There seems to be a wave of consciousness and growth taking place during these times. People are reflecting quite a bit and one of the common goals that is on the rise is intentional living. You may be wondering “what exactly does it mean to live intentionally anyway?!” While intentional living is a journey unique to each individual, there are some common themes related to this lifestyle change. In a nutshell, to live intentionally is to align your everyday choices to the values that you have and the things you are passionate about. These are the factors that will determine your lifestyle and will ultimately drive your goals in life.
When you aren’t practicing intentional living that might look like mindless behaviors, habitual decisions, or simply going through life without any goals at the forefront of your mind. It’s easy to fall into this pattern of living without even realizing it. However the good news is that anybody can begin the journey to a more purpose filled life at any point in time.
What does intentional living look like?
The choices one begins making when switching over to a more intentional life might include financial goals, reconsidering their circle of friends, or even health related changes such as fitness or diet regimens. These decisions can also look different over the course of your life, which is a sign of growth! After all the only constant in this journey of life is change. All that is required is that you take it one step at a time. Speaking of steps, here are some to help you jumpstart intentional living.
- Decide to begin. To begin is a decision in itself and the first one you’ll make toward intentional living. Think about the kind of life you want to live and what it is you want to accomplish. Write these things down so that they become more concrete.
- Evaluate your thoughts and actions. You’ll want to evaluate yourself and your life as it is. Give some thought to why you do the things you currently do. It helps to even consider why you don’t do certain things – the things that would lead to more progress in your life. When you’re able to identify your motives for doing or not doing things you’re able to learn so much more about yourself, which will lead to you making more conscious decisions.
- Identify your values and beliefs. A vital piece to living a more intentional life is having an awareness of your core values and beliefs. These serve as a GPS for your life as it directs the course of action you take on a daily basis. It essentially even makes decision making much easier as each decision would align with those core values.
- Filter through your habits. Take into account your daily habits. Believe it or not, these are actually old decisions that have become habitual. By reflecting on them, you can decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss. Figure out which of your habits will serve your new lifestyle.
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- Set daily intentions. Ultimately, living intentionally directs you toward achieving big goals. However, it’s very important that each baby step along the way aligns with those big goals. While your goals may not be set for you to achieve them in the immediate future, you can take steps in the right direction on a daily basis by setting smaller intentions. For example, making small decisions about your daily spending habits will contribute to the ultimate goal of financial freedom. Those little steps will definitely add up and maximize the results of your intentional living. They’ll even build you up for being able to maintain that end goal once you reach it.
- Consistency is key. “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.” The fruit of your decisions stems from whatever you choose to practice (or not practice) on a daily basis. So as you keep the aforementioned steps in mind, the key to their effectiveness is in the degree of consistency you apply. When you initially introduce these changes into your life, it may seem overwhelming and possibly defeating if you have any pitfalls. Nevertheless, giving up is not an option. Each day try to make it a point to take just one more baby step. When you look back 6 months or a year after you decide to begin, you won’t recognize the old you if you strive for consistency.
- Be present. When we truly accept that the present is the only moment that matters, we are able to engage with life more authentically. Being present will allow you to be more mindful, which will make all of the above that much more possible and manageable. Being mindful means to be self-aware, reflective, and grounded, all ingredients necessary for intentional living. It leads to stronger and clearer decision making. It even allows your communication skills to develop in a healthier way, strengthening your relationships with others as you embark on your new lifestyle.
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One of the practices of those who live a life of intention is journaling. This is a great tool for increasing mindfulness as it increases self-awareness. Here’s a list of 10 questions to consider along the journey of intentional living, which can also serve as reflective journal prompts.
- What kind of life do you want to live?
- What am I passionate about and why?
- What motivates me on a daily basis?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- What is something I would love to learn?
- What is something I’ve always wanted to do but felt too scared?
- What was a time when I was at my best?
- What does success mean to me?
- What do I need to stop doing to live a richer/happier life?
- What do I want my life to look like in 3 years?
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Intentional living is not an overnight process. Nonetheless it is a very valuable and rewarding one. In the long run you’ll be able to detect your genuine happiness increasing as you live a more purposeful life. Life is nothing more than an infinite amount of choices and you get to make them for yourself. Accept responsibility for those choices. It is a conscious decision to live with intention every day. It won’t happen on it’s own. Make that decision today and step into your future with the confidence that you are capable of creating your own joy. You’ve got this!
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