My Intention for 2016: Stop Thinking, Start Doing

My Intention for 2016: Stop Thinking, Start Doing

A couple of years ago, I did away with New Years Resolutions in favour of setting an intention for the year ahead. In 2014, it was “movement”. In 2015, it was “balance”. In 2016, my intention for the year is “do”.

I don’t generally think of myself as a procrastinator, but there are always plans and plots and schemes bubbling away in my mind, things I want to learn and see and do and create and get involved with. Far more than I have hours in the day! Often these things get pushed aside until I have the time.

2016, I have decided, is the time.

My intention in 2015 was “balance”. At the end of 2014 I re-entered full time employment in a field unrelated to sustainability. I’d spent 6 months unemployed, and I needed to pay the bills. With my experience in behaviour change, community education and waste I’d been sure I would be able to find work in the sustainability or waste education fields, but six months later I’d had no success, just plenty of rejection letters.

I felt frustrated and disappointed. I felt like I’d failed.

Working full-time was a bit of a shock to the system, and not just the hours it took up. It is a high-pressure, stressful job with no downtime, where unpaid overtime is an expectation…and even taking your 30 minute lunch break away from your desk raises eyebrows.

That said, I liked the work. I disliked that it was taking me away from the things I wanted to do.

After three months of working, sleeping and little else, I realised that I needed balance. I needed my job, but I wanted to write, to grow, to share my experiences and to inspire others. I had to continue working towards what I believed in. That is what 2015 was about, for me.

I haven’t written as much as I’d like. I haven’t volunteered as much as I’d like. I haven’t exercised as much as I’d like. I haven’t eaten as well as I’d like. I haven’t spent as much time with my friends as I’d like. I haven’t given back as much as I’d like. That said, I did find balance, and 2015 was a great year. I published my first book. I ran my first sustainable living course. I was invited to talk to several different groups of people about living without plastic.

I saw orca whales at the Bremer canyon. I learned how to ferment vegetables. I bought the sewing machine I’d been talking about getting for two years. I finally mastered the art of decluttering. I went to workshops, met and hung out with like-minded people, and got inspired all over again.

What I did realize in my year of seeking balance, is that doing all of these things is what fires me up, stirs my soul, nurtures my creativity and pushes me to be a better person and help create a better world. This is what I love to do.

This can’t be the thing that I do after I’ve spent most of my week at a job that does none of these things. I can’t be fighting for scraps of time amongst the chores and errands after I’ve expended most of my energy working to build someone else’s dream. I have my own dreams to act on.

Working part-time would be ideal (I still have bills to pay, after all) but my current workplace doesn’t support part-time hours. I knew this but I asked anyway. They said no. Maybe I’ve been reading too many motivational quotes on Instagram, but I feel like life is too short not to do more of what I love. I quit my job. My last day is this Thursday.

So what does that mean?! It means exciting times ahead! It means the chance to do all of those things that have been waiting in the sidelines. I’m already committed to running another sustainable living course in February, and I’m in talks to possibly host another after that. It’s only January and I’ve signed up to do three talks about plastic-free living for various Plastic Free July events.

I’ve joined our local community garden and have been allotted a veggie bed… plus soon I’ll have my own garden to plant. I’ve begun researching sewing classes. I’ve been looking into a few volunteering opportunities locally. I can’t wait to get back into the kitchen, either.

I’m really looking forward to sharing what I learn with you, too. I can’t wait to get back into writing more, and I have some big plans to create content this year that I’m hoping you’ll find really useful. After the success of my first book, I’m also thinking about writing another ; ) You can probably tell the cogs are whirring and my mind is working overtime right now, so I need to have a think about what I want to prioritise (I don’t want to be burned out by February, after all! – and I clearly can’t do everything I dream about) but stay tuned because exciting things should be coming this way!

I can’t say I’m not going to need to find another job at some point. Book sales are steady, and with the courses and other bits and pieces that bring in income, plus the savings I’ve made whilst working, it means I can commit to taking some time out. Longer term, who knows?! The time is now. I need to seize the opportunity I’ve taken and make the most of time I have; it may not last forever. Stop thinking, and start doing. Finding out where that takes me will be a great adventure!

Now I’d really love to hear from you! What are your intentions for 2016? What are your hopes and dreams? What will you do to get that little bit closer to them? Are you struggling to find balance between the things you want to do and the things you have to do? When you reflect back on last year, what stands out for you? Did you have any intentions for 2015, and how did they work out? What were your biggest achievements, best lessons and favourite moments? I’d really love to know your thought so please leave a comment below!

27 Responses to My Intention for 2016: Stop Thinking, Start Doing

  1. I also decided to go ahead with all the projects I had in mind for a while! Sure, it’s scary has hell, but I’ll never know what other opportunities those projects can give me back if I don’t try! ;)

  2. Balance is my word/intention for 2016. Last year I focused on Enough. I’ve just re-entered part time employment and I’m still learning how to balance that with health concerns and social life (I have several chronic illnesses).

    • That’s funny Sarah! Well, I have about 3 books in my head that I want to write – I think I should focus on one. Or maybe two! I want to learn to sew, I want to be able to make my own clothes. I’m going to learn how to keep bees. I want to run more workshops. I’d love to learn woodworking. I’d like to experiment more with fermented foods, and making my own skincare. I want to be able to volunteer for a food rescue place. I’d like to get more involved with my local community. Basically, I want to do everything and learn everything and be involved with everything – and I cant have it all. Minimalism applies to ideas too! ; )

  3. I left my last ‘proper job’ in April and have been doing chunks of temp work since – for one company. It’s not a long-term solution but it’s brought in the pennies and because of the nature of my employment I’ve been able to dedicate time for travel, blogging, other hobbies, major minimalising etc. between temp stints.

