HOW TO BE INTENTIONAL EVERY DAY.
Sometimes we forget how to be intentional when life gets really busy and hectic. It’s very easy to slip into autopilot when our schedules are filled with to-do lists and errands on a daily basis. You can break out of the cycle by learning how to live your life with more intention in 12 simple ways.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INTENTIONAL?
When you’re living life with intention, you are also choosing to live life on your own terms. Not someone else’s definition of the way you should live your life.
For instance, if you’re choosing to backpack across the globe for a year instead of going off to college because your parents want you to, you are choosing to live a life of intention.
Therefore, it takes an act of bravery to live a life of intention because it doesn’t always agree with the status quo. Your values and beliefs may clash with people that you know and love, but you also realize what is most important to you in life.
When your behavior becomes more intentional, you:
- Become more self-aware.
- Define your values and choose to live by them.
- Have beliefs that align with your values.
- Create a life that is more meaningful to you.
- Discover what brings you great joy and happiness.
- Learn what you are truly passionate about.
- Stand for causes that resonate with your core beliefs and values.
WHY IS BEING INTENTIONAL IMPORTANT?
Being intentional is important because it feels empowering. You feel empowered because you are choosing to do something because you want to not because you should.
For most of my adult life, I was living the opposite of an intentional life. Most of the choices I made were because I thought I should be doing.
I was afraid of what others would think of me so I often chose to be safe rather than what resonated with me the most. Therefore, I wasn’t completely satisfied with many choices that I made.
When I started digging deep down to define what I really wanted in life, I started to live life with more intention. I started believing that I could go after what I wanted without fear of what others would think.
My life started to have greater meaning and purpose. I was finally able to enjoy the benefits of living a life with intention. I wasn’t trying to create more structure or routine, but simply enjoyed being, for the sake of it.
BENEFITS OF BEING INTENTIONAL
Becoming more self-aware is one of the benefits of living life with more intention. You have more clarity on what you like, your skills, talents, strengths, and limits.
You are choosing what you want to do, instead of what has been what was indoctrinated into you.
Over time, you discover what matters most to you in life when you’re living life with more intention. You're less likely to waste your time on things that are not meaningful to you.
You build up confidence in yourself and start to go after what you want in life without fear of what others might think.
HOW DO I BECOME INTENTIONAL?
Becoming more intentional does not have to feel intimidating. You may even feel afraid that you’re going to disappoint others if you’re choosing to do things your own way.
It can be scary but it doesn't have to hold you back. You can start living life with more intention with these 12 simple tips that you can practice each day.
“Be intentional about your life and what you want to accomplish, but understand there’s no choice you make that you can’t change.” -Gloria Feldt
12 WAYS TO BE INTENTIONAL EVERY DAY.
Be intentional with your time.
When you’re living life with more intention, you know why you are spending your precious time. You are not aiming for more productivity, or creating a routine, or filling your schedule with more to-do lists.
You simply become aware of how you want to use your quality time. Ask yourself these questions the next time you are thinking about how you want to spend your time.
- Why am I choosing this particular activity?
- Do I really want to spend my precious time on this?
- Is this going to add value to my life?
Being intentional in relationships
The time you spend time with the people that you care about is very important. You want your interactions to be meaningful and engaged, not shallow and passive .
I have to admit that my mind can be off somewhere else when I am interacting with someone. If you’ve ever done this, don’t feel bad. Just be kind to yourself. You'll be able to strengthen your relationship with others if you show yourself compassion, not guilt.
Building intentional relationships may time some time and practice, but the effort is well worth it. When you take the time to really be present with someone, you will enjoy your time with them that much more.
Being intentional at work
If you are not spending your time at work intentionally, minutes can feel like hours. In her book, “Do Nothing”, Celeste Headlee gives advice on how you can spend your time at work more efficiently.
The author experimented on herself for 30 days and found that she got more done in less time. She suggests putting your cell phone, email, and any distractions away from your work. Don’t even look at your clock.
Give yourself time for breaks when you feel tired or you’re losing focus. When you get back to your work, you’ll feel more refreshed and able to focus more intentionally on your work.
How to be intentional with a Higher Power.
A Higher Power is your belief in God, the Creator, the Lord, Divine Love, Infinite Spirit, or even the Universe.
