It is currently January 14th, two weeks into the new year, and I have not written down a single goal. That is highly unlike me. I love setting my intention for the year. I love lists of things to accomplish and milestones to help get me over the finish line. I usually buy the new apps, the new workout clothes, the gym membership, the pretty planner, a million books to read because I’m going to read one a week in perpetuity for the entire year and beyond.
I start the new diet that is going to change my life and help me reach my “goal” weight. I spend too much money on lotions and potions and elixirs that promise to make me look like a supermodel. I start planning my next world-class adventure. I purge and clean and organize and color code and label and Marie Kondo my entire life.
If I’m feeling especially “woo woo,” I’ll buy a canvas and Modge Podge clippings and pictures and quotes onto it to make a vision board for the year. January brings out all of my Enneagram three wing, and it dominates until at least mid-February.
But this year feels different. This year I feel an invitation to commit to creating rituals that serve me. My focus has shifted from broad, external shows of accomplishment to a more internal focus on creating space for the motions, things, and people that I love. I want to create rhythms that bring life, not check boxes of accomplishment.
The go-getter huntress has shifted this year. What she is hunting and searching for has also shifted.
External praise and accolades are nice. Loving your life because you decided to show up and be present for it is even nicer. Perhaps she is less hunter and more gatherer. Gatherer of space, of time, of people, of place, of memory, of dream, of hope, of desire.
So this year, as I set my intention for the year, it has less to do about numbers on a scale or a label and more to do with actually living in my body and being present for my life.
My intentions this year taste and smell like warm lemon ginger honey water sipped slowly from my favorite mug while sitting on my soft blue-gray sofa, wrapped in the coziest of blankets in the quietness before the world wakes.
They sound like saying a kind, firm “no, but thank you” to the things that crowd my space and my days that I don’t absolutely love or need.
They feel like the soft grass under my bare feet as I reach up towards the warm afternoon sun and then fold down towards the cool earth and feel the soil under my hands.
They look like a few small promises made and kept on a daily basis.
When I first started holding space for this new form of goal setting, I wasn’t sure it was enough. “These aren’t real goals,” I told myself. These aren’t worthy of my time, attention, and intention. And then, as I gently quieted my inner critic, I realized that I will fight for these goals just as hard as I fought for the others…probably harder.
It is a fight for myself. In holding these promises that look silly to the external world, I am holding space both to become and to be. I am forming a warm, safe space—a cocoon of sorts—and for once, I am just as excited for the process as I am for the other side.
Lyndsey Amen Ribble lives in San Antonio with her husband and three sons (aged 5,4, and 1). She loves reading, writing, traveling, food (cooking it, eating it, taking pictures of it…), wine, hole in the wall anything, and forming community in unexpected places. She has a heart for bringing restoration to broken people and loving the unloved. She writes about all of these things and attempting to find balance at inlamensterms.com.