Intentions for 2012

It’s already over a month into 2012, and I’m just now getting my intentions for the year down in writing although they’ve been on my mind since the New Year’s class at the wonderful It’s All Yoga studio and haven for inspiration.

1) Spend my on-line time efficiently

No more sitting in front of the computer aimlessly wandering blogs, photos, social media, Twitter updates, NYT sections… In 2011, I fell in love with the constant stream of creativity, information, and inspiration, but I gradually realized that I just don’t have the time in my life now to consistently engage with it all. Life is too short to spend much free time in front of the computer screen! I’m still trying to figure out what will get the cut, but I know that much of it will happen naturally. What doesn’t serve me will float away and leave a tiny bit more space in my day for what I really need (sleep?).


What would I notice if I spent more time connected to what is around me and less time on the computer?

I thought about this more after reading this from Raam Dev: “How much time do you spend reading what others are spending time doing? Does the activity add regular value to your life or is it a grab bag of occasional usefulness? Unless we learn to self-moderate, we will risk self-sabotage.”

This doesn’t mean that I will blog less. It just means that my time on-line will be spent better. Lately I’ve noticed that certain types of interaction are more rewarding than others (Instagram = all fun; travel forums = usually a waste of time and therefore gone!).

railroad museum

It didn't take me long to get hooked on Instagram

And speaking of blogging…

2) More blogging and related projects

2011 was actually a good blogging year for me despite the facts that I had little time to write due to the arrival of my second child in January, and that my main inspiration, travel, was not a huge part of my year. However, I set up this self-hosted site, started my Facebook and Google+ pages, used Instagram and Pinterest for more engagement, joined Travel Blog Success, started a Tumblr blog dedicated to my photos, joined in the ArtSmart Roundtable posts, and watched my site slowly but surely grow.

My blogging intention for 2o12 is to stay focused: to grow parts of my blog that inspire me and others, to continue building relationships with other bloggers that are rewarding to me, to get a couple of important things done (a snazzy logo and an advertising page), and to focus on the topics that inspire me to write.

Kyoto temple

It's time to start planning return trips to Japan, Bali, Brazil, Italy, and the Netherlands.

I also intend to start planning some big trips, ones I have not been able to take due to the responsibilities of having 2 small children and working. Part of this will include researching possibilities for tours of the art in Italy, which I plan to lead in the next few years.

3) More fun!

I felt like I spent most of last year playing a catch-up game of one kind or another every weekday and weekend. Even my vacations were filled with tons of things to do. The busy-ness will not go away this year, and I’m embracing that because I have no option. I intend to make more of the time I do have no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

Looking forward to many more times like this recent stay on the California coast

Over my winter break, we spent a few days on the coast and took several day-trips in Northern California, and I felt really inspired to continue traveling in California. But there will also be some big trips this year. The details are not yet finalized, but I know we will spend a few weeks in Brazil this summer, and I hope to take a couple other exciting trips this year.

What about you? What are your intentions for 2012 and beyond? What can you give up to allow more space for what’s important to you?

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36 Responses to Intentions for 2012

  1. Shtina 02/05/2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Thanks for reminding me that “resolutions” are not just for the first week of January.

    • Jenna 02/06/2012 at 11:04 pm #

      Definitely! Intentions and “resolutions” are for always. :-)

  2. Jeremy Branham 02/05/2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Good plans for 2012 – I am with you on every one of these. Honestly, the one that struck a chord with me the most is #1 – I am HORRIBLE at this. I spend far too much time wasting time and not being as efficient as I could. If I only did that one thing better in 2012, I could accomplish so much more.

    Good luck on all of your goals!

    • Jenna 02/06/2012 at 11:03 pm #

      Thanks, Jeremy. Well, if you used all caps in the word “horrible,” then you must be really bad about how you spend your time online! To me, efficiency is key, and I find that as I cut out stuff, I don’t really miss it.

  3. Olive on Blonde 02/05/2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Absolutely loved this blog – well done!

    I agree with Jeremy and you… I am shocking at number 1. I do little bits or everything, mixed in with some good ol’ procrastination and end up having to stay up until 2am to get everything finished.

    Also loved number 3. Good luck with them all! Can’t wait to read about them. :)

    • Jenna 02/06/2012 at 11:02 pm #

      Thank you :-) I know what you mean about procrastinating online. I’m horrible at that. When I have something I need to get done, I often distract myself online for a bit instead of getting started on whatever it is I need to do. Trying to be better about that, though.

  4. Nicole - Woman Seeks World 02/06/2012 at 9:15 am #

    Great list! Its a nice reminder to ‘stop and smell the roses’ sometimes, and the point about aimless social media meandering definitely resonates with me too! Need to get better at that! All the best with your 2012! : )

    • Jenna 02/06/2012 at 11:01 pm #

      Thanks! I think the social media thing can be addictive at first, but then I lose interest after the novelty wears off. That’s good for me because I don’t have a lot of time for it right now.

