February is almost over. We’re a sixth of the way to 2016. Wow. This has gone so fast for me. The years seem to go faster as we get older. Maybe it’s because each one is a smaller proportion of our collected experience, or because we have fewer novel experiences as we age. Or something else entirely. Either way, it’s weird and kind of disconcerting. But I also seem to get happier each year, so it’s all good?
Whether or not this is an observable change in perception, or if it’s widespread, this year is certainly ticking by. We’re far enough in that most of the intentions we made for New Years (if we made any) have probably fallen by the wayside, or at least are no longer priorities. By the way, New Year’s resolutions? Totally out. Intentions are in. They’re a gentler and potentially more effective way to ring in change and personal growth.
The most common New Year’s goal (whatever you want to call it) is probably getting in shape. Going to the gym and eating right. Every year there’s a huge influx of gym-goers in January, but luckily for the people who actually go to the gym regularly, the wave subsides almost entirely by February.
It turns out that a big endeavor like exercising is really tough to add on to an already-full life. Better to change a practice you already have, like eating. Swap out unhealthy eating for healthy eating. It doesn’t take any more time, just shifting focus on something you’re already doing. Then you can slowly add in exercise through a committed but simple routine (with low barriers to entry). Anyhoo, this post is not about exercise.
My intention for 2015 was to work on my communication. Is to work on communication. This includes both outward-facing communication, like talking with loved ones, friends, and strangers, as well as inward-facing communication. This means clarifying my personal feelings and needs, and exploring the stories I tell myself, including those which have resulted in self-repression or shame. So, a pretty lofty goal.
So far I can’t say I’ve done a huge amount of work on this. The biggest thing I’ve done is solidify my writing practice, which inevitably corresponds to a certain amount or kind of communication. I haven’t been disciplined about other aspects of the intention, though. The goal is usually in the back of my mind, which helps me work on it little by little. But that’s nothing compared to what I could do if I dedicated substantial time to practice talking and sharing.
And while we’re already a sixth of the way through the year, at the same time we’re only a sixth of the way through the year. There is a lot of time left to work on our intentions and make some serious progress on our lives. Whether it’s getting in shape, working on communication, learning a new skill, or whatever else you might have dreamed up in a confused haze late on December 31st, there is plenty of time to work. Not time to wait, mind you, but time to make dedicated, consistent progress.
So what are you working on? Even if you didn’t set an intention at the beginning of the year, what makes sense to work on now? The best investment we can make is an investment in ourselves, in our personal growth and development. I’m always looking for new ways to grow, and I’d love to hear what has worked for you!