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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Fulfilling Intentions

Butterfly On Our Old Meyer Lemon Tree


Last week Pattie wrote a comment here that started me thinking.  She wrote that she calls the things on her “to do” list her “intentions” rather than her chores, and when she has finished them, she has fulfilled her intentions.  


It’s a brilliant idea – I like this much more than chores.   And I think that it can work for short term goals, and also longer term goals.  How many times have you intended to do something but just never got around to it?  Big things, small things – they both matter.  We only have one life, you know.


Are there things you’ve intended to do, but haven’t yet fulfilled?  Let’s hold ourselves accountable for them – right here, right now.  Let’s help each other fulfill them.


Here are five things I’ve had on my to do list for quite some time.  This week, I’m going to work on fulfilling these intentions:


1.  Walk more and eat fewer sweets, to lose those few pounds I gained over the winter.


2.  Work out a posting schedule for myself so that I don’t miss posting at One Green Generation.


3.  Manage my time better during the day, so that I can get more work done in less time.  This means stop getting sidetracked by blogs and websites, and stick to my daily goals.


4.  Finish that Community Urban Gardening Plan I’d started to create a few weeks ago.


5.  Start making one more meal per week from scratch.  It doesn’t have to be pretty!


There are other intentions I’d like to fulfill as well, like start saving money, film more of my grandfather’s stories and thoughts, compile my millions of words to create a book about sustainable living, read the backlog of books on my bookshelf, and much more.  But for now, I’ll stick to those five, and then maybe when I finish one, I’ll add another to the list.  We’ll see.


How About You?


Would you like to do this with me, work on fulfilling your intentions?  In the comments, write what they are for the week, or the month, or whatever time period you need for yourself.  And then spend the week, or the month, working to fulfill them.  I have the feeling once I begin to fulfill what’s on my list, I will feel more fulfilled overall.  Let’s see!


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18 comments to Fulfilling Intentions

  • This is grand! I’m going to write up a list of my intentions and link your post from it.

  • I’ve been doing something similar at home as a way to get our home improvements done. I have only posted about it once but am going to make it a regular post. I wrote out a master list of all the improvements, big and small, they need to be done. I went room by room to make it easier. I call it “Git ‘Er Done Saturdays” because I do most of the work on Saturday. This way I hope to have things the way we want them by 2010 so we can spend time on other things! I’ll link to it here when I post my master list.

  • Must be something in the air. :) Either that or it’s the “J” in our personality types. I’ve been doing the same thing. Last night I posted a list of the projects I intend to do this month:

    http://beecreative.typepad.com/bee_creative/2009/03/confessions-of-an-out-of-control-crafter-gardener-cook.html

    and one for lifestyle goals early last week:

    http://beecreative.typepad.com/bee_creative/2009/02/my-global-foot-print.html

    And I have one for the garden too. A few of the things from my combined list are to get air in my tricycle tires so that I can start taking some short rides, get set up for and get a couple baby chicks, to work a little every day on a wool quilt (with old wool blankets), and to make a skirt with some fabric I’ve had in my stash forever. And of course, more knitting projects for on the bus. I’m also working on a way of organizing my favorite recipes so that I use them as the ingredients are seasonal.

  • SusanB

    I like this, intentions versus chores, I also like picking 5 for the week. Here are my five for this week:
    1. Re-establish a regular workout routine — this week since I’ll be taking care of my boss’ dog that will probably mean long walks daily.
    2. Clean up the kitchen
    3. Review the seeds that I have, order the ones that I want but still don’t have, decide which ones need to be started when, and get some planted to start.
    4. Work at work
    5. Bake a cherry pie

  • I’ve been trying to get over my fears in the kitchen. I have these irrational fears… like baking bread from scratch (although I love to make pizza dough) or making pasta. I can now do both fearlessly, but not perfectly! It’s funny how I was so scared to do these things, but now I realize it’s not hard at all! Why was I so intimidated?

    Now I’m more likely to try new things.

  • Considering this post-topic and your great love of challenges, I can’t recommend 43things.com highly enough to you. It’s a social site completely devoted to goals — your life list of 43 things that you’re working toward. I’ve been a member there for almost four years (am on my second account), and the community and the tracking mechanism is amazingly helpful.

    Also, you can set your account up in such a way that you can easily cross-post entries — individual entries, and at will — to other blogs. Might make a lot of sense for projects like this one.

    If you want an idea of what a user’s profile page looks like, you can check out mine: http://www.43things.com/person/Utterings.

  • Right now I just have one, get back on track.

  • I have long called my “new years resolutions” intentions instead. Keeps me honest and I don’t feel so bummed if I fall a little short sometimes. Right now my intentions are to cut back on the excesses in our house and what we bring into it. Sustainable, here we come.

  • Melinda: Thanks for picking up on this and running with it! I wrote today on one of my blogs (www.sustainabledunwoody.com) about how I treat “March 4″ (March FORTH!) as my “New Year’s Day.” And since that’s tomorrow, the timing for rethinking “intentions” couldn’t be better!

    And, Melinda, I’ve been tossing this idea around for awhile (mostly in my head, but a little bit with Ed of The Slow Cook)–why don’t we do a book with a collection of blogger-written chapters about this whole sustainability thing? We could then promote the thing on all our blogs and cover a great deal of ground promoting it locally in all our home cities, etc. Maybe 20 of us. Or 51. One from every state (and DC). I’ll represent Georgia!

  • I love the concept of intentions – much more gentler to the spirit than goals. My immediate intention is to get the toy room and my bedroom&bathroom organized and cleaned.

  • My intentions (love the semantics of that) for the week are:

    1. Thoroughly clean one room in the house.
    2. Plan our Lenten-vegetarian meals for the month.
    3. Decide on seeds to order!
    4. Finish reading “In Defense of Food”.
    5. Stop stressing over Earth Week planning.

    I doubt that last one will be fulfilled!

  • Wording is everything! My intention list includes:
    1. finish planning what crops to plant now and through the rest of the year.
    2. complete the garden layout
    3. complete the yard layout (including fruiting trees and bushes
    4. finish the baby blanket for upcoming shower.
    5. install second rain barrel

  • I’m going to borrow your #3

    “3. Manage my time better during the day, so that I can get more work done in less time. This means stop getting sidetracked by blogs and websites, and stick to my daily goals.”

    because instead of writing a post for my blog, I”m reading yours! Oops.

  • [...] my natural instinct is to overdo things so that I lose sleep, put aside my personal life, forget to fulfill my intentions, and in general neglect my own health and well-being. I want to save the world, now now now! But as [...]

  • I’m so glad this hit home for you all!

    jadekitty & Jena, please leave a comment with the link to your posts so we can visit! I look forward to reading them.

    Deb G, cynical me says it’s the grey days, but it’s probably just because we’re smart. : )

    SusanB, Awesome. I’m a fan of long walks for exercise. When I first moved here and started walking everywhere, I lost a lot of weight very quickly… and then I ate sweets and now I have to walk it off again, but… : )

    Abbie, I don’t know if your browser will let you see it (it doesn’t seem to work well in most browsers anymore), but check out this post on my old blog.

    Lissa, Thank you. I have come across the link before but haven’t spent any time with it. Will do!

    Willo, great plan. I like it.

    the rachface, excellent!

    Pattie, Yes, yes, yes, yes! That sounds fabulous. I look forward to talking with you about it!

    Miko’s Girl, I love the idea of immediate intentions!

    greeen sheeep, Wow, what are you planning on Earth Day?

    Annette, “Wording is everything!” Indeed.

    Condo Blues, too funny.

  • Strangely enough, we have many of the same intentions. I love to live in the moment, but it’s so easy to get sidetracked on the internet!

    That and passing by a book sale and buying one more awesome read when I haven’t even read all the books I already own!

    And working out some real, tangible goal checkpoints for the community-building projects I have in store. I can see the vision so clearly, but taking those little step-by-steps can be difficult sometimes.

    Good luck Melinda! I’ll be linking back to this post from my own in the very near future. :)

  • Melinda,

    I am planning a whole week of Earth Week events for La Crosse, WI. Capped off with an Earth Day Fair, chocked full of activities: film festival, sustainable business expo, local foods fair, speakers, composting and rain barrel demonstrations, musicians, children’s crafts, puppet show, recyclable art class, exercise lessons (nia, yoga, and tai chi), the list goes on and on. A website ( http://www.greenlacrosse.com ) was developed to promote the event and become a local resource year round. Lots of exciting stuff in the works!

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