Slowness seeped from the wellness world into my many daily rituals. Unfortunately, I’m not a very slow person. A Sunday morning with some coffee serves as just the right amount for my week, and I think that’s fair. I found that as soon as I finished with my “slow time” I raced through the rest of the day. I wondered whether I was doing it wrong. So, I changed the action to intentional.

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Sunday used to be spent with a cup of coffee and course reading. Now, it’s an online newspaper.

My 2020 resolution is to be more mindful. I am working on making intentional choices when it comes to all forms of consumption. That means I’m scrolling through Instagram less, maybe that’s because I’ve made myself busy with more items on the todo list. I listen to podcasts, but only the ones I like. Most importantly, I say no. I say no to email subscription lists, nights out when I’m exhausted, books that have been on my “you should read” list since high school, and the aspirational morning routines that populate my screen every morning.

When I began crafting my intentional resolution, I aimed for moving more slowly. That meant reading for more than 20 minutes at night and getting up early enough to have a cup of coffee, meditate, and go through a 14 step morning ritual before cramming in the news, gym, work, job applications, LinkedIn Learning, and all the other busy items that make me better. Then, it hit me. I was trying to mix slow with a fast-paced personality. More importantly, I’ve allowed myself to be bombarded by a world of professional self-help, social media, and all the other consumerist habits I’ve built with my computer. Intentionality helped with that.

I sat with a journal (and yes a cup of coffee), and thought about my values and priorities. What did my life lack and what should I make room for?

I began with my tangible belongings. My room in my parents’ house became a storage locker when I moved to college and has stayed that way since. It makes me feel guilty and adds stress to my life. So, I should be more intentional with the stuff I populate my life with. The Minimalists posted a 30 day game that helps declutter and get rid of unnecessary objects. “Each person gets rid of one thing on the first day of the month. Two things on the second. Three things on the third. So forth and so on.” (The Minimalists) I now have donations to make that will hopefully offer others the joy I got from those items.

I then thought about media. In London I allowed myself more time on Instagram because I posted photos and tagged locations. Unfortunately, that led to a fairly harsh social media addiction that I needed to kick. So, I deleted the app from my phone and vowed to be more intentional with my media consumption, including news and newsletters.

The Good Trade published a piece about intentional living and how to get in touch with your own values. I’ve began thinking about my values by taking note of what I complain about on a daily basis. My complaints are usually broad topics like sustainability and the negative side effects I see when I scroll through social media. I’ve aimed to take those complaints and turn them into action. I complain about plastic, so I should be more mindful of packaging and products I come in contact with. The action vs. complaint helps me feel in control and in tune with what I care about.

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I found that I care about seeing new places and spending time with the people I love. If that’s a value, I should make it a priority, saving and spending both time and money on that.

Simply and Fiercely offered an introduction to intentional living that I found really helpful.

“Intentional living is asking yourself why you do things—and then being happy with the answers.– Jennifer 

Since beginning my “resolution” and working toward more intentionality, my days are more gratifying and I have more free-time to do things that I find genuine value in, like professional development on LinkedIn Learning. I don’t need to slow down and meditate for thirty minutes because it doesn’t work for me. Instead, I need to ask myself why I do something and whether I find value in that action. Slow living appealed to me because it encouraged more happiness, and I now recognize that I tried to slow down without intentionality. The two are not mutually inclusive, but they are much more connected (and easy to achieve) than I thought they were at the beginning of 2020.