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Monday Means

One Final 2019 Wrap-Up

Before the new year becomes . . . well . . . just THE year, I want to take one last look at my word for 2019: intention.


Because . . . it turns out intention was a trickier word than I anticipated it would be.  And I learned some very important things from it.

Like, well . . . 

Intention is not really an extension of focus (my 2018 word).  Or . . . not like I expected it to be at any rate.  For me, focus was about clarity. Figuring out what I wanted to focus on by figuring out what I was focusing on. Important work, to be sure.  I initially thought that intention would be about following focus.  But it was so much more than that!

Intention is about purpose.  About being deliberate.  About understanding the why behind my decisions and my choices.  It was more thoughtful and less active.  It involved . . . creating a pause . . . building in a thoughtful and deliberate beat between an idea or a thought and my taking action about that idea or thought.  I trained myself to be more mindful of what I was doing and (more importantly) why I was doing it.  And this was a very good thing.  

To really be intentional . . . meant I needed to be very, very clear about the what and the why.  At first, I thought that would be easy.  Because I'd done all that focus work already.  I knew what I wanted to focus on in my life.  But I learned that . . . focus is a fleeting thing.  Life is fickle.  New things (or ideas or thoughts) come along all the time.  So it's easy for our focus to be pulled in new directions.  I figured out that I needed something more . . . stable.  More permanent. So I developed a list of my personal values . . . which are the underpinnings of my everything, really.  Focus areas may change.  But my personal values don't.

(Here's an example.  At the beginning of 2018, I jumped on the "make nine" bandwagon, and chose nine projects I wanted to make during the year.  I thought it would be a good way to focus on things I wanted to make.  It was not.  I think I only made one of those items.  Was it because I lost my focus?  Was it because I wasn't intentional enough?  Did I fail?  Nah. I came to understand the next year - in my year of intention - that I didn't "fail" with the "make nine" thing at all.  Because I did make nine things in 2018.  Just not the nine things I set out to make in January of 2018!  Turns out that - for me - the "make nine" thing was fickle.  It only represented nine things I was interested on that day.  The real and important thing?  One of my personal values is "making things."  And I was very deliberate, very purposeful . . . about "making things" all year long.)

So rather than think of intention as an extension of focus, I changed my thinking a bit.  Focus and intention are related -- but that relationship is tricky!  My intention work got so much more sharp and successful when I linked my intentions to my personal values . . . instead of my more fickle focus areas.

Another key thing I learned in 2019 is that no matter how clear you are about the whys and whats and the alignment of action with personal values . . . well . . . intention still meets reality.  There are only 24 hours in the day, after all.  And weather happens.  And other people's values/intentions don't always line up with yours.  There are seaonal variations.  Health issues.  Personal quirks.  Things just come up.  So even when your best intentions set you on a path for greatness, it's still going to be a bumpy ride with plenty of obstacles in your path.  Adaptablility and flexibily are key.  Even (maybe especially?) when it comes to intention.

I also ended the year with a big question for myself:  If we make time for the things we really want (focus/intention), and I say I really want to do something . . . but then I consistenly don't make time for actually doing the something . . . what does that mean?  And what does it mean that I do make time for stuff I'm only meh about????  (I'm still pondering that one.)


Intention was a great word for me last year . . . in ways I really didn't expect.  I learned so much.  I did a lot of thinking and journaling.  I put some new things into practice in my life.  I came to understand myself in a whole new way.  And I even developed a solid exit plan for a big commitment I've had for a while that just does not line up with my personal values.

That's the power of one little word!

(I can't wait to see where 2020 takes me.)


Tune in next week.  I'll tell you about my word for 2020.


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Words are so tricky! And that thing about figuring out personal values - what a great lessons. I am working on that this month. Thanks for sharing these reflections


This is a wonderful and thoughtful look at intention. I especially love that it was different than you expected, you still have unanswered questions to ponder, and you linked your intentions to your values. You've provided things for me to think about., and that's always a good thing.

(I don't know if you read Katrina Kenison's most recent blog post, but she also talks about creating a pause:


Looking forward to hearing about your word for 2020.


I am learning that intention and action can be on entirely different pages! And, that is shocking to me!

Focus was well... so focused. Intention is indeed appearing to be a bumpy ride! There have been a couple of time when I thought about leaving intention behind and taking a different journey. But, intention is not letting me go - I am in for a year of learning and then some!


I learned a lot just reading this post! And you're so right...why do we make time for the meh? Have a nice weekend Kym...looking forward to next week! xo


Nicely written and interesting! I am curious to hear your word for 2020. I'm glad you found a way out of a commitment that doesn't match what you want (values) - Bravo!!

kathy b

Oh I will tune in. My pal Regina should read your blog. She is kind of isolated. She does charity knitting. She was upset bc a family member isn't using the traditional family christening gown and then having the name embroidered on it with all the other generations. "Other peoples intentions don't line up with yours" she needs to get that's universal! ;)

Hmmm whats your word? One of my words is CHOICES. I spent last year surprising family members for birthdays and anniversaries. T his year I want them to give me a choice of what they'd like and I'lll pick from there!


This is such an insightful and well-thought-out post, Kym. It's clear to me that you took your word very seriously and reflected on it in a very meaningful way. Your post also brought me to a really good realization about my own experience with the "make 9" thing. I did it for 2019 and failed miserably, and I was feeling bad about it until I read your excellent take on it.


I was reading along and nodding yep, yep, yep and then I stumbled across these words "And I even developed a solid exit plan for a big commitment I've had for a while" ... and I'm hooked! Flexibility has made my daily gratitude list a lot lately and I I cannot wait to see what that's giving you! (seriously, cannot wait! patience is for sure not in my skillset!)


This is a wonderful summary of how intention worked for you in 2019. I'm thinking about your struggle with making time for things that matter and instead finding that you make time for things you don't care so much about and I'm wondering about the 4 tendencies and how that might play in. If you're an obliger and people expect things of you that could account for the problem you have in that area.

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