  5. Laurel 02/06/2012 at 9:36 am #

    I’m with Jeremy, as well. I’m horrible at #1. I have really good intentions and then…I also like that one of your intentions is to have fun. It’s sometimes easy to forget to have fun when we get caught up with everything else.

    • Jenna 02/06/2012 at 11:00 pm #

      YES, fun is so important and we forget about it so easily. Good luck with fulfilling your intentions for #1. Sounds like it’s an issue for most of us! :-)

  6. monique 02/06/2012 at 10:14 am #

    I have been feeling/thinking exactly the same things as 2012 gets underway. Good luck with your plans for the year. they sound exciting! Spending smarter time online has been a challenge but a priority for me too, esp. since I tend to overdose on news. Commenting on your blog makes the cut though! For our family, this year finally brings intl travel back in the mix. with and 8 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old, seems the right time. I has renewed my passion for planning a big trip and reminding me why travel is *the* thing that makes me feel alive.

    • Jenna 02/06/2012 at 10:59 pm #

      It’s hard to moderate on-line stuff because there is SO much information! I can totally relate to your love of trip planning. Where are you going? The ages of your kids sound great for a big international trip. My just-turned-one-year-old will not make any travel easy on us this year, but we’ll see…

  7. Ashley 02/08/2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Oooh, art tours in Italy – keep me posted :-)

    I also want to restructure how my online interactions go – I’m just tired of wasting time browsing nothing for hours. Unplugging for most of January (besides keeping in touch with close friends and family) was fantastic, and definitely made me realize what I enjoy online and what has been a huge waster of time!

  8. Raymond @ Man On The Lam 02/10/2012 at 11:38 pm #

    I love that Raam Dev quote. It’s hard though to find a balance between creating and getting your name out there. Looks like you are well on your way though… :)

    • Jenna 02/12/2012 at 8:15 am #

      Yes, if it’s hard for normal people to find a balance, it’s extra hard for us egomaniacs :-)

  9. Emiel 02/11/2012 at 4:22 am #

    Great story Jenna!

    It seems that many of us (who started growing a blog and online engagement in 2011) are now searching for the need to focus. I think this is something good. It’s a natural process and indeed we cannot spend all our time online. Being consciously disconnected is becoming a virtue!

    I wrote about it the other day and just have a look at Gabi Klaf’s video on her blog called “Sorry”. She apologises for being being disconnected after realising she was missing out on the fun with her family during their travels. Of course she didn’t had to apologise, but she felt she was not living up to promises to her readers and friends. And that’s the major issue, growing your presence online means you feel the pressure of delivering more stories and starting up different online platforms.

    I also love that Raam Dev quote. I believe it’s time for online minimalism. Be online and tell your stories, but focus on the real (value-added) engagement. Be consciously disconnected at times, at least that is what I will be doing next summer in Asia.

    In summer 2013 we will be heading for California!

    Thanks for sharing this Jenna!

    • Jenna 02/12/2012 at 8:18 am #

      That story of Gabi makes me sad because I actually have to remind myself to disengage with the computer and spend more time with my kids sometimes. It’s not because I love the computer so much– it’s partly that when you have kids, it’s hard to have a little time to yourself. I like to be online sometimes, but it is almost always after they have gone to bed. Thanks for sharing, Emiel.

  10. Sophie 02/11/2012 at 6:13 am #

    Well said, Jenna. Social media and, in fact, the entire web, can be such huge time thieves. There’s so much fun and interesting, too, though. All about self-discipline, I suppose. Focusing on efficiency and fun does sound like the best plan.

    • Jenna 02/12/2012 at 8:19 am #

      Time thieves is a good metaphor. As you said, much of it is positive, but I feel better when I consciously moderate.

  11. Ana (Ana Travels) 02/11/2012 at 11:40 am #

    Jenna, I’ve made similar resolutions. Thanks for putting them in writing and reminding me of them!

    • Jenna 02/12/2012 at 8:19 am #

      Good luck with yours!

  12. Raam Dev 02/11/2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Jenna, as you can imagine, I can relate. :) I remember when I published that thought, I was realizing how there exists, quite literally, an infinite amount of knowledge, information, and ‘people’ with whom to connect with, listen to, and learn from. Literally, an infinite amount (thanks to the Internet). What does it mean to live and exist in a world where we have access to infinity? If we don’t step back and decide to let go of ‘infinity’, we will spend our entire life trying to catch up, convincing ourselves that “we’ll have time for doing that other thing later”. The only problem is, later will not come.

    We need to let go of what’s next and embrace what’s now.

    For the past two weeks I’ve been developing a daily habit of going for a 1+ hour walk in the forest with my phone turned off. What I realize is that being disconnected — missing all that ‘great stuff’ and all those ‘great conversations’ and discovering all those ‘amazingly inspiring people’ — missing out on all that is actually better than missing out on life. Spending a few hours in solitude walking in the forest with only my own thoughts to connect with, is actually healthier for my life overall than spending that extra time online.

    (I’m not saying there’s no point in being online; I just think we need to ‘self-moderate’ more frequently, become more conscious, deliberate, and proactive with our consumption habits, including quite simply the consumption of our own time. We need to sit with things a bit longer, go a little deeper, and be more intentional in general.)

    Thank you for sharing this post and for the beautiful photos. You inspire me to start exploring abroad again. (I cannot believe I’ve been in the USA for almost exactly 1.5 years since my trip to India… too long!)

    • Jenna 02/12/2012 at 8:27 am #

      Yes, the infinity of people & information is so exciting, and I completely agree that we shouldn’t shun the Internet because there is much positivity to exploring and engaging. I love your routine of taking a walk in nature every day. I wish I could do the same. When it comes to my phone, I actually stay disengaged most of the day because I have an old cell phone that is only for the purpose of receiving or making important calls. I enjoy being away from all that information for a good part of the day, and I worry that if I get a smartphone, I would have a hard time not checking it all the time.
      It’s hard to believe it has been that long since you got back (and that long since my last trip abroad as well).
      “We need to let go of what’s next and embrace what’s now.” So true, Raam. I have gotten much better about not worrying about what will come next and staying focused on today, but I often live in the future when it comes to exciting/fun things. For example, I often obsessively think about the next trip (see my intentions!). I have been cultivating more presence in the now but it’s hard :-)

  13. Abby 02/11/2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Intentions are so important — it’s going to be such a great year for you! Can’t wait to follow along.

    • Jenna 02/12/2012 at 8:27 am #

      Same to you, Abby!

  14. Andrew 02/12/2012 at 2:02 am #

    As others have said, the urge to grow a blog leads to #1 pretty heavily. My big problem is distractions. So much is “in your face” and flashy and popups and emails.. I went into Pinterest last night to look for the code for the Add button, which is a straightforward thing to find there. I realized after 20minutes I was just looking at pins and not finding my button.

    I’m going to definitely work on fewer distractions and not starting new projects until old ones are completed. Taking time for myself and my family. And when ti warms up, definitely more time outside. I wish I could manage an hour in the woods like Raam, but even a 20minute bike ride every night should do me good. Just not going out into -5F weather to do it.

    • Jenna 02/14/2012 at 8:34 am #

      I hear you about distractions. That is part of my point– I can get things done online if I am aware that some of it is just distractions that lead me nowhere. I also have plenty of projects I need to finish. What a feeling it would be to actually finish some of them! I think you inspired me to give that a try! 😉

  15. John 02/12/2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Jenna, you appear to have found the Catch 22 of travel blogging as a way of seeing the world. If you are active on social media, blog like crazy you can succeed. But then you have to continue with a high level of online interaction to keep the model afloat. There are other ways to support travel aspirations though.

    • Jenna 02/14/2012 at 8:31 am #

      True, but I never planned to use my blog as a main source of income because I have a demanding job and 2 small children. I blog because I love doing it and hope to use it to grow some travel-related projects in coming years. Also, I think I can still engage in plenty of online interaction but just be more efficient about it. Some platforms and types of interaction are less rewarding than others.

  16. Angela 02/13/2012 at 12:33 am #

    Excellent thoughts, Jenna, I so hear you. 2012 for me will definitely mean wasting less time online browsing with no actual plan and basically doing nothing, and going out instead, so that I have interesting to write about! I think Raam is very spot-on in stating this.

    • Jenna 02/14/2012 at 8:26 am #

      True, more going out makes for more productivity although we often think the opposite is true. We need to be refreshed and inspired to be productive.

  17. Nomadic Samuel 02/13/2012 at 7:43 am #

    Great list Jenna! I’m hoping to be a lot more productive/efficient this year myself.

  18. Cathy Sweeney 02/27/2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Great intentions. Mine aren’t quite so well-defined for 2012. I can totally relate to the amount of time spent online with social media — that’s why I’m writing this comment on the 27th and you posted this piece on the 5th! It can be very time-consuming to keep up with networking. But I also think it’s very important. At least I hope that it will result in growth of my audience and enhancement of my blog. However, it may be time to evaluate which social media networks I should focus on and which travel blogs I should continue supporting.

    • Jenna 03/02/2012 at 7:33 pm #

      Yes, I agree that the networking is very important, and I actually really enjoy it, but I just can’t do it all when I’m working. I still spend time on some on it but have decided to cut back on the things that I didn’t feel were beneficial. I look forward to the summer, when I’m on vacation, when I will be able to read more blogs and spend more time making connections.

  19. ehalvey 03/20/2012 at 1:20 pm #

    I kept meaning to comment on this, but #1 has bogged me down…

    Other than trying to not waste so much time online, I’m interested in Travel Blog Success. Do you mind me asking which program you chose? And, if you need an assistant for those art tours… :)
    ehalvey recently posted..Why Are Trains Romantic Whereas Planes Are Stressful Hell Machines?My Profile

    • Jenna 03/20/2012 at 9:56 pm #

      I hear you about the commenting… I always tell myself that I’ll come back to posts and comment when I have time, but of course that free time almost never comes. I will email you with more details about TBS. I have the basic program and have really liked it so far.

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