snowy treesOne of the things I have discovered through my own experience and research from interviews with more than 110 professional part-time working moms is that being intentional with your time goes a long way. It can actually help make being a professional part-time working mom a reality. I get a lot of questions about this topic, especially as it relates to work-life balance. If you’re trying to set yourself up for success in 2018, consider making your holiday experience more intentional and carry that over into the new year.

What an Intention is Not

An intention is not a resolution. A resolution is usually something like a goal that you can cross off when it’s been achieved. I look at being intentional as a shift in how I approach life. It’s integrated it my life and how my family uses time and does activities.

Let me give an example of how resolutions and intentions are different. Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds in 2018. Losing weight is a typical resolution. You can measure if you lost 10 pounds or not. If you wanted to make this more of an intention, your aim isn’t simply losing 10 pounds. Your intention is being healthier in your food choices or in integrating healthy eating or exercise into your routine.  You can see the change, but it’s not a box to check off or a measured goal. It permeates into your life in various ways and it’s more of a mindset shift.

Understand Why You want this Change

Now that you know more of what it is and isn’t, let’s talk about how we make this change happen now and in 2018. The first step when you’re trying to be more intentional is to understand why. Do some soul searching and understand the drive for making this change. Get to the root of the change instead of asking why once and you’re done. Essentially you want to ask why a few times to get to the more meaningful reason for the change.

And this why helps you figure out what you say no to and what is a “hell yes!”. And as a working mom, that matters. As opportunities present themselves this holiday and beyond, your intentions can help you decide what is worthy of your time. It seems simple, but it takes practice. Or think of it as a muscle you need to build. It takes practice to work that intention muscle.

What is your Intention for the Holidays and Beyond?

You’ve done some soul searching on why you want to change things. So, what is it that you want to change? Try to be specific. For example, an intention to be happier sounds good, but what does that mean to you? Bringing more gratitude into your life to focus on being more content with the life you have is more of an intention and will likely also lead to more happiness.

If it helps, visualize what you want and try to describe the scene or picture in your mind. That might help you think through and put words to what you want.

My own intention for the holidays and beyond is to be more intentional with my time. After a busy year, I’m trying to slow down this holiday season. It’s time to slow down and enjoy the holiday season and build in some business time, but not have it be my focus. I need to focus on filling up my cup and feeling recharged. I am growing two businesses and don’t have time for burnout. Honestly, who does, whether you’re an entrepreneur or work for a company?

In the case of my family, we’re focusing more on experiences. We realized a while back that we do fine without all the stuff when we’re traveling and/or doing new activities. The deeper why is that we want our boys to have a sense of adventure, curiosity, and discovery as a lifelong approach. That’s hard to do when they’re focused on stuff. We made this shift during the rest of the year by traveling to different places and doing various local hikes. We get distracted during the holidays by stuff that is interesting for a few days or weeks and then the interest in experience comes back. Why not skip the stuff or limit it and keep focusing on experience all year-long. And I confess that I find the stuff that comes into our house overwhelming.

What does Being Intentional look like?

The third step is to do some brainstorming on what your version of being intentional looks like. Really visualize it. What does it look like? How will you feel? What images come to mind?

Start with what your holiday intentions look like. Are you focused on family? Are you doing things in your community? Is the focus on traveling somewhere new or somewhere you traditionally visit that you want to enjoy to its fullest?

It’s easy to visualize the holiday intentions, but what about your intentions for 2018? What is your word for 2018? What are you trying to achieve for the year? Have you planned what you want the career side of things to look like? What about the personal side? And consider the balance between those two – the work-life balance.

Part of what I’m trying to achieve in 2018 is being more intentional with my choices to build my business. I’m thinking through, “How will this build my business?” with every decision I make as it relates to taking up my time. There will be time that isn’t about my business, but it fills me up in some other way. That is being intentional with my time.

Get your Family & Friends on Board

The final step is to get your family excited about the new intentions. Help them understand why you’re being more intentional. Explain what you’re trying to achieve. Your family can help keep you accountable as you make these changes in your intentions.

When it comes to kids, think about word choice as you’re trying to explain things. Use the action and the benefit or impact that these changes will make, whether in your life or the lives of others. Consider the end goals and how it plays into what they enjoy. Consider how to make your kids part of the change you want to make in your life and in your family’s life.

Know you want to make changes, but not sure what you want to change this holiday season? Check out the blog on my family’s intentions for the holidays for some inspiration.

 

Do you have an intention for this holiday? Are you trying out new intentions during the holiday so that you have a head start for the new year? What are you trying to be more intentional about next year? As you make these changes, what’s working or not for you?

If one of your intentions is transitioning to a professional part-time role to enable more work-life balance, check out the sneak peek of the Introduction & Chapter 1 from Mompowerment: Insights from Successful Professional Part-time Working Moms Who Balance Career and Family.