Thriving and The Power of Setting Intentions Aligned with Your Values

Prune Away What’s Keeping Us from Thriving 

Something I’ve appreciated about gardening over the years are the rich metaphors it provides for a life well-lived. There is something about stepping through the garden gate in my mind and considering the questions I’m being challenged by, through the lens of tending to my garden, that energizes me, expands my perspective, and helps me find my way forward.

Allow me to lighten the load of our self-reflective inquiry by using the garden as a metaphor. Ask yourself:

Toni Gattone and her Carona pruners
Toni Gattone using her Carona pruners

What needs to be pruned out of your garden and your life?

Toni Gattone sits back with her feet up

The purpose of pruning is to remove anything that is dead, diseased, or crossing through the middle, in order to promote new growth and increase the overall health of the plant.

As with pruning your garden, perhaps in this new year it’s time to consider eliminating situations that drain your energy and letting go of negative people who weigh you down.

Tending to your wellbeing in this way will create more space and ease in your life.

Similarly, while you’re In your garden, consider the tasks and activities that zap your energy and how you can change it so that you come away from your time caring for your garden, more vital and inspired.

Perhaps, you’re like me, and it would help you to let go of working or sitting for long periods of time without getting up to move or take a break. One of the ways I’m focused on creating more ease while taking care of my gardening tasks is by not doing repetitive tasks that use the same muscles for more than twenty minutes at a time. I’m taking better care of myself by giving myself the gift of spaciousness, to allow more flexibility in switching to do other tasks so that I’m using different muscles, which will prevent pain from occurring. 

Toni Gattone prepares for the season ahead with her notes and seeds

Welcome 2022 By Setting Intentions and Planting Seeds

Typically in the month of January, we would declare our resolutions and set goals for ourselves for the new year. With the rate at which our world is changing and how we’re needing to adapt, setting annual resolutions seems outdated and doesn’t really support us in embracing the changes needed to take the best possible care of ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our planet.

So, for this year, how about shifting from proclaiming year-long resolutions to intentionally identifying places in your life, your health, and your garden, where you can add more love, care, attention, beauty, and ease.

There’s something about taking the whole year and chunking it down to bite-sized, monthly pieces, that can keep us more connected to why we’ve set the intentions we have, which keeps us energized and engaged.  This is the less stressful, more joyful approach to goal setting.  Are you in?

Compass pointing in the direction of a heart

Aligning Your Choices and Actions with Your Values

Something that has been really helpful for me in identifying my intentions is to reconnect with my core values and what is truly important in my life. Maybe this question will help …

What intentions can you set and steps can you take that will support the positive changes you want in your life, in a way that aligns with your values and creates more possibility and wellbeing?

For Your Mind

Our minds tend to be more at peace when our choices and actions are congruent with what we say is important to us. Taking time to reflect on what you care about, what you want more of, and what you’d be happy to leave behind will bring more calmness and clarity of mind. 

For Your Body

If you’re like me and your body is changing, and things aren’t quite working the same way they used to, ask yourself, what can you do to adapt to it? What changes can you make this month to create more ease in your body? As Marie Kondo says: “What brings you joy?”

For Your Spirit

When we slow down enough, to pause and ask ourselves the question, “what’s really important to me and in my life right now?” — AND we listen for the answer, this is how we stay connected with what matters most and what will feed and fuel our spirit.

For Your Garden

To create more comfort, joy, and ease in your garden, consider what you can do to lower your maintenance tasks and activities? If you’re being affected by our changing climate and extreme weather events, consider how you can adapt and what steps can you make to create a drought-tolerant and fire-wise landscape?

Whether you’re thinking about your life as a whole, your personal wellbeing, or how you’ll tend to your garden, the philosophy is the same. The consistent focus you place on taking better care will determine the level of thriving, vitality, and vibrancy. Thoughtful, meaningful action inspires and ignites more of the same and greatly reduces our anxiety, so we can change what’s not working. 

Leaning In With Intention and Attention

One of the big changes I’m making in my life is that I’m seeing a nutritionist and incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet to alleviate inflammation, to help reduce the pain from arthritis. I have also vowed to increase my exercise to help keep the physical challenges I experience day-to-day at bay.

