Setting an intention for the new year

I think best when I do not feel cluttered.

(Not that I have a super clean house or anything! When children share the chores, I believe it’s best to set expectations a little lower. We make sure the house is tidy and sanitized, and that’s good enough for us.)

I simply notice that when there are fewer books on the shelf, clothes in the closet, or mustard types in the refrigerator, it’s easier for me to make choices about what I’ll read, wear, or eat.

In this is a time of year when we can look around, take stock, and decide to make some changes.

It’s also a time when we can feel overwhelmed, very easily.
By our own expectations or someone else’s judgment of something we care about.

Only recently have I realized: I’ve been judging myself on several different kinds of clutter.

  • Recipes and cookbooks, which are well organized but over the years I’ve collected probably hundreds that I’ll never make
  • E-books, flyers, and notes from six years of entrepreneurship, representing a variety of ideas that felt important when they came into my life, but feel outdated now
  • Reports, notebooks, and papers from more than 13 years of homeschooling

There is a special kind of pressure at this time of year.Another way that I do well is by not making New Year’s resolutions.

So I’m not making a resolution to “clean out all the clutter by January 31” or anything similar.

Instead, I’ve begun to think in terms of setting intentions.

It’s a way of clearing out the mental clutter and getting to the heart of what truly matters.

In December I learned that I’ve got a liver condition, something that can lead to sustained liver damage.

In fact my gastroenterologist tells me that, with the way so many Americans eat it’s already a common condition, and doctors are seeing it become more and more common.

At first I really lost it. I railed against the idea that there was anything wrong at all, or that changing my eating behavior is possible. (That’s what it would take. According to my gastroenterologist I need to “lose weight sustainably and slowly, 1 to 2 pounds per week,” to fix this.)

But over these weeks and months I have come to the understanding that, not only is this what I MUST do, it’s something I am capable of. As Julie Lythcott-Haims says, “I do hard things, which means that I know I CAN do hard things.”

However, I must not become overwhelmed. I mustn’t let my brain get cluttered with all kinds of different ideas and ways to lose weight.

I must set an intention and acknowledge the difficulties.
And then I must take one step forward. One small step. And then another. Then the next one. I just need to keep going, slowly but surely.

So that’s what I’m doing.

My intention: to lose weight sustainably and – perhaps – have a healthy liver by summertime. And then, of course, to keep that liver healthy over the long term.

To just keep taking small steps forward.
To enjoy the journey of replacing empty calories with nutrient-rich, fiber filled food.

I can already feel it happening, the gentleness and positivity of the intention giving me fuel.

Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year?
If so, how are you doing with them?

If not well, maybe consider changing resolutions for a single intention.
(And of course consider being gentle with yourself in the implementation. That’s what works for me, I bet it will work for you too.)

I’d love to hear about your journey with this, and your goals or intention for 2021.
Wishing you well –


PS FYI I am suspending subscriptions to the We Turned Out Okay Playbook for the early part of 2021.

If you’re already a subscriber, you’ll get the Playbook each month as planned, rest assured!

I’m making it the best playbook it can possibly be, and I’m concentrating on doing that right now.

I’ll let you know when I open to new subscribers again, hopefully in the spring.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

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