Living Intentionally is a terminology I see from time to time as I tour around the web. Living Intentional Life. I’ve never thought to research it, but I’ve recently begun thinking that it’s a phrase that sums up what this website is really all about.
Live Intentionally and with purpose.
Don’t waste your life.
Know what you want and what you don’t.
Strive everyday to improve your life.
A Year From Today you will look back
and you will be proud of what you’ve achieved.
Until I started writing this article, I’d never really researched what it means to live an intentional life.
I’ve always had my own idea about what intentional living meant. Today I want to find out if others think the same way I do about how to live an intentional life. I also want to understand if the life I’m trying to live matches with the standard and widely-accepted definitions of living intentionally.
Do I live intentionally?
It’s a good question. I started to answer this by evaluating what I do on a typical day. Here’s how my typical Saturday morning goes.
- Check my to do lists in Evernote, note the top 5 things I want to do today. And get distracted.
- Check and clear work and personal emails and unsubscribe from any junk mailing lists that I never read. And get distracted.
- Check Facebook. And get distracted.
- Go to Pinterest. And get distracted. Pin a bunch of things to read later on. I never do.
- Check the Wealthy Affiliate home page and reply to a few calls for help from other forum users. See if I can offer anyone assistance. And get distracted.
- Open my website back end and work on my next post/s
- Gather and edit images that I can add to my next post
- Doing my research, I open another 7 or so websites and interact with the authors. And get distracted.
- Eventually I will finish a new page or post, share it on social media and the morning is complete.
- Somewhere in there I fit doing the dishes and a load of washing, plus getting myself ready for the day.
- Then it’s time to work on those top 5 things I want to achieve today.
Now, I’m not diagnosed, but I’m starting to think I have adult ADHD. For years I was constantly lacking in attention and easily distracted. I jumped from project to project rather aimlessly, and whilst I did usually finish things eventually, my perfectionism and procrastination made things take much longer than I wanted and my distractions plagued me. I did get very frustrated with myself.
What has all this got to do with Living an Intentional Life?
Well, I have a lot of Saturday mornings in my life. For many years they were far less structured and I was far more distracted.
Nowadays they have been much like the one above, but without the part about “And get distracted”. So something is changing in me. And it feels like it happened intentionally.
I’m changing my way of thinking and my way of living. I’ve formulated plans and goals that are setting me up for future success. Success in my career, my home-life, my family, my blog. I really like this feeling.
Last year I started forming some new habits. This year I have made and have so far kept some great resolutions and goals. I’ve done better this year than most years before and I’m noticing how great I feel to be purposely improving everyday. To me, that’s the crux of living intentionally, and it’s something I want to do more of to lead a full, rich and meaningful life.
I like what my future is looking like now that I am living it more intentionally.
Does the internet agree with my thinking on what is “Living an Intentional Life“? Wikipedia says:
Intentional living is any lifestyle based on an individual or group’s conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs. These can include lifestyles based on religious or ethical values, as well as coaching, personal transformation, and leadership training.
Personally, I don’t agree with the definition. It looks like the article was created by someone to promote his own book/s.
My definition of Intentionally Living
Living Intentionally is a lifestyle whereby a person makes conscious decisions to improve aspects of their life fundamentally and every day. It includes knowing and working on their core values, goal setting, making plans, forming habits, making and acting on lists. At its core Intentional Living means improving every day and striving to be the best person one can be to live a full, rich and meaningful life.
Does anyone else agree with me?
It seems Susie Moore on news.com.au agrees with the way I think about what Intentional Living is:
She suggests that you get clear on what you value, plan each day with intention, surround yourself with supportive people and stay true to your purpose. These are the key ingredients to living your life by design. This quote in particular resonates with me:
Happiness is the joy you experience when you are striving towards your potential.
Everyone can live an intentional life.
You don’t need to be highly educated, special, famous, or wealthy to enjoy the benefits of intentional living. You can start living intentionally and enjoying the benefits of living an intentional life right now. One of the keys to living intentionally is mindfulness, and mindfulness is something which anyone can learn and master.
But, whilst living your life intentionally can be simple, it’s often not that easy. Along with all the information that bombards us, the things on our to-do lists, the plans, goals and habits, come anxieties and distractions (see my Saturday morning!), which sap our energy and steal our focus. It’s important then, to recommit to living an intentional life, every day.