Simply letting go may be all you need to become more intentional with a Higher Power.
This is not always easy and I admit I have trouble giving up control.
Letting go can help you release the burden of holding on to a desired outcome. It requires a lot of trust, but this will strength your belief and faith in a Higher Power.
Kindness requires intention. This is true if you’re doing an act of kindness for yourself or for someone else.
Being kind is not only intentional, it helps you become more engaged and makes you feel good inside.
Acts of kindness don’t have to be grand. They can be very simple and you can practice them every day. Here are just a few examples of random acts of kindness:
- Send someone a kind note.
- Smile at someone.
- Say hello to someone.
- Say something kind to yourself.
- Post a kind message on social media.
Expressing gratitude is a great way to become more intentional every day. When you are grateful for something, you take your focus away from lack, and instead redirect it to what you already have.
Gratitude creates more abundance in your life. It also makes room for more joy, even for the little things.
You don’t have to buy a gift to express gratitude. You can say just one thing you are grateful for every day. Here is a simple gratitude practice that you can try:
- Write down or say one thing you are grateful for each day.
- Take note of how you feel after you do it.
- Do this every day for at least a week.
- After 7 days, go back and read what you wrote or think about any changes that may have happened.
Know your purpose.
Knowing what your purpose is in life can help you become more intentional. It starts with getting to know who you are.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- Know your strengths and weaknesses.
- Define your core values and beliefs.
- Make a list of everything you love.
- Write down your skills and talents.
Now write down where you want to see yourself in 3 months, 6 months, and a year from now. Go back and look at everything you wrote. You will have a better idea of what you want your purpose and passion in life to be.
Get clear on what you want.
Becoming more intentional means knowing what you truly want in life. This eliminates wasted time on things that you do not care about.
You can begin by identifying your limiting beliefs.
Once you know this, you can release them over time and start making choices that are not defined by your fears or what you learned from society.
Dropping limiting beliefs also allows you to put up boundaries so you can say no easier to the things you don’t really want to do.
You can continue to release anything that is holding you back. This will create more room for insights and creativity on how you want to live your life.
One way to become more intentional is to prioritize the things that matter most to you.
1. You can start by writing down your core values and beliefs. Your core values and beliefs are the things that are most important to you in life.
- For example, you highly value spending quality time with your family.
2. Write down why your values and beliefs are important to you. Your why is important because this is the reason your values and beliefs are meaningful to you.
- Let’s take a look again at quality time spent with your family. The reason why you want to spend more time with them is because you love them very much.
3. When you know what your priorities are, you are more likely to place them at the top of your list and live your life with more intention.
Be intentional with your goals.
It’s great to have goals because they are necessary to get things done. It even feels validating and fulfilling. However, you want to make sure you’re not getting too focused on them.
I used to think having lots of goals and reaching all of them made me more efficient and productive.
What I really did was stretch myself too thin and would anxiously rush through each one just so I could get them all done.
Limit your goals to 3-5 per day.
You will be able to do more with less because you can focus on each one with more intention and energy. Experiment with the numbers until you find your sweet spot of goals you want to accomplish every day.
Slowing down is an awesome way to be more intentional each day.
When I was a dental hygienist, working quickly was part of my job. A part that I didn’t like very much. It used to make me anxious because I was constantly worried that I would be late for my next patient.
I discovered that slowing down, even for just 5 minutes, helped to calm my nerves by bringing my attention to whatever it was I was doing at the moment.
This simple technique helped me bring my mind back into reality and out of the worries that constanly occupied my head. It takes patience and practice to appreciate the full benefits of slowing down.
You can try just 5 minutes a day of slowing down. Start at any point in your day to enjoy being in the present moment. Or use it as a calming technique when you feel anxious or rushed.
Get adequate rest.
Last but certainly not least, get some rest, and listen to your body.
You’ve heard this a million times before but getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night has so many benefits. I know this is hard for some people, so if you can’t, try to nap during the day or even sit down for a few minutes.
Getting enough rest every day gives you energy and focus.
If you channel your energy and focus, you can point it towards something more meaningful to you.
Life can get so busy sometimes that it’s easy to forget that it is more than just being productive and efficient. When you are more intentional with your life, you create space for things that give it meaning and make life worth living.
I would love to read your tips on living life with more intention! Please share in the comments below.