What does it mean to live intentionally?
Living intentionally means living your life in line with your fundamental values in pursuit of your “why”. Your ‘why’ is your purpose or your reason for being. Everyone’s “why” is a little bit different, and each of our journeys is unique.
Regardless of the goals we pursue, we can all benefit from living our lives more fully and intentionally.
In this post, I’ll answer some of your biggest questions about intentional living:
- What exactly does intentional living look like?
- What does it mean to live your life with intention?
- Why is it important to create an intentional life?
Ready to see if intentional living is right for you?
How Do You Live Intentionally? What Does Intentional Living Look Like?
So, how do you live intentionally?
You live intentionally by carefully considering the choices you make. And you make sure those choices are moving you in the direction you want to go.
You can be intentional about every aspect of your life. That includes the foods you eat, the habits you practice, the people you surround yourself with, the way you take care of your home. Your hobbies, the books you read, and the way you start your day can, and should, be done with your ultimate end goal in mind.
Living intentionally looks a little bit different for everyone. After all, we all have different goals, beliefs, motivations, and aspirations. But at its core, intentional living means having a purpose that you’re working toward. You set clear goals that guide your actions. And you do your best to make choices in alignment with that.
Let’s spend a minute talking about what intentional living is not.
It is not living your life on autopilot, moving mindlessly from one task to the next.
It’s not constantly questioning your motives, asking yourself why you’re doing the things you’re doing.
It is not feeling stuck in an endless routine.
Intentional living is feeling empowered to take action to make your dreams a reality and to live in a way that will help you achieve those dreams.
Why Is Intentional Living Important?
Intentional living is important for many reasons. It can totally transform the way you live your life, experience the world, and achieve your goals. The benefits don’t stop there.
Here are just a few positive shifts you’ll see from living a more intentional life:
- You’ll make more progress toward your goals – whether they’re physical, career, family, financial, personal, or otherwise.
- You will make decisions easier. Using your purpose to guide your decisions can take a lot of the guesswork out of making the “right” choice.
- You’ll be happier, knowing you’re living your life in alignment with your purpose.
Intentional Living: Centered in Core Values
For many, living intentionally starts with identifying your core values. Our values should be at the center of our being. They’re the things we hold most dear and cherish above all else. Once you have identified your values, your path to intentional living becomes clearer.
If you aren’t sure what you’d consider your core values, get a piece of paper and a pen and spend some time thinking about it. Ask yourself:
- What is most important to me?
- Which behaviors do I admire above all else?
- What do I believe to be true?
Whether you value family, helping those less fortunate, innovation, wealth, creativity, or something else, by living intentionally in alignment with your values, you’ll live a more fulfilling life.
How To Live Every Day With Intention
Ready to embrace a more intentional life? Here are some steps you can take to make every day one lived with intention and purpose.
Ask Yourself “Why?”
A great way to start living more intentionally is to question yourself more often. Make a habit of asking yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
“Why am I hanging out with her?”
“Why am I putting this food into my body?”
“Why am I letting this traffic stress me out so much?”
By asking yourself why you can begin to peel back the layers and understand the intention that’s driving your decisions. It also helps you check to make sure it’s in alignment with your values. If it isn’t, it’s a good opportunity to pause and pivot as needed.
Make Time For Self Care, Rest, and Self-Reflection
Life can get overwhelming sometimes. It can be hard to balance everything on your to-do list, and when things get particularly bad, it can feel like you’re just going through the motions. Sometimes you’re trying to move through the day as quickly as possible so you can tune out and relax.
When intentional living becomes a struggle, it’s more important than ever to pause, take a breath, and make sure you’re living in alignment with your purpose.
And instead of leaving whatever little time remains at the end of the day for self-care and reflection, make it a priority – and put it front and center.
Start your morning with a mindfulness journaling exercise, meditation, reading, or prayer. Do some stretching or schedule a yoga class. Block time to simply step away from work and get outside for a few minutes. Make time for a phone call with an old friend to catch up.
Do whatever works for you that will remind you to slow down and take a breath. Re-align yourself with the purpose that’s driving you forward.
