Living an Intentional Life
What does it mean to live intentionally? Living an intentional life is the opposite of living a life of chance with a lack of awareness. What are your long-term goals? How about your short-term goals? Why did you decide to read this blog? Why did you choose the foods that you did for your last meal? If you can’t answer these questions without giving it some thought, you’re likely not living intentionally.
An intention is an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions according to vocabulary.com. When we live with intention, we make choices and take daily actions that move us closer to achieving our goals.
We can choose to live with more intention in all areas of our lives.
Living with Intention: Nutrition
Being aware of how our body responds to food, choosing foods that make us feel good, letting go of arbitrary rules about when or how much we should eat and learning to listen to and honor our body’s hunger and satiety cues.
Living with Intention: Movement
Prioritizing moving our bodies in ways we enjoy, listening to our body’s internal cues to determine what type of exercise to practice and at what intensity for how long, cultivating a joyful and peaceful relationship with movement, and moving to feel good rather than change the size or shape of our bodies.
Living with Intention: Mindset
Becoming aware of negative patterns in our self-talk and making a conscious effort to change them, releasing self-sabotaging habits and patterns, and using practices like affirmations, gratitude, self-care, and meditation for self-awareness & stress-relief.
Choose to Live an Intentional Life
- Intentional living requires making decisions. You can’t have any intention without having made a decision first. Sit down and choose a direction for your life. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to own? What kind of life do you want to live? Take some time to visualize the life you really want to live and then choose your actions each day in accordance with those objectives.
- Evaluate your behavior. To live an intentional life, you must evaluate and understand yourself. Why do you do the things you do? Why do you fail to do the things you don’t do?
- What motivates your actions each day? Are you moving toward short-term pleasure or avoiding short-term pain? Or are your actions directed toward an intentional purpose?
- Before taking any action, ask yourself what your intention is. Are you heading toward the refrigerator to satisfy your hunger, ease your anxiety, cure your boredom, or fuel your body in a healthy manner for what lies ahead in the next few hours? Don’t judge yourself, just invite a sense of awareness and gentle understanding.
- Evaluate your chosen and avoided behaviors. Learn what makes you tick.
- Know your values and beliefs. Knowing your values and beliefs can make it easier to live intentionally. You might have the intention to live a life based on contribution, honesty, or love. Your belief that everyone should be able to read, for example, can guide some of your life choices. Giving your values and beliefs priority can help make many of your formerly challenging decisions obvious.
- Stress important actions over easy actions. Intentional living stresses taking effective action over personal comfort. It’s about having a higher purpose than taking it easy. Continuously ask yourself, “Is this the most effective action I could be taking to get me closer to my goal?”
- Choose your habits. Many of our habits are so ingrained, they seem to have developed on their own. It’s important to choose your habits. Habits can mask your intentions by removing the thought process from the equation.
- Know your intentions for each day. You may have a broad intention of having financial freedom. A narrower intention might be to be debt-free. From there, you may have the intention of saving more money so you can pay down your debt faster. Your intention for today might be to avoid any spending that isn’t absolutely necessary.
- Be proactive. Is your apartment lease ending in three months? Start looking for a new place. The alternative is to wait until you’re out of time. Then you have few options and you can’t really live intentionally. You’re forced to roll the dice and take whatever you can find on short notice. This is the opposite of intentional living.
- The key to intentional living is mindfulness in all parts of life. Mindfulness seems to be the cure for everything except the common cold.
- Be mindful of your intentