January 2023 Editor's Note: Intentionality

December 2022

by stephanie toews, executive editor

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful. To be honorable. To be compassionate. To have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Hello January, the month when the holiday dust settles, the décor is packed away, and we settle in for the rest of Montana’s long winter months. Many of us will vow to get organized, healthy, or establish new rhythms, only to throw in the towel by January 14th. But what if 2023 could be filled with more than empty promises and short-lived resolutions? What if it could be a year of realistic goals, habits, and intentionality?  

Intentionality is defined as: the fact or quality of being done on purpose or with intent, an attitude of purposefulness, with a commitment to deliberate action. 

Living intentionally requires a choice - a purposeful selection of how we spend our days and a commitment to creating the life we want. While many things are out of our control and plans rarely go as planned, we can choose to live on purpose no matter what is thrown our way.  

According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, happiness is not life’s purpose. It is a fleeting and subjective pursuit based on circumstances. Instead, a life well-lived consists of several character components to strive toward and will result in joy, unshaken by circumstance. 

  • Usefulness- contributing well to others with our time, talents, and treasures 
  • Honor- being true to our word, honest, and integrity-filled 
  • Compassion- showing consideration for others, empathy, and care 

For those with growing children, this may look like a decision to soak in each long day and short year. For the overworked, it might look like the thoughtful choice to pursue rest and time away, rejuvenating and refocusing. For the married, prioritizing connection amid life’s endless demands through daily uninterrupted conversation, routine dates, or time away together. For the retired, a new hobby or volunteer opportunity. For the health-conscious, small attainable goals and changes make a large long-term difference. For finances, a monthly budget, retirement savings plan, allocating funds for vacation, or paying off debt.  

While there is an abundance of ways to fill up our days, we must each decide the most important things we want to devote 24 hours each day to pursue. A new year is a beautiful time to reflect on what’s working well and what could use some shifting. What areas can you commit to the implementation of intention? 

So, while we are bundled up and hibernating, let's choose to live every moment we’re given this year intentionally. Happy New Year! 



Originally printed in the January 2023 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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