Earlier this year, I set my word for 2018 as INTENTIONAL for a whole host of reasons. After spending the past couple of years just trying to keep my head on straight, I wanted to be more deliberate in how I approached life this year. My focus has been using my time, words and money more intentionally and, like words I’ve selected in past years, it’s been exactly the right word at the right time.
This year, I gave myself the gift of slowing down. I’ve pared down my extracurricular activities and prioritized the things that bring joy and value to my life. Less time running around, more quality time with family, friends and myself. More time exercising, more time sleeping.
I also quit Facebook this spring which I haven’t regretted for one second. Like most of us, I was spending most of my Facebook time scrolling mindlessly which brought very little value to my life so I downloaded all of my data and deactivated my account. In my post-Facebook days, I have realized that I found out about a lot of events/things to do via Facebook and without it, I know a lot less about what’s happening but right now, I’m okay with that. It means I have to work a little harder to find the cool things to do and I have to be more proactive (ahem, *intentional*) in reaching out directly to friends to coordinate activities.
At the outset, I had meant this to mean reaching out to friends and family more regularly and to be more thoughtful about the words I say to myself and others. While certainly unforeseen at the beginning of the year, I found this reminder very helpful during some challenging situations mid-year in which delicate/thoughtful wording and conversations were key. I’ve been working to strike a balance between audience, content and emotion so that I’m communicating the right thing to the right folks at the right time.
My primary objective here is to spend my discretionary money more intentionally. Instead of shopping for brand new clothes, could I instead shop for new-to-me clothes at the thrift store, Poshmark or Ebay? And while I’ve bought some brand new things, I’m proud that my of my clothes this year have been upcycled from someone/somewhere else. It also meant really asking myself, do I need that (THING) or do I just want it? Most of the time, I just want it and taking the time to really consider it has helped me see this.
Throughout the year, this goal has grown in scope to include also bringing in money more intentionally. Alex and I have a monthly ‘inventory check in’ (borrowed from THIS podcast episode) and during this, we talk about our short and long term financial goals. Most of our friends know that Alex has an impressive side hustle that inspired me to see what small things I can do to bring in some extra cash to help accelerate progress towards our goals. Through watching dogs on Rover.com and selling clothes/shoes on eBay and Poshmark, I’m bringing in minimum of $150+ extra a month for minimal effort. Not bad!
The other area of intentional focus for me this year has been reducing my environmental impact where possible. I’ve invested in reusable utensils and a metal straw that I keep in my purse to avoid plastic flatware and single-use straws as much as possible. I’ve replaced tin foil on our baking sheets with silicone baking mats, paper coffee filters with a cloth filter, disposable cotton face wipes for reusable cloth face wipes and I try to refill through bulk bin purchases where possible (thank you, Zero Market!). These tiny changes we’ve made have reduced the waste in our house as well as money we spend on single-use items. We’re so far from perfect but I believe these small efforts do make a big impact, holistically (especially if we all made similarly small changes!)
I’ve appreciated the perspective and mindset this word has given me this year and am looking forward to closing out the year with continued deliberate action.