Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year's Intentions

I apologize for just now getting around to formulating and sharing my intentions for 2012. It's been a hectic holiday with a 16-hour road trip to Florida with a baby and a bloodhound, a plane ride to Indiana and back to Florida, a road trip to the other coast of Florida, a week of being on Henry duty 24-hours a day since Matt had to go back to work in Houston, a weekend with my bonus family (the in-laws) in Orlando for the Disney Marathon (Matt was running, not me), and then another plane trip back to Houston, all while talking with the Buyer's realtor about inspections and appraisals, communicating with the title company to ensure we're ready for closing, searching for a rental house in Austin, turning in my 65,000-word manuscript to my editor, and trying to do some work for Montessori For All.

So, here's to a new year! Woo-hoo!

I loved Andrea's idea of generating a phrase for the year. I like mantras. They are short, easy to remember, and powerful. My mantra for 2012 is:

This is the year to make dreams happen.

Whenever I set goals, I like to think about the accountability that goes along with them. How will I ensure that I follow-through with my intentions? What will be my process for checking in with myself and sustaining my motivation throughout the entire year? What is my process for moving from yearly goals to daily goals?

That reminds me. I've been reading one of my Christmas presents--Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow--and they feature Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America. She explains that she starts with yearly goals, breaks them down into monthly goals, then into weekly goals, and finally into daily goals. Awesomeness!

Here we go:

Montessori For All Executive Director:
  • Recruit a strong board of directors
  • Complete the charter application for the state of Texas
  • Generate significant, diverse community support (in the form of a long student waiting list, financial support, community partnerships)
  • Raise money (the specific amount is yet to be determined)
  • Read a leadership or curriculum book every month
  • Observe at three or more excellent Montessori schools around the country

Director of Operations and Compliance for Austin Achieve:

  • Be awesome at my new job (I've been volunteering, but it's going to turn into a part-time, paid position in April!)

Community Builder in Austin:
  • Purchase a piece of land
  • Convince three other families/people to purchase land next to us for our pocket neighborhood
  • Design and start building a house
  • Host a quirky party every month
  • Do something every month to build a support network in Austin (batch cooking party, craft date, etc.)


  • Read a parenting book every month
  • Be patient with Henry's need to do things for himself from 10-22 months
  • Set a specific goal each month, based on Henry's developmental needs

  • Publish consistently on Feeding the Soil (4x per week) and 2000 Dollar Wedding (3x per week)
  • Respond consistently to comments and develop more friendships with readers

  • Revise my book to make it as useful as possible
  • Work with Kylie to self-publish a book related to Montessori

Purposeful Conception E-course:
  • Consistently run courses
  • Find a partner to take the course to the next level


  • Read a fiction book every month
  • Run at least three times per week
  • Do one sun salutation before bed every night
  • Adopt the mantra "let it go," when I find myself complaining about something, being jealous of someone, getting unnecessarily frustrated, or being judgmental
  • Implement a Relaxation Ritual every night before bed (sun salutation, reading for fun, talking with Matt)
  • Make awesome Halloween costumes

Friend/Family Member:

  • Send birthday cards
  • Give thoughtful Christmas presents

Now it's time to break those yearly goals into monthly goals. Here's what I intend to accomplish in January:
  • Select at least three people for the Montessori For All Board of Directors.
  • Follow our project plan for getting our house ready for our move to Austin.
  • Find a good rental house in Austin.
  • Get unpacked and settled in Austin fast.
  • Read Strengths Based Leadership.
  • Read Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys.
  • Help Henry build his iron supplies with a green smoothie every day (he's slightly anemic).
  • Publish consistently on my two blogs.
  • Finish my sections for the Montessori book I'm working on with Kylie.
  • Participate daily in the Purposeful Conception e-course.
  • Read Love Medicine.
  • Run at least three times per week.
  • Do one sun salutation before bed every night.
  • Send birthday cards.
  • Plan my birthday party.
I have other ideas that I'd like to include in these lists (like a Feeding the Soil retreat!), but I don't want to overstretch myself. This is a lot. It's doable, but it's a lot. There's always next year.


Today on 2000 Dollar Wedding: My idea for a 5-year anniversary party in 2013.

REMINDER: The next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy starts this weekend on January 15. Register today! We'd love to have you join us!

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jannell said...

I just wanted to let you know that your goal-setting and pursuit of big, lofty ideals is consistently inspiring to me.

I've been reading since I planned/executed (with bundles of support and help from family and friends) a homespun wedding in 2010 and have followed you here ever since.

My family made a move to Louisville, KY last year, and it is a challenge to create (or work into) a network of friends and community from scratch. I think reading about your intention to organize community-fostering activities in your new location will be especially beneficial to me.

Today, I just felt like it was time to say... thank you!

Amy A. said...

Thanks for the great inspiration! Would love to see how it gets broken down further into weekly and daily goals!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thank you for introducing yourself, Jannell! I've met so many amazing people through this blog; I hope to meet even more this year!

Yes, it can be really hard to make friends as a "grown up." I'm nervous about leaving my support network in Houston, so I'm committed to actively building a new one for myself and for Henry.

Hi, Amy! You can find a breakdown under the tab "Organization" in the right-hand sidebar. I share my system of yearly --> monthly --> weekly/daily there. I'll also be sharing my modified system this week (the one I've been using as a stay-at-home-mom.

Justine said...

I would like to ditto what the other folks have said.

Thank you for your inspiration in my own life :)

I have always loved reading your intentions and I've meant to do it for myself and wanted to let you know that I have done for January! Working on the year goals for now as well...

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks, Justine. Comments really make this whole blogging thing worthwhile!

P.S. You should share your list of intentions in the Feeding the Soil community area:

Elizabeth said...

LOVE this inspiration! If you would allow me to nerd out as a brand-new yoga teacher, though, may I suggest something less awakening than a sun salute before bed? I don't know if you have a particular reason for doing the sun series (maybe you want to get your blood pumping, which it's good for!), but if you desire something relaxing, I would suggest maybe putting your legs up the wall, doing a few simple reclining twists, rocking with your knees pulled in at your chest, or even half pigeon pose. Ok, I'm sure you know what you are doing. Thank you for allowing me to practice thinking of relaxing postures :)

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