Posts Tagged: 'journaling'

Intentions Versus Goals for 2016

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. The beginning of anything new – new job, new romance, new year, new you – is less about goals and more about intentions. This is a lesson I learned recently following a rich, two-day retreat lead by three wise women: Daphne Eck, Melissa Kopplin, and Abra Poindexter.


As I continue to bask in the far-reaching and honeyed glow of this experience, I consider its impact not only on my marriage and my personal life, but also my professional and community life. Finding satisfaction in these varied areas requires me to be intentional on a singular focus, with the understanding that an intention lasts much longer than a goal.


Once you reach a goal, your work is done. You obviously have the opportunity to create a new goal, but it isn’t always required. And it is far too easy to allow that goal to fade away and be replaced by bland distractions.


When you enter into uncharted waters with an intention, however, the experience is vastly different. The intention is purposely more vague to allow for greater impact. Here’s an example.


One of my intentions for 2016 is to be more present and mindful wherever I may be – to avoid distractions and fully immerse myself in my surroundings. To accomplish this requires a lot of effort: tucking away my iPhone, allowing myself time between meetings and appointments (and between home and work) to reset my mindset and truly prepare for what I have to do next. Self-care and continual reflection are a big part, too.


These steps, I am certain, will spill over into other areas of my life, producing positive and long-lasting results.


If, however, I only created my intention as a goal, it might sound something like this: “One of my goals this year is to not be so busy.” The inherit challenge with such language: it is far too limiting. It leaves me no direction, no roadmap on where I should be or what I should be doing.


As we, the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council, look to 2016, my hope is that by December we found a similar purpose. Not that we met our goals, but that we established our intentions and kept them close year-round.


Goals are a great place to start, but true change comes from intentions. Being open to where you are now and where you will be next will only open new, exciting doors of opportunity. Get ready.


Editor’s note: Previously written for the Greater Omaha Young Professionals in January 2016.



Attempting Daily Gratitude

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Saying “thank you.” Being thankful. Welcoming gratitude at whatever the day may bring.


This movement toward gratitude surfaced on Facebook the first of November. Suddenly hundreds of people were beginning their days with status updates focused on gratitude.


“Today I’m thankful for …”


To say I was tempted to join the conversation would be a true statement. Gratitude — in the best of times and the worst of times — is good for the soul. It centers you. It calms you. It reveals what matters most.



Rather than logging on to Facebook each morning, I reached instead for my favorite pen and a new pink journal. The journal was a gift from the Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska, thanking me for speaking at their YWE Lead Conference earlier this month. What better place to privately record thoughts of gratitude than within the pages of a thank-you gift?


The timing was just too perfect.


My first journal entry is dated November 2. I sat in front of my journal, a latte nearby, and just began writing. Journaling is something I’ve never quite felt comfortable doing. As a writer and journalist, my essays and articles have always been crafted for public consumption. Writing something for my eyes only rarely felt natural.



Yet I owned this new journal. Everyone around me (on Facebook) dug deep to identify gratitude. And I felt that I arrived at a place in my life where a greater focus on deeper, more meaningful issues were needed. So, I began to journal on the first blank page.


My most productive and creative hours occur before 9 a.m., which is why I strive to journal before work during the week, and before starting my day of errands and such on the weekends. Before picking up my pen and turning to a clean page, I’m certain to have a one-word answer to the question, What am I thankful today?


And then, I just write. Free writing. Unlike magazine articles and blog posts, I’ve given myself permission to write without an outline, to develop ideas as I go. From a writing perspective, I find it to be a foreign concept.


As I write about gratitude every day or two, I have unwittingly made discoveries about my own life, my behavior, my relationships with others. Such inward reflection wasn’t something I expected, but it has proven to be a welcomed byproduct. The little lessons I have learned just by putting pen to paper have made me grateful for simply that.