“…isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
-L.M. Montgomery from Anne of Green Gables
So often when we come upon a new year, we think about what we dislike about ourselves, our habits, and our lives, and create resolutions to address them.
Bettering ourselves is a noble endeavor, but when the source of this effort is some form of self-loathing, I believe we’re doomed to fail. We look at what we want to purge, or abstain from, or remove from our lives, but at its core, this impulse is really a misplaced attempt to create something new. Diets are really about creating health and self-confidence. Curbing spending is about creating contentment within our means. Reducing screen time is about creating meaningful connection in the real world.
Unless we have a vision for the good we want to bring forth in our lives, we’ll have little power to reject the bad. Why pull weeds unless you have a harvest to nurture?
In lieu of resolutions, I’ve adopted a habit of creating an intention for my year. In late December or early January, I set aside time to journal and meditate on what I want to create in the coming months. I look for a word or phrase that will serve to guide me. I believe words have creative power, and not just because I am a writer. When we speak, we speak things into being, and we affirm the correspondence between the intangible and the physical.
This intention also serves to help interpret challenges and dilemmas that arise from the circumstances of life. One year, my word was “Bravery,” which reminded me to speak truthfully in difficult relationships and to take risks for my dreams. Another year it was “A New Thing,” which guided me through big changes for my family, my personal growth, and gave me hope for change in places that felt stuck. At the time, I didn’t know all the echoes into future events that the intention would have, but part of setting the intention is an act of faith. Faith that life isn’t random and that I have a vital role to play in the shaping of it.
Every year, the Kindreds take time to speak out our own words for the year ahead to one another, as well as our goals for ourselves as writers. There is power in bearing witness. We behold each other’s innermost longings and together make them something sacred.
I’ve found that having beautiful reminders of my intention around me is a wonderful help, such as Goldpress Paper‘s lettering work (she does commissions), Katie Daisy‘s gorgeous prints, or spend time creating a piece of your own art to hang somewhere you’ll see it daily.
As you enter your new year, I encourage you to create an intention and to share it with the kindred spirits in your life. May your intentions bear fruit in the coming year in ways beyond your imagining.
J.M. Roddy is a domestic creative, food enthusiast, and children’s author.