What’s Your Intention for 2020?
Welcome to 2020! I’m hearing lots of talk about this being the year of clarity and vision. It’s a new decade and a lot of people are stopping for a moment to reflect on what they have experienced over the last 10 years. For myself, I never could have anticipated my own crazy 10-year roller coaster where I:
-Saw the end of my 18-year marriage
-Moved to Buenos Aires and Bogota…then moved back to the Bay Area
-Grieved the death of my Ex, a very close friend, and my intensely loving dog, Lola
-Adopted a very different, fun-loving dog, Joji
-Followed through on becoming a coach, getting certified, and started working with clients
-Launched my first successful online program, “Tame Your Inner Critic,” and got great feedback
-Found out what it’s like to date in my middle years
-Found love the 2nd time around (we’re celebrating 6 years together this month)
-Purchased a house with my sweetie (Steve) and worked together to make it our home
-Learned to ski (reluctantly), then took ski vacations to Tahoe, Banff, and Whistler
-Got politically involved
And the list goes on, as I’m sure yours does, too!
You might notice that my list, also probably like yours, is punctuated by both bright spots and dark spots. Being 10 years wiser, I feel so grateful for all of it, though, especially the challenges that helped me reflect, grow, and stretch myself – although I didn’t always feel that way at the time.
It’s natural to get swept up in everything that New Year’s Eve represents for us, reflecting on the previous year and considering what we want to change in the coming year. On New Year’s Eve 2019, Steve and I spent the evening at a local restaurant that provided live Flamenco. The atmosphere was quite festive, and the place was packed. We ended up talking all evening with two couples that sat at a table next to us. At 11pm one of the women lamented that she hadn’t yet settled on a “New Years Resolution”! We joked that she could take the whole month to settle on one that felt right.
The great news is that we get a clean slate that we collectively agree starts on January 1st (even though every day is a chance at a clean slate). Last year, my sister resolved to use less plastic (and inspired me to do the same), and we both now bring mesh baggies to replace the plastic ones at the store. I’ve spoken with people who are resolving to plan more adventures, start dating again, make more money, eat healthier, etc.
Those of you who have been subscribing for over a year know that in addition to (or in place of) a New Year’s Resolution, I’m a big fan of setting an Intention. For me, my intention was to make 2018 the Year of Patience and 2019 the Year of Curiosity. If you’re curious about why I chose those qualities and the things I did (and am doing) to help support me throughout the year, click here.
As the holiday season, always full of both joy and stress, approached, I resolved to make 2020 the Year of Detachment and to begin practicing that in December. I understand that the word doesn’t immediately have a positive ring to it. When I first mentioned this to Steve, he thought I intended to be aloof and disengaged. Detachment in this sense really means not developing such an attachment to an outcome that it emotionally ties us in knots. I suggested that adopting Detachment for 2020 and starting a month early could be a big benefit to both of us.
“When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them.” Eckhart Tolle
In fact, practicing Detachment was super helpful when we had a home full of guests and our place felt out of sorts (for me) with things like coats/shoes here and there, guests spoiling our dog (even pets can overindulge during the holidays) and other circumstances that come with family and friends living in small quarters for several days. Detachment helped me accept the temporary disarray and accommodate different needs that might have meant the experience might have been different from the expectation. I told Steve’s sister that it was a helpful head start on practicing Detachment in the new year.
Allowing myself to Detach from expectations when we were running late for something created space to accept the reality of the situation, instead of wanting it to be different and feeling that familiar tension in my body when it wasn’t different. Of course, it’s too bad I forgot about feeling detached when I got upset with Steve on December 31st just before we left for our evening celebration. But hey, coaches aren’t perfect (we screw up, too!), and it was a reminder that these intentions are meant to be practiced. Choosing an intention I’ve already “mastered” (as if that is possible) would defeat the purpose. The key to selecting an intention is to choose one that you want more of in your life and are willing to cultivate.
For myself, I started by thinking about how I would like to feel at the end of 2020 after practicing feeling detached for a whole year. It would be a major change from years of attachment and feeling triggered. Maybe it’s being the oldest of four and receiving frequent positive feedback and validation for being “responsible” that contributed to me feeling overly responsible and attached – even for things out of my control. Added to that, I was a sensitive kid, and growing up with a dominant narcissist brought its own unique challenges. We all have our baggage. For me, I notice the triggers and how they feel in my body; I feel the tension in my shoulders, my jaw clenches, and sometimes my heart races. My preference is to respond thoughtfully because when I do, I notice that I feel calm and aligned, but that isn’t always my regular practice…at least not until this year.
By choosing to focus on Detachment, my goal is to create space. With that space, my objective is to get curious. So when I’m engaged with that narcissist or someone who has a different political perspective, rather than feel myself getting upset or frustrated, I’ll start asking some questions to allow me to detach a bit from what’s actually being said and from wanting it to be something different.
That is my focus for 2020, and I encourage you to consider your own intention.
What is a quality you want more of or something you want to improve?
How would you like to look back and feel at the end of 2020?
To help clarify your intention, I encourage you to chat with friends. Also, feel free to shoot me an email or comment here.