Because it’s the intention with which you do things that counts – and not necessarily the things you do.
Johannesburg, South Africa (31 December 2020) – The day before New Years is always a good time for reflection and planning for the new year; thinking about what lies ahead and of course what New Year’s resolutions we should be focusing on. But perhaps in 2021 we should put the resolutions away and focus on intentions instead.
New Year’s resolutions seldom work. Too often, we set “big changes” for ourselves, and we don’t take into account the massive lifestyle changes that come with some resolutions. After a little bit of time, the resolution becomes too much and is left by the wayside. On top that, we are still dealing with a global pandemic that seems to be relentless. How the hell are we supposed to lose weight, stop smoking, run more or do whatever big idea we are trying to add into our already crazy lives while we’re dealing with a global pandemic?
So I have decided that I just won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions this year. Instead, 2021 will be the year of intention for me because, in reality, it’s the intention with which you do things that counts – and not necessarily the things you do.
Choosing an intention is like creating a theme for the new year, and that theme becomes a guiding principle instead of a guilt-trip.
“What makes a theme so special is that you don’t have to stick to it every day,” says Megan Poorman, a biomedical engineer. “You don’t have to check a box; you don’t have to guilt-trip yourself. There is no task to fail at, no rubric to measure yourself by, and no waiting for next year to try again. Having a theme for the year is almost like setting a mantra. It serves as a guiding principle when making decisions and reflecting on events. Setting a theme removes the daily pressure of measuring yourself against something you wish you were and encourages a holistic approach to self-awareness.”
Your theme can be an idea, a word, or a simple goal for your year. By journeying through your year with the theme in mind, it can help you make day-to-day decisions or evaluate choices and short-term goals as they come up. Each one of these choices or short-term goals will help to build up and reinforce your theme as you go forward.
For example, you could set your intention to be “health”. This way, your decisions will revolve around being more healthy – like when going to a restaurant, a health intention would have you choosing a side salad over chips, or taking the stairs instead of the escalator, or even adding in a run every other day. It’s small changes which start to add up and bring your theme to life.
So what’s my intention for 2021?
We have to look back in order to look forward and 2020 has made me realise that the world is filled with lots of sadness. Many people are dealing with stuff that we can’t even comprehend. People are walking around us while fighting the biggest monsters, dealing with things that we will never understand.
I have lost friends to COVID, cancer and suicide – just thinking about the number of people that are no longer here is heartbreaking. I have friends who have been job-searching since March and hundreds of acquaintances and strangers who message me daily asking for money or food. It’s one of the most difficult things to be on the frontline of poverty, knowing that I do not have all the resources to help. Just utterly soul-destroying. Crime in our country is a stark reality that many of us have become numb too, but it’s real, and we are all impacted by its continuous onslaught – every day. And so many of the people I love have left South Africa to create a new life in a country that offers them everything that this place cannot; this is not a bad thing for them, but I am a little sad that they are not “down the road” anymore.
2020 has also been a big year of learning about mental health and wellness for me. It’s been a year where I have had to face my own monsters head-on and believe me when I say I have lost many of those fights. I realised that we need to be talking openly about our innermost problems, and we need to be checking in on those we love. ALL. THE. TIME.
We all have incredibly tough stuff that we’re dealing with – even if we don’t talk about it – and yet somehow we keep getting up every single day, and we just keep going.
I guess that’s why I always try to advocate for more kindness and to love louder and for 2021, that will become my intention: To be kinder than necessary to everyone I meet and to love louder whenever I get the opportunity.
Hope in a New Year!
I keep seeing a meme about “walking into 2021 slowly & not calling it your year.”
Stuff that. I will claim it as MY YEAR. And if you don’t want to claim it, then I will take your portion as well. I will be walking into the new year loud and proud… and hopeful. And I know nothing will physically change at the stroke of midnight, but I also know that I have the power to make something great happen.
The way we see the world depends mainly on how we look at it and I am not afraid of the New Year, in fact, I am choosing to see just see hope in 2021!
Maybe that’s an intention too?
Sometimes it feels like there are so many things in this world we can’t control. Pandemics, earthquakes, floods, reality shows, the list goes on! But it’s important to remember the things that we can. Like forgiveness, second chances, being kind, loving louder and fresh starts, because the one thing that turns the world from a longing place to a beautiful place… is love.
Love and any of its forms. Love gives us hope… hope for the New Year.
That’s what New Year’s Eve is to me. Hope and a great party (even though this year will be a really small party, with just me and my neighbours over the wall and a bottle of champers)!
Remember, what the New Year brings to you, will depend a great deal, on what you bring to the New Year.
Inspiration and Intention
So here’s some inspiration on the last day of the year… if you want 2021 to be a better year than the last, then don’t sit on the couch and wait for it. Let’s make it happen – even while wearing masks and physical distancing.
Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Get excited about your goals. Grind like you still got a point to prove. Network with the right people. Get rid of the ones that are not. Step out of your comfort zones. Be brave when it comes to challenges. Feed your mind. Go out there and make things happen. Complain less. Let sh*t go. Stop negative habits. Keep your circle positive. Smile, laugh and love often. Make kindness a priority. Keep counting your blessings. Talk about the things you love. Try new things out. Travel when you can. Live in your means. Spend more time with your loved ones. Take good care of your body and soul. Make happiness a priority. Love louder.
And if you can’t fathom to be inspired today, then take a deep breath and try again tomorrow. Just please don’t stop trying and always remember that you will have tomorrow.
Love, light and good things to all of you.
Here’s to winning in 2021… a new chapter in our book of life.