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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Pay Attention to your Intentions
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Thursday, January 5,2017

Pay Attention to your Intentions

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

My favorite New Year’s resolution started two years ago and is still going. I begin by writing down four annual goals. I figure one per quarter is reasonable, since these goals are above and beyond what needs to be accomplished in the grind of daily life. Then, on January first each year, I put 52 marbles in a jar on and have a second, empty jar, next to it. Beginning on the first Monday of the year, and every Monday thereafter, I move one marble from the first jar and place it into the second jar. As the weeks and months pass, the marbles become a visual reminder of time passing by. Sometimes I will add mini-goals along the way, and allow one month to complete a task (clearing out my closet, for example). It works like a charm for knocking things off the To-Do list. Especially when I include a little reward for myself for meeting my goal. My newly organized closet now boasts an adorable mini-chandelier as a result of my focus and dedication.

But there is a difference between New Year’s resolutions and To-Do lists. New Year’s resolutions should be more Big Picture; more focused on self-improvement, whether that is in the area of health, vocation, relationships, monetary security or flexibility… each new year (each new day, really) offers us the opportunity to become the person we truly are meant to become. It is separate from the daily grind. But the grind constantly distracts us and steals attention away from our deeper, more personal pursuits. Paying attention is key. Attending to our intentions brings them to life. The famous Spanish philosopher and essayist Jose Ortega y Gassett said, “Show me what you pay attention to, and I’ll show you who you are.”

So who are you? Are you an errand runner? A perfectionist? A complainer? A hurried, harried, go-getter who is always off to the next thing? A Netflix bingewatcher? Are you your career? We play countless roles in our lives and the roles that define us are the ones we pay the most attention to .

Naturally, areas in our lives with the most pressing needs override other aspects of ourselves .

Finding the time to tap into our inner poet, artist, nature lover, race car driver or other (insert dream here) seems daunting, and many of our passions likely remain on the mental “To- Do Some Day” list. What we focus on is what we get. So, if we lament over not having enough time to do the things we enjoy... guess what? That’s what we’ll have - not enough time. On the other hand, if we set an intention, then pay attention to that intention, the time will find us.

Ask yourself, who am I? Who do I intend to become? How can I get there? Consider these questions and pay attention to the answers. These are your intentions. These are the things that go on that list that sits in front of the marble jars. What you mean is what you’ll get. Happy New Year!


ON THE BRIGHT SIDE 

Jonna Shutowick, M.S. Ed. is a high school history teacher for the Palm Beach County school district. She has created a character named Rosey Shades TM , whose philosophy teaches students about the importance of choosing optimism over pessimism by asking, “What color are the clouds in your world? For more information, visit http://roseyshadesonthebrightside.blogspot.com/

 

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