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It seems like everybody is talking about intentional living. But what exactly does it mean to live intentionally and why does it matter?
When I told my husband that my goal this year was to live more intentionally, he said he didn’t understand the concept. He asked how it was possible not to live intentionally.
I’m guessing a lot of people think of intentional living as my husband does. I am alive therefore I am living intentionally. But guess what? Merely existing is the opposite of intentional living.
I went through life merely existing for years, but it left me feeling directionless and empty. I knew I wanted to live a fulfilling life and that I didn’t want to just go through the motions.
This blog was started as a way for me to document my own experience living a life I loved and to inspire other women to do the same. I just didn’t realize I was getting into intentional living.
Fast forward a few years and two kids later, I found myself slipping back into simply existing and worse. I was anxious yet depressed and really unhappy with my life.
I wanted to get back to living my life in a way that was in alignment with my values and in a way that would get me closer to my dreams. So I did a lot of reflection, did a life audit, and made a five-year plan. To make sure I stay on track, I made a goal to build a habit of living intentionally.
What is intentional living?
The specifics of living intentionally are going to be different for every person, but it generally means living a more purposeful life.
Intentional living is identifying what is important to you. It means being more self-aware and living with a goal or direction in mind. It is saying yes to things that are in line with your goals and values and saying no to things that are not.
Living intentionally isn’t just a thing you do. Its a mindset and a way of life.
Living intentionally does not mean…
To add some clarity, it helps to look at what intentional living is not.
It doesn’t mean that you have your entire life figured out. First, you do need to determine a few things like your values and you should have an overall big picture goal for your life. But you don’t need to have all of the details for the next five years figures out.
Living intentionally doesn’t require minimalism. If one of your core values is lifelong learning, you can do that without getting rid of any of your belongings.
It is not about abandoning your responsibilities either. Even if you don’t value paying the bills or cleaning the house, you still need to do them. However, if you value family time, you may spend less time cleaning, so you can use that time for the family instead.
Intentional living is not supposed to make life harder. Yes, there will be times when making the right decisions will be harder. But overall, being intentional is meant to simplify your life. So if you are finding things difficult you may need to take a step back and look at why. Likely it is because you are trying to live your life with someone else’s core values.
So how do you live intentionally?
Living an intentional life isn’t as complicated as it sounds. You just need to take things day by day and do your best. While living intentionally looks different for everybody, here are five tips to get you on the right path.
1) Turn off your mental cruise control.
Most of the things we do and even the things we say are automatic. Being intentional requires you to turn the cruise control off and really think about things before you do them.
2) Decide what it is you want from life.
Now that cruise control is off, you need to decide what it is you really want from life.
3) Evaluate your current lifestyle.
Is the way you are living getting you closer to what you really want from life?
4) Develop a plan.
If you are not where you want to be in life, you need to develop a plan to get you there.
5) Take things one day at a time.
Changing how you live your life can be hard. Sometimes you will make mistakes. That’s okay. Just pick yourself up and try again.
What areas can you focus on?
You can pick whatever values and goals you want to focus on. However, if you need some ideas here is a list you can reference. These are just to get you started. Once you start to think about it a little, you will come up with your own areas to focus on.
- Health (intentional eating, exercise, healthy diets)
- Career ( work/life balance, ambitions, skills)
- Finances (savings, budgets, debt, income goals)
- Personal (self-care, mental health, self-growth)
- Home (organization, belongings)
- Relationships (spouse, children, friends)
Final Thoughts On Intentional Living
Life doesn’t have to be meaningless. You don’t have to go on merely living. Living an intentional life enables you to live with purpose and work toward your goals every day.
Have you made a decision to live more intentionally? I’d love for you to tell me in the comment box below!
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