Our Best Intentions


By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin

Happy New Year!!!!!!  It’s 2017!!!!!!  We get a fresh start! Woo Hoo!

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This year I’m going to work out 3 to 4 times a week. I’m going to study Italian, again!  I’m going to eat all organic, farm fresh foods. I’m going to do more volunteer work. I’m going to expand my career. I’m going to focus on my inner soul and spirituality. I’m going to recycle and compost more. I’m going to spend more time with my friends and family. I’m going back to school to finally complete my Ph.D!!! I’m going to reach out to help more people. I’m going to learn how to fly a plane. I will be more disciplined! I’m going to do all of this because it is 2017 and it is a new fabulous year!!!

These are my best intentions. I’m inspired to do this. I want to make positive changes in my life. I want to be more “disciplined” and follow through with these changes.  I want all of this, this year!

And…. then there is life. Life has a way of changing your plans. Sometimes you don’t even know it’s happening.  My question is…How do we fit all our best intentions into an already full life?
A friend told me I need to be more disciplined. I agree! In my living room there is a bowl of chocolate covered almonds.  Every evening after dinner, it screams out my name. I know I can have a few. I just shouldn’t have a handful or two. I need to be more in control.  I should get rid of the bowl and the delicious contents, but I can’t, I love them.

My intention is to be more fit, but I get so tired! My days are long. I think age is a factor now because I remember having much more energy years ago.

So what do we do when we have numerous great intentions to make excellent changes in our lives? Do we do them all?  What happens when we can’t manage any of them? My wise grandmother of years past would tell me to cut the intention list to only a few.  A few means three.

Take the top 3 most important best intentions and work on them. She would say, “Don’t fill up your plate so much so that you can’t see it anymore.  Be good or great at a few things, not everything.”

Often I will tell my children that I’m good at some things but definitely not at everything. This is my usual excuse when a family dinner flops!  I will tell them, “I’m really good in the garden, not so good in the kitchen. I can grow anything in the garden. I just don’t have the same talent in the kitchen.” They sort of understand this while eating peanut butter sandwiches for supper.

Now I need to cut my intention list down to the top three. I will definitely try to be more disciplined.  This is the hardest one. I bend all the rules. I don’t like living with rules that I’ve created for myself.
Once I have achieved more discipline in my life, then I can follow through with a better exercise regime.  Then better food choices and study habits should follow. The key words here are, “should follow.”  I intentionally added a breath of hope.

Our best intentions are our best feet forward to being a better you.  We have a whole year to start and finish this project.  One day at a time, one step at a time. I hope to do well. I’ll keep you posted. Have a super healthy and happy new year.  That’s truly my best intention, now on to the others!

Suzanne Reisler Litwin an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper.   She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column “Keeping it Real”.  Please visit her website  www.suzannereislerlitwin.com  to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.