Like many, every January I make resolutions—actually, intentions.
I think about who I want to be (kind, open, passionate) rather than what I want to do.
And like many, I’d set an intention and then forget about it until the following January when I’d look back and be delightfully surprised if I accidentally made any progress toward it.
But 2023 has been different.
This year, I’ve incorporated my intentions into my daily life by speaking or writing them every day, and I’m a different person because of it. I’ve been sharing my 2023 intentions with friends and noticed what a difference they’ve made, so I thought I would write my first article and share them with you.
Here are six intentions I made in January that I still practice today:
Tell the F*cking Truth
When this one came to me, I immediately broke down in tears because to even consider telling the truth meant I had to acknowledge how much I didn’t—ever—with friends, dating, my job, everything. I was a people pleaser. I sacrificed my own comfort for others, and I made it work.
When I created these intentions, I was dating a man who made me feel safe telling the truth. At 46 years old I was in love for the first time. I had also recently made the difficult decision to leave the band I had created and was front woman for after 17 years of loving our audiences and having the label “rockstar” joyfully associated with my identity.
For me, telling the truth looked like:
I’m cold, could you please close the window?
I don’t feel like burgers tonight, how about sushi?
I don’t love performing with our band anymore, so I’m taking a break.
The more I told the truth, the easier it became to know what my truth was, and the more people were willing to support what I needed. And the more social proof I had that this actually worked, the more I did it.
Remove to Reveal
With two years of pandemic lockdown barely in memory—the first (forced) pause I had ever taken in my type-A, achiever, plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every weekend life—I was starting to make more intentional choices with my time and energy.
When things started opening up in 2021 and I tried doing the same things that I used to do, I immediately crashed and realized how burnt out I was before. I started surgically removing things that I’d been doing out of habit or routine (along with a few friends who were no longer in alignment with me), and really asking: What can I remove to reveal more of who I am right now?
Leaving the band was an exercise in creating space because I was genuinely curious, after so many years, about what would fill it. I started therapy and doubled down on meditation and journaling. I met the awesome boyfriend, a fellow musician who traveled a lot, and I loved being free to accompany him and enjoy his shows as a music fan instead of being the one in the spotlight.
Trust the Process
This one came in handy when the boyfriend suddenly broke up with me on Valentine’s Day and then went Facebook public with another woman a few weeks later. I’m a strong, independent woman, and I’d been through a few breakups of much longer-term relationships. And although this one was only five months—it wrecked me.
I’m not a religious person, but I had to put my faith in something. I had to believe the pain and questioning and re-running of conversations and resentment and grief would end. I had no roadmap for how to feel better, or how I should be feeling at all. So I practiced trusting the unknown, and kept returning to this intention all day every day.
The thought alone brought me a moment of peace, and those moments eventually started adding up to hours and days.
Trust my Intuition and Decisions
I was so exhausted from second-guessing myself—about everything. Did I really need the second half of that bagel? Is the person I’m networking with right now the best person at this event to be speaking to? Should I take just one more gig with the band?
I needed to practice letting go of the decisions I had already made and trusting my intuition, which I like better than instinct. For me, instincts can be survival-based, while intuition is spirit-based and generally guided by values that do not change with circumstances.
When I catch myself in an obsessive loop about something, I use this intention to interrupt it, take a deep breath, and move on.
This is the one that scared the sh*t out of me, and although I tried to ignore it, I couldn’t. I am an extrovert; I get energy from interacting with groups of people. But really being connected and vulnerable, sometimes that’s hard for me. This includes being connected to myself and honoring my own needs.
Practicing this intention made me realize that I am in a season of life where I get more energy from meaningful one-on-one conversations than in big groups with my head on a swivel. I trust the process and my intuition, and magical conversations and relationships happen with the person I am connected to in the moment. I feel my career and friendships shifting more into alignment with who I am now, and when I just need to be alone to take care of myself, I do that too.
Be the Mara-est Mara and Inspire Others to be the Them-est Them
In a recent documentary about Kevin Smith, he expressed his gratitude for fans giving him a 30-year career of, well, being himself. He told the audience that they could count on him to be the Kevin Smithiest Kevin Smith from now until the end of time.
That hit me hard. What if that’s the key to life?
If I could just be the Mara-est Mara and trust that that’s exactly what the world needs, and inspire others to be the them-est them? Well, that sounds like a life of ease and joy, and it’s the one thing that nobody else can do but us. Whenever fear and anxiety and self-doubt try to take over, I return to this one and just do the thing that is the most me. Then I trust that that is enough.
Whether you’re managing changes you need to make, or changes that have been made for you, I hope these intentions help—and that someday I might connect with the you-est you.