Mandi Ehman at Life Your Way defines Intentional Living quite well, in my opinion:
Intentional living is being willing to take a step back and evaluate the things you’re doing. Intentional living is about doing the things that are important to you even when they’re not easy. Intentional living helps you set a course for your life and your family rather than just wandering aimlessly through life. It gives you the freedom to make time for the things that are truly important and to discard the rest.
How to Start Living an Intentional Life
To live an intentional life, you must begin by evaluating the life you’re currently living and forming practical steps to get there.
Evaluate the life you’re currently living
- Are you living your life with purpose, or just going through your days aimlessly?
- Are the people in your life influencing you in a positive way?
If others put influence on you that is not positive, it will only drag you down.
- Are you wasting your time and money on things that are not important?
- Do you really know yourself?
Evaluate who you are at this moment. What are you passionate about?
Know What You Want Your Life to Look Like
I encourage you to really spend some time on this. Sit down and start writing yourself an intentional life.
Ask yourself these questions and write down your answeres.
- What kind of person do you want to strive to be?
- What kind of legacy would you like to leave this world?
- What stories do you want people to tell about you?
- How does your story read?
- What does your future look like if you do nothing?
- What does your dream future look like?
You can’t live an intentional life unless you understand what your ideal life looks like. You can’t take steps towards “your best you” unless you know who you want to be.
So, having laid a foundation by identifying these things, you can start to add practical steps to help you live purposely.
Practical Steps to Help You Live Purposely
Each day is your chance to choose your attitude and your decisions.
Every day dawns anew, full of decisions and opportunities. Don’t let the circumstances of your past negatively determine the pattern of your life in the future. Every single morning you get a chance to set yourself up for a positive day that will improve your life.
Surround yourself only with people who lift you up
Don’t get involved in conversations with negative people. Don’t get involved in gossip or blame-games. Make sure your circle of friends and influencers is filled with people who are also living the best life they can. You can learn from these people. Remember to be curious. Successful people are curious people. They want to learn from others. Identify people accomplishing your purpose and goals. Then, study them and learn from them.
Decide to Live Your Life
Your life. Not someone else’s. You shouldn’t compare yourself to others or try and keep up with the Joneses. You were born to live your life, not theirs. Comparing yourself to others wastes your time and energy. Jealousy is counter-productive. You were born to live your life – decide this very day that you want to be good at it. Remember, you only have one life and you want to live it as best you can.
Know What Your Purpose Is
Becoming Minimalist suggests you “Identify what you want your life to communicate and contribute. Find a passion to live for that is bigger than yourself. Write it down. It will bring new meaning to your life. It will wake you from the slow death of only living for yourself.”
A well-lived story of significance is built when we focus on adding value to others and making a difference in their lives.
John C Maxwell in his book “Intentional Living” says:
What’s the secret to living a story of significance?
Living each day with intentionality.
When you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit to what you can do.
You can transform yourself, your family, your community, and your nation.
When enough people do that, they can change the world.
When you intentionally use your everyday life to bring about positive change in the lives
of others, you begin to live a life that matters.
Set Your Goals
Goals set properly can move us and shape us. They can set us up for success. If your goals are directly aligned to your purpose, then by their very nature, they will lead to an intentional life.
We live in a world of constant connectivity and distraction that is begging for our attention nearly every moment of the day. Learn to turn off these distractions and live your life instead. Turn off the TV, step away from your phone and don’t read gossip magazines. Spend less time on Facebook and other social media. De-clutter – Remove non-essential clutter and physical belongings from your house and your life. These are the things that are robbing you of your time and your energy.
Francis Chan wrote that “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
Do the things I do on my Saturday morning really matter? Well, yes. To me, they do.
These things are setting me up for success. They are putting a structure in place that helps me to build my blog and to keep my online life more organized.
These tasks leave me free to spend the rest of my weekend on my family and friends and spend time on the projects that mean something to me.
Did this article go where I wanted it to go? Not really there yet. But it’s good enough for now. I can always come back and improve it later!
Below you’ll find some recommended books on intentional life. I hope you find something here that inspires you.
What’s your definition of Living Intentionally? Are you trying to Live Your Life With Purpose? Please share your tips on living your intentional life, by dropping a note in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.
Where to now? Pick a page!!!!
- Meet The Founder
- Goal Setting
- Coping With Difficulties
- Get Organized
- Family and Friends
Spinrewriter – if you’re struggling to come up with your next blog post, ask SpinReWriter to do a quick re-write of something wonderful you’ve found online. Then you can edit it to your heart’s desire and put your own spin on what was mentioned. Spinning content isn’t underhanded, it’s a great way to re-use good internet articles and put your own individuality into the new article.