Share a Little Kindness
Incorporate some kindness into your day to be more mindful and live more intentionally. By making it a point to go out of your way to help those in need, you accomplish a few important things:
- You gain some valuable perspective and a reminder to be grateful for the things you have
- You get to make the world a better, kinder place for everyone to share.
- Over time, you make kindness a habit – something more in line with a reflex than an extra effort.
Intentional acts of kindness can be a wonderful way to spread joy, lift up others, and remind yourself that at the end of the day, we’re all part of something bigger – which is something I like to remind myself of often in my journey to intentional living.
Make Intentional Purchases
If you’re on a mission to live more intentionally, you should make sure that the spirit of intentional living applies to every aspect of your life – including your shopping habits.
Making impulse purchases and splurging on things we don’t need can be easy, and it can feel good. But at the end of the day, it’s important to make sure the things we buy reflect our values and help propel us toward our goals.
By pausing before you buy something new and asking yourself a few thoughtful questions, you can keep yourself from accumulating unnecessary clutter. This can also help you reallocate the money you were going to spend to a greater purpose.
Watch What You Watch: Be Conscious Of Media
In today’s highly-connected world, we consume more media than ever before – often, without even realizing it. From physical advertisements to radio ads to endless targeted banners and sponsored posts on social media outlets, it’s impossible to escape and difficult to tune out.
The things we watch and listen to can help us achieve our dreams and live our values – or they can distract us, or worse, dissuade us from trying to make them happen.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has looked up to realize I’ve spent an hour of my life scrolling through my phone, looking at nothing at all – just wasting time and energy that could be spent much more intentionally.
By consuming media in a more intentional way, you can turn an unhealthy media habit into one that’s productive and beneficial. You can do this by:
- Doing some research into the news sources you follow to ensure you’re getting the best, most helpful information.
- Limiting your time spent watching the news and scrolling through your social feeds.
- Paying more attention to the way the media you’re consuming makes you feel – and staying away from the things that cause stress and weigh you down.
Be A Good Listener
Have you ever totally tuned out in the middle of a conversation? Started thinking about what you were going to say in response – before the person you’re talking to even finished their sentence?
You’re not alone. Many of us are guilty of being less-than-great listeners, which can have a detrimental effect on our relationships – and totally flies in the face of living an intentional life.
Listening with the intention of understanding is a skill that must be learned and an invaluable tool in your mission to live a more intentional life. Focus on the conversation at hand and work to simply listen.
That means not planning a response or arguing a point. Listen and ask questions to gain a greater understanding of the person you are talking to. Your conversations and your relationships will be more intentional and fulfilling as the person feels loved and cared for through your listening.
Work Toward Your Goals
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. It can sometimes feel like you’re stuck, or not making very much progress. When you’re feeling that way, it’s a good time to check in with your values and goals and make sure your actions are in alignment with what you hope to achieve.
As you live intentionally, each day should represent a small step forward in your journey to accomplishing your dreams and living your values. Let your values guide your day and your decisions, and you’ll end each day proud of the progress you’ve made.
A Bullet Journal Can Help You Live More Intentionally
Thinking about intentional living is one thing, but putting it into practice and actually living a more intentional, mindful life is something else entirely. Mindfulness can be a hard habit to instill, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll appreciate how effortlessly it feels to live an intentional life.
If you’re on a mission to live more intentionally but need some help getting started, a bullet journal could be a helpful tool! Bullet journals are often totally blank or have grided pages. The design is simple so that you can customize it however you want to.
By identifying your values and some steps you can take to live more intentionally, documenting them in your bullet journal, and tracking your progress, you’ll find it easier to make intentional living part of your regular routine.
Intentional Living: It’s A Lifestyle
Living intentionally is a great way to make life more meaningful and live by your values – but it doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just wake up one day and decide to live a more mindful life. It’s a life-long choice you need to make to better yourself.
Living an intentional life brings more benefits than I could ever capture in writing. Intentional living enhances every area of your life. It influences your relationships, your career, and your family to your hobbies, your health, and your spirituality.
Put these tips into practice, and you’ll quickly see how much of a positive impact intentional living can have on your life.
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