    This year I want to figure out what I’d really like to do long-term (and earn a living from that!), do more travelling, get fitter, go to more gigs, and spend more quality time with friends and family. Life really is too short to only have holidays to do what you enjoy.

    Wishing you an exciting and successful 2016! :-)

    • That sounds great Minna! I totally agree – there is no point living a life you enjoy for four weeks of the year and spending the rest of the year planning, dreaming about and working for those four weeks. Sounds like you’ve got the balance just right!

      Do you have any ideas about what you want to do long term?!

      • Unfortunately no! I can’t see (at least at the moment) how I could earn a living doing any of the things I really enjoy doing – but I continue doing them anyway and probably keep temping until something more inspiring (hopefully) pops up.

  4. That’s very courageous and inspiring – congratulations! This year I’m working my last year of a decade long career in an industry that hasn’t rewarded me spiritually or really fulfilled me professionally or personally (but haven’t spent five + years at university, I’ve been scared to throw away the so called ‘investment’.) My current contract ends at the end of the year and so this year is about saving and planning for the as yet unknown future! Big changes ahead!

    • Thanks Kim! Your own plans sound pretty exciting too! Having time to save and make space in your head for the future is definitely worthwhile I found, and having a year to do that will be great for you I hope! There’s something very exciting about leaping into the great unknown, don’t you think?!

      Good luck with the saving! x

  5. It is like you just wrote down everything that was in my head. I was thinking about a post on the same topic. I too quit my job in December – it was a government position in the environmental sector but it wasn’t satisfying me, and it couldn’t change due to funding restrictions. I’m going to do similar things here in Gippsland under “Gippsland Unwrapped” and I feel like a ground swell has started in my conservative area of the world. I just wanted to say that I know we’re on opposite sides of Australia but if you ever thought there was opportunity to collaborate, I’d be happy to discuss. Good luck with everything, Tammy

    • Tammy I often find that happens to me! I write a post and then uncover a bundle that have exactly the same thoughts as I had. Are you still going to write it? I love reading posts with a slightly different view of the same topic : )

      Exciting news for you then! Tell me about your plans! Or are they still in the making? (Or top secret?!)

      Always open to collaborating too : )

      Good luck filling your new-found freedom with satisfaction – I look forward to reading about it!

      • Thanks Lindsay. Well mostly my time will be filled with parenting my two kids but my youngest starts school this year so hopefully I will find time during the day to write rather than catch up on cleaning and all that other domestic stuff. Bit of a balancing act because they are not allowed on screens all the time but here I am more an more . They’ve been pointing this out to me too, lol. I want to work on stuff that makes a difference and I love community engagement. I discovered this pretty quickly when my first job out of uni was the Waterwatch program over here. I’d like to continue the work I have enjoyed over the years, like delivering school programs, working with community groups, and other stakeholders. I’m starting with letting groups in my region know I’m available to share my story and work on projects they are interested in. See where it takes me.

  6. Congratulations! This is another big decision! 2016 will be a very exciting year for you. I am looking forward to new zero-waste recipes, DIY tips, and of course your new book! Happy new year!

    • Oooh Annemieke, now I really feel like the pressure is on! There’s nothing like announcing your intentions publicly for actually motivating you to achieve them. Wouldn’t I look silly if I had to ‘fess up in December to just sitting on the couch and eating cookies and watching daytime TV all year? Good thing I don’t have a telly! Right, now to work ; )

      Happy New Year!

  7. Lindsay and all, I work in the health sector and I too am disillusioned with the lack of engagement and awareness in public health policy practice and research on sustainability issues. To me its a no brainer. I am also looking for other opportunities and given the comments here there must be SOMETHING we can all do?

  8. Forgot to add congratulations on your new exciting journey for 2016. My word for 2015 was also balance…I didn’t achieve it. This year (I like the way you say intention and not resolution) my intention is take opportunities. So my word is Opportunity. Its a live in the moment and active kind of thing – a bit similar to your ‘do’, but I feel like one reason I didn’t achieve ‘balance’ in 2015 is that I missed or ignored opportunities – so this year it is my intention to take those opportunities when they arise. Jo.

    • Hi Jo, thanks so much for your comment! Sorry to hear you’re disillusioned – it seems to be a common thought : / I wish we knew solutions! It sounds like your seeking of balance was a little like mine – ultimately deciding that you won’t get balance with the status quo and change is in order! Opportunity is a great intention, I love it. I’m so excited for you, it sounds like you’re going to have a really rewarding year if you seek out and take all the opportunities that come your way. Good luck x

  9. I just graduated with my undergraduate and won’t be starting grad school till the fall. I also am taking advantage of this time I have. I’m working on being emotionally and physically healthy, on setting good habits, and becoming more zero waste.

    • The biggest “regret” – and I try not to have regrets because I think that life and the choices we make are all part of a learning curve, but you know what I mean – when I was unemployed for six months was not making the most of the time I had. I think it felt sometimes like I’d never get another job, and the spare time was endless but once I started full-time employment I realised I could have done so much more with the time I’d had. After all, time is precious. It sounds like you’re far more on the ball than I was, and you’ve got some really good plans. Have a fantastic few months! Good luck! x

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