Living life with intention and what it means.
Living life with intention is important because it takes you out of autopilot and adds richness and meaning to your life. You can set an intention through physical, mental or spiritual action.
“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO LIVE A LIFE WITH INTENTION?
Seeking pleasure and comfort is hard-wired in us and we can easily become distracted if we are not living life with intention. This becomes a problem when it destroys relationships, or we become bored by mundane routines, or turn to addiction.
When you live a life with intention, you are less likely to chase pleasure and comfort, like using social media, the internet, television, shopping, drinking or other addictive behaviors. You'll start embracing all of your experiences, not just the ones that feel good. Your connection to them will increase and become deeper, the more you practice.
Living a life of intention means creating a life that is more satisfying and less artificial. You'll be more likely to engage in activities that feel more authentic to you.
Helpful article: Your purpose in life: why you need to know it.
HOW TO START LIVING LIFE WITH INTENTION.
First, let's start with the definition of intention, which is to think or act in a way that is designed to produce an action or result. This might sound "businessy", but it can be built into the framework of your life. It starts with having greater self-awareness and self-reflection.
Becoming more self-aware means getting to know yourself better. Know your likes, strengths, weaknesses, values, beliefs, and what you stand for.
They act as your guide with every thought, decision, choice and action that you make. This doesn't mean that you'll become self-conscious or selfish. It means inviting a more heart-centered way of living.
Helpful article: Know yourself: simple steps to find the true you.
I hardly made time for self-reflection in my earlier years. It seemed frivolous, but really this was my excuse to avoid confronting past hurts and traumas.
Self-reflection opens the door to living life with intention. You can start with journaling each day. This doesn’t have to feel unpleasant or repetitive.
Start with expressing gratitude (giving thanks for something) everyday in your journal. Then work up to writing down your thoughts and feelings when you are more comfortable and can be very honest with yourself.
Once a week or once a month, read what you wrote. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself.
Helpful article: Gratitude journal: my 30 days of gratitude.
HOW DO I SET AN INTENTION?
Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Write your down answers to the following questions:
What are my values?
Knowing what your values are will help to define what is most important to you in life. Here are just a few examples of values:
Identify your top 3 values in life. Then think about an experience you had that was meaningful and is attached to those values. Or you can think of why you chose those as your values. Then ask yourself, "What is it about those values that make them important to me?"
What are your core beliefs?
Your beliefs are shaped from the time you enter into this world. Parents are the first people you most likely learned your beliefs from. As you grow older, other influences come into your life to mold your core beliefs.
They can affect your behavior, thoughts, choices, relationships and actions. This is why beliefs, especially negative ones, can be hard to change.
So write down your core beliefs. They can be categorized into political, spiritual, religious, ideological, career-oriented, or personal. Then investigate where your beliefs came from. Be honest with yourself and recognize whether or not they are limiting and if you want to change or keep them.
Once you start recognizing your beliefs, you will start to live a life with more intention. Athough if can be difficult to change, beliefs are malleable. Over time, you will form beliefs that resonate with you.
What do you stand for?
If you want to start living you life with intention, you have to know what you stand for. This intersects with your values and beliefs.
For instance, let's pretend that you value nature. As a hobby, you love going hiking through tree-lined trails and would do anything to protect all trees. So, you stand for the protection of the environment and people and organizations that support this.
A few more questions to ask yourself:
What is my passion?
Your passion can be a hobby or something you would do even if you didn't get paid for it.
What do I want to change about my current situation?
This is what you want to change around you or your surroundings.
What do I want to change about my inner life?
An example of this would be: I intend to stop criticizing myself so much.
What is stopping me from making these changes?
For the last 3 questions, think about why you want to change them and what is holding you back.
Be sure to keep your paper with in a place where you can see it constantly, like on your bedroom wall, in your wallet, in your purse or by your bed. This will give you motivation to live your life with more intention. You can update your answers on a regular basis if you feel like they don't mesh with you anymore.
Beliefs and values are not set in stone and they will change as the years go by. So it's a good idea to do a constant audit of your life. Remember when you were a child? What did you value? Is it similar to what you value today? Probably not. The most important thing to remember is to align your values and beliefs with your intentions.
You can start living life with intention simply by being honest with yourself. Take some time to get to know who you truly are so you can start to live a life that is more heart-centered. Living life with intention may not seem easy, but with practice, it becomes simpler, more enjoyable and more meaningful.
Thanks for reading to the end. I love feedback, so let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.