It’s been a few years since I decided I needed to practice living with intention. And wow has it been a fantastic journey – one that I am still on. What I thought it meant at first is nothing compared to what it actually means in my life.
I guess I’m trying to say that I went into it thinking I needed to live with intention for one reason, expecting a particular outcome, and realized along the way I didn’t totally get it at first. And as I continue on the journey it continues to adjust as needed.
It’s easy to say that we should live with intention. And even easier to suggest that someone else does. The magic happens when you start to understand it and actually implement it.
Living With Intention: Finding Your Purpose
The first step to living with intention is figuring out what’s important to you. I thought this was very obvious in my life, but as I went through my transformation I quickly realized I needed to define my purpose.
The beauty of it is that I can redefine my purpose at any given moment, and so can you.
At first, I thought things that had to do with my job were important. For example, my schedule, my commute, and constantly being on call. Those were all things I was unhappy with at the beginning of this journey. And it took some time to realize that I was defining them as important to me, rather than understanding that they were on my list because they were draining me.
When I adjusted my definition of ‘important’ I started to realize that I was giving a lot of energy to things I didn’t like and wanted to adjust. That’s when I started to focus on things I wanted to add to my life, to offset things that were bothering me.
I started to balance my frustrations with things that made me happy. Things that gave me a purpose.
Here are a few adjustments I made at the beginning of my journey:
- Instead of focusing on the unending traffic during my commute, I listened to audiobooks to pass the time. I love reading and getting lost in a good story. Adding something that I enjoyed to a frustrating point in my day really changed my view of my commute.
- When I had to work night shifts I made sure to spend the morning and first half of the day doing something I love. I would go for a hike or a bike ride, spend time on a hobby I love, like knitting, or try out a new recipe. This really helped me feel like I did something I wanted with my time rather than letting the fact that I had to work the late shift take over my day.
- My job had me on call 24/7. So on certain days, I would tell my assistant I was unavailable except for emergencies. This allowed me to disconnect from work which was something I really needed to create balance in my life.
I shifted my way of thinking to focus on what was important to me instead of what I was unsatisfied with. In the beginning, this helped tremendously. Now it happens naturally. What’s important to me is always at the forefront of my life and the decisions I make now.
Make Decisions Based on Your Values
I spent many years with a company that had robust core values. I loved it and was personally aligned with them. So when I started practicing living with intention I immediately went to those core values in my head. And you guessed it, it got me nowhere.
Most times business core values are much different than personal core values. So I spent some time brainstorming about values that resonated with me. This is just part of my list of values: honesty, integrity, positivity, passion, kindness, following dreams, protecting the environment, treating people with respect, and the list goes on.
So I started to make sure that as I made decisions in my life, focused on what was important to me, and interacted with others, I always kept my values at the forefront.
The biggest effect this has had on me is that I make decisions much more swiftly now. I stay true to myself, and what I believe in, and know where I stand on things that are meaningful to me.
My values haven’t changed over time. Instead, I have found that I continue to add to them. And I notice that living with so many values that I am proud of and want to be part of my life makes me much happier.
I feel good about myself, my decisions, how I interact with people, and overall who I am as a person. And I am conscious of that because I am living with intention.
Be Mindful – Intentionally Live in the Present
This has been huge for me. I started practicing mindfulness (more on that here) long before my focus on living with intention – even though they really go together so seamlessly.
Being mindful means that you are aware of yourself, your environment, your surroundings, and your emotions and feelings.
The more attentive to the present moment you are the more you’re aware of how you feel. You start to understand yourself better. Then you’re able to make more thought-out decisions because of your awareness. This is you living with intention.
The more present I am and mindful of myself and my surroundings the happier I am. I keep myself in this state as often as possible because it is such a lovely place to be. I am not worried about what will happen in the future, or stressing over the past.
Instead, I am in the present, making decisions that will have an effect on my life in a way I want it to because I chose something in the present moment intentionally.
Understand Your Goals While Living With Intention
Having goals helps you live with purpose in your life. You are mentally preparing yourself for what you want in your life. Achieving goals can help build confidence and give you the positive reinforcement you may need to continue setting goals.
When you understand what your goals are you make a path to success to achieve them. Throughout the process of setting and achieving goals, you’re living with intention. You’re in the moment, being present in where you are now, and visualizing where you want to be.
The entire process of living intentionally is that you’re in tune with yourself and make decisions based on what you want and what is important to you.
Stay true to yourself as you start your journey of living with intention. Adjust as necessary and continue being present, true to your values, and setting meaningful goals for yourself.
Let me know how your intentional living journey is going in the comments below!