Everyone’s journey to live more intentionally will look different. On my journey, I noticed 5 things I needed to work on if I wanted to figure out how to live more intentionally.
5 tips on how to live more intentionally:
1. Look at what you have in your home
Our homes should be a place of refuge. However, so many of us have accumulated so much clutter that it’s hard to feel any sense of peace or relaxation at home.
In my journey to live more intentionally, I needed to look at what I owned and what was taking up time and space in my home. Having too much made me feel anxious and overwhelmed.
As I began to work through decluttering my home, I had to face different reasons I had been hanging onto the clutter. Each step I took in decluttering helped me to feel like my home was becoming more manageable.
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We are impacted by our surroundings. Decluttering allowed me to have only the items I use and love remain in my home. Living intentionally means also being purposeful in what you own.
2. Slow your spending
A key part of how to live more intentionally for me was paying more attention to how I was spending my money. If you haven’t been used to tracking your finances, it can be quite eye-opening when you realize where your money has gone by month’s end.
After I became more aware of how I was spending money, I was able to make adjustments where needed. Early on in my journey, this meant re-evaluating how often we ate out in restaurants. Those amounts seemed to add up fast and weren’t too hard to change.
I also looked at what monthly subscriptions we were paying for and decided to quit some and change subscriptions on others. As I was paying more attention to our budget, I did some price comparisons to see what bills could be lowered or eliminated.
I implemented a 24 hour waiting period before making purchases. That provided clarity on whether or not I really wanted to spend money on that item. I’d already experienced regret from past purchases. I didn’t want to repeat those mistakes.
Learning to live more simply in a consumer culture, takes time and effort. To live more intentionally, be aware of where your money is going. Is your spending reflecting your values? I was challenged to be more purposeful in where my money went. It wasn’t easy, but the savings paid off!
3. Evaluate your schedule
After evaluating our finances, I realized I also needed to examine my personal schedule as well as our family’s schedule. If I wanted to figure out how to live more intentionally I needed to make sure we had plenty of margin in our schedule. In order to create that, I learned to say no and say it often.
Living intentionally forced me to think about what mattered most and my priorities. If I’m saying that my kids need plenty of family time as well unstructured time for creative and imaginative play, then I can’t fill their schedule with other commitments.
I don’t want to be overscheduled and I don’t want my kids to be either. This meant letting go of some things I had enjoyed for at least this current season.
I opted not to sign my kids up for after school activities. My youngest daughter started kindergarten this past year. I knew the schedule adjustment with her being in school full time would be a lot. I didn’t want to add after school commitments on top of that.
Every individual and family get to decide what works best for them in whatever season they find themselves in. People have different comfort levels with busyness and activities.
The most important part is being intentional is being thoughtful and purposeful in what you say yes and no to. Your schedule should reflect your values and priorities.
We live in such a busy and overcommitted culture. By default, it’s easy to get sucked into that as well. But when you are clear on your values and goals, it’s easier to say no when those opportunities arise.
4. Consider your relationships
Another aspect of life I needed to look at on my journey to live more simply and intentionally was my relationships. In a social media culture, I want to make sure I was being intentional with how I communicated with people.
I didn’t want to pretend that by simply reading my friend’s Facebook status that I really knew what was going on in their life.
Am I noticing the needs of others? Am I being the friend, sister, daughter, mom, and wife I want to be? How could I be more intentional in the relationships that matter the most to me?
I want to be aware of the needs of others and reach out and help when I can. In order to do that, I need to not be focused on just myself. In choosing a slower pace of living, it allows me to be more aware and available for the people in my life so I could be the friend I want to be.
5. Control your media consumption
In working to live more intentionally, I needed to evaluate my media consumption. Social media, emails, and everything else our phones can do can use up a lot of our time if we’re not careful.
Living intentionally meant being purposeful in how and when I use my phone.
I’ve worked to put people ahead of devices. I don’t want to ignore the people who are right in front of me because I’m distracted by notifications on my phone.
Keeping my phone on silent most of the time helps with that, but likely also annoys people who actually are trying to get a hold of me. I also set limits on certain apps on my phone so I don’t spend more time than I intend on social media.
In looking at how I use my phone, I also began to more carefully look at the messages and voices that were speaking into my life. I evaluated who I follow on social media and the emails I was subscribed to.
Who you follow
I chose to unsubscribe and unfollow sources that were not helpful in my goal to live more simply and intentionally. I looked for people and groups that would be supportive of my goals. Simplify & Declutter is a Facebook group I created to help support and encourage each other.
I’m encouraged by the people who’ve gone before me on this journey. I choose to fill my mind with the words of those on the same path looking to live more simply and intentionally in their lives as well.
If you want to learn how to live more intentionally, focus on your home and how you’re using your money, time, and attention. Living intentionally takes thought and effort, but living a more purposeful life is worth it.
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