update on my phone and iPad meant that I started getting daily reports on how much time I was spending on my devices. These notifications don’t only give me the overall time I spent on the device. I get a specific breakdown of the amount of time spent on individual apps.
With that daily statistic, I had no excuse for the things I wanted to do but hadn’t done. There was no asking “where did the time go?” when my devices were laying the answer in front of me EVERY DAY.
I wasn’t completing desired or needful tasks because I wasn’t being intentional about where or how my time was being spent. True, some of the time on technology was productive. But far too much time had been wasted with distractions. Don’t get me wrong – I know that everyone needs downtime and a little bit of fun is healthy. But I was out of balance.
My discretionary time was not being intentionally allocated.
I lack intentionality.
As I find ways to keep this word in the forefront of my thoughts, it is my prayer that my daily choices will be different; that my discretionary time will be more productive and exhibit a healthy balance between work and play.
What about you? Are you a resolution setter? How do you embrace the possibilities of the new year?