Living Intentional For 2017 And Beyond
Be careful how you walk—not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of your time (recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence), because the days are filled with evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV and AMP)
Intentional. Definition: Done on purpose; deliberate, intended, planned, willful, purposeful.
I have decided to make Intentional my word for this year.
A new year. A new beginning. Whether it's a Monday, the start of a new month or a new year, it doesn't matter. They all feel like a new start to me. It’s a good thing too because I feel like I need a fresh start often. And who doesn’t love a fresh start?
New Year’s resolutions are not my thing, but I like the idea of making goals and plans. I like to think I’m intentional about growing, changing and creating new habits when I see need for improvement.
It’s a nice thought, but my goodness is it ever easy to just do the same old thing again and again. To default to the same old way of doing things because let’s face it, change is hard.
Living by default.
Are you guilty of this? I know I sure am!
Whether it’s relationships, finances, health/fitness, schooling the kids or keeping the home, it’s easy to default to what’s easiest and not be deliberate. Even if change would be for the best.
When we don’t live with intention, we don’t plan or set goals, we have nothing to aim for. If we aim for nothing, we’ll hit it every time. I know even with well laid out plans and goals, we won’t hit the mark every time, but at least it’s direction.
You know what? I don’t want to live by default! I want to aim, reach, grow and plan. I know God has big plans for each of our lives. Those plans aren’t necessarily what the world sees as “big” or “important”, but it’s more than just going through the motions of life. We are meant to be deliberate with what’s been given to us.
Over the last couple months, I have come across some quotes and scriptures that are a great reminder.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
You don’t decide your future, you decide your habits and your habits decide your future. What habits have you chosen? Rabbi Ralph Messer
The busier you are, the more intentional you must be. Michael Hyatt
Self discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t necessarily want to do to get a result you would really like to have. Andy Andrew
Wow! We are meant to live intentionally, to be careful how we live and to make the most of every opportunity. Every moment. Every relationship.
That doesn’t sound like just going through the motions does it?
I know this isn’t new news, but I know I need the reminder occasionally.
I am being challenged to be more intentional than ever this year. In all areas of my life, BUT if I don’t set goals or change my habits then nothing will change.
Years ago, I was talking about raising godly kids with someone and they said “we really don’t have to worry about it, we turned out ok”. Yikes!! Really? I was flabbergasted...have you read “Lord of the flies”? Left to our own devices, apart from the Lord our sinful nature takes over and it’s not pretty.
I know for a fact that our parents had put a lot of time and prayer into raising us. If we turned out “ok” it wasn’t without intention on our parent’s part.
That comment hit me hard and got me thinking. Is that our attitude towards the rest of our lives?
“Meh, we don’t have to plan or budget, it’ll all work out for us.” How’s that working for you?
“We don’t need to be intentional with our food choices, it doesn’t affect out health. Really?
“We don’t need to be careful about what we take in through our eyes and ears, it has no effect on us.” I’m always reminded of the song I learned in Sunday school, “oh be careful little eyes what you see...”
Ok don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about perfection, it’s not possible. What is possible, what I am talking about, is being intentional with our lives and our time. They are a gift and we only have one shot at it.
Our marriages. Raising children. Relationships. How we spend our finances. How we spend our time. Healthy habits. These are all so important and they require effort and intention to be done well.
We must be intentional in the way we live our lives. If we want to see change and growth. Maybe you don’t and you’re fine with the way things are, that’s OK too.
It can seem overwhelming to create new habits, but it can be done. Look at the people who have climbed out of debt? Those who have lost weight. Successful businesses. These are not overnight “chance” achievements. Someone decided that their habits needed to change and they became intentional with their goals to accomplish what they desired.
I ask you, what areas of your life need improvement? Is it your relationships? Finances? Your parenting or the keeping of your home?
This year the areas I want to get intentional with are:
This year I want to get debt paid off and start saving. There are some big tickets items needing to be replaced soon and we want to be prepared ahead of time so it doesn’t catch us off guard. Like our fridge dying a couple years ago in the middle of summer. Yikes!
I want to be more intentional with the relationships with my children. I am very much a doer, so I often forget to stop and just sit with them. As a homeschool mom I spend time with them all day, every day, but I need to work on more focused individual non-school time with each of them.
I want to add individual dates with them this year. With 4 kids, it can be hard to have one on one time, so I want to make that a priority for 2017.
My hubby and I have already established a weekly date night for us and it has been wonderful.
This one I don’t really like to talk about so publicly, but if it encourages you, then it’s worth sharing.
Over the last 4 months I’ve really let it slide. Let’s just say it’s been a steep slide.
Since starting Plum Cheeky Solutions I have been spending way more hours sitting at the computer. This combined with minimum exercise has not been good for me. I don’t feel good and my clothes are getting a wee bit snug. It’s time to get intentional!!
Spiritually...and most importantly
I want to be intentional with my time. Just like the principle of the tithe (bringing the first 10%), I want to make sure I am giving the first of my day to the Lord. I notice a huge difference in my days and weeks when I spend time in prayer, thanksgiving and studying the Word before hitting the ground running for the day.
I know as a mom it sounds overwhelming to add one more thing to the never ending to-do list, but don’t overcomplicate it. Even if it’s just 10 minutes at the beginning of the day. Do it before you climb out of bed. It’s being intentional with how you start your day.
How are we spending our time and is it beneficial? What are we listening to, watching or reading? Is it glorifying to the Lord and does it help us move in the direction of our goals?
Many years ago my hubby and I decided to be more intentional with the music we listen to. It wasn’t bad music, but we made the decision to only listen to music that glorifies the Lord. Yes, I know it’s easy to put on anything music you enjoy, but what is the message in the song, or the attitude that’s coming across? We got intentional and threw away a lot of music.
We have done the same with what we watch. We are careful with what we watch, but we still need to be intentional with how much time we spend watching. We don’t have a T.V. (we watch on our computer) so that makes it easier, but there’s still room for improvement.
I want to live my best life and I want my family to live their best life, but I know the choices and decisions we make day to day influences that.
Deuteronomy 30:19 says
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live.
Are the decisions and choices we’re making full of life?
Ok, so talking about being intentional, creating new habits and setting goals is great, but how do we do that practically?
Here is your action plan:
What areas of your life do you want to change?
Set Your Goal(s): What changes do you want to see? Set those as your goals.
Create a game plan, what are the actions you need to implement to see the desired result?
I have included some beautiful printables to help you plan your goals and create an action plan. Get the printable "here"
I am so excited for 2017! Are you ready to make 2017 your best year yet?