I’ve always been a seeker, and at 73, the thing I’m searching for, that can be quite elusive for me, is more ease and comfort in my life. I find that so ironic because it is the very thing I speak and write about, and how I sign every book … 

Toni Signing a Copy of The Lifelong Gardener
Here's to ease and joy! Ciao, Toni Gattone

… proving once again, Mom was right:  “We teach best what we most need to learn.”

The Wisdom and Power of Rest

If you too have been feeling stress and anxiety about what’s going on in the world in your work, or families,, why don’t you join me in front of a fireplace, where I’ve been practicing the fine art of drinking tea and just being.

Tim is the “King of Being”
I am the “Queen of Doing”

(He’s right!)

Author Toni Gattone relaxes at home with Tim and her gorgeous tabby

My husband Tim is really good about reminding me how important it is to “be.”

Which is why I’m slowing down this train and taking a break for a minute. The winter months have an inviting way of encouraging us to slow down to rest, restore, and refocus our energy — all of which helps us to reimagine what’s possible when we’re in our doingness. And what’s different this year from last year, is that I’m committed to taking better care of myself, while taking care of my business.

girl at a waterpark

“You can’t be the kid standing at
the top of the waterslide overthinking it.
You have to go down the chute.”

– Tina Fey

What’s Coming in 2022 for The Resilient Gardener Community

I love every opportunity I have to share time with my gardening enthusiast community and have several speaking engagements already lined up in the coming months.  I’m also already working on my next post to inspire your 2022 garden planning and Spring planting.

I’ll continue to share more about how to adapt your landscapes and homes to be drought-tolerant and fire-wise, and I’m even starting to dream up ways that I can share the information, resources, practices and techniques with you from the seminars and talks I’ve been doing the past few years, in a way that is accessible anywhere, engaging, and fun.

I’ll end for today by asking you: What are you letting go of that is no longer serving you and what changes are you willing to make so that your life reflects and supports your values?

“Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.” 

– Betty White

Betty White

If this post has resonated with you or inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts. Reach out to me at I’m here for you. 

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2022 filled with, yes, you guessed it: Ease and Joy!!

9 thoughts on “Thriving and The Power of Setting Intentions Aligned with Your Values”

  1. Hello! I heard you speak with Margaret Roach on her last week’s podcast. What a fun interview and very timely as I’m 65 and realizing that it’s now much harder to get up from the ground and complete some basic garden tasks without pain. Love your website!

    • Thanks so much, Dale. I’m so glad you love my website. I have an amazing team behind me that keeps my brand out in the world. It’s so true… getting up has become more of a challenge in the last several years, so all the more reason why I am increasing my walking and movement. Do you have a reversible kneeler bench? It comes in handy in the garden, so much so, I have several of them. You can see it on my store on my website, and also on my Amazon store:

  2. I will have to make lots of changes this year if I am to continue gardening due to health concerns. Last year I had the grandchildren come and help me spread the mulch and we were done in no time! This year I will have a garden party for all three grandchildren to help clear the way in making my garden presentable in the spring and then we will follow it with a pizza party! I will give each a specific task to accomplish and, of course, I will work with them taking frequent breaks as dictated by my body. I know they love to see the little lizards and butterflies and birds that frequent my garden, and I hope that will be a stimulus for them to help in my time of need.

    • Fay, I am over-the-moon happy to hear how you are adapting your garden with your grandchildren and I love that you end it with a pizza party! That is perfect! I will mention your creative solution with my readers and clients, so THANK YOU for sharing this. Keep me informed and send pictures of your next garden party!!

  3. Hi Toni,
    I’m with Diana. That reversible stool is definitely on my list. I’ve been putting it off, and I plan to gift myself this for my spring gardening! I so enjoyed your blog. Keep them coming.
    Sending love, health and huge hugs to you and Tim!

    • Terrie, It’s so great to hear from you and it’s lovely to know you are enjoying my blog. I do intend to keep them coming… I just wish there were more hours in the day, week, or month when I could publish more often. Check out my online store for that reversible kneeler. Meanwhile, I could always make time to see you! Lunch soon?

    • I’m telling you, Terrie, I can’t do much gardening without that reversible bench because I can get down but I can’t get up and now it’s worse with dreaded arthritis. Be well.


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