Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I like to choose a quote for the year to set an intention for our family’s life. It’s a tradition I started in 2014. Check out this post about last year’s quote, which also has our past quotes of the last few years.
This year I had a hard time choosing a quote. I had a hard time narrowing down what intention I wanted to focus on. There are so many areas of life where I want to be more intentional about our family’s choices. More thoughtful about how our choices align with our values. How our actions align with our intentions. And that all felt very broad and hard to capture in a short phrase. I loved last year’s quote because I was able to boil it down into a really simple mantra: Show up. Just show up. If you feel called, show up. Simple as that. So for this year I was asking myself the quesion, Ok, once we show up… then what?
So here’s the quote that, after much searching and deliberating, James and I settled on. It’s from the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. James and I have both read some of his books recently and James is currently reading the book from which this quote originates, The World We Have.
“Our own life has to be our message.”
To me, this captures what I am feeling about wanting to match my actions with my intentions. What does our life say about what we value and believe? I feel like this is an important question to ask ourselves right now. In his book, Thich Nhat Hanh makes this statement in the context of sending a message to the future about how we value our planet. For my own family, if we believe it’s important to take care of our planet, what are we actually doing about it? If we see harm happening in our community and in our world, what are we actually doing about it? If we feel called to be helpers and serve others, what are we actually doing about it? If we want to help build up our local community and make a contribution here, what are we actually doing about it?
These are just some examples of things for myself and James and our family. Our goal for this year, as embodied by this quote, is to make changes, even small ones; take actions, even small ones, to make sure that our lives are sending out the message that we want to send. Because the first people that receive our message, for James and me, are our two beautiful boys. And I want to be really mindful about what they learn from our example.
At the end of this year I hope I can say that ours was a message of hope and love and willingness to work for what we believe in.
Does your family set an intention or a resolution for the new year?
Any personal intentions or resolutions that you’d like to share?
I hope 2017 is off to a good start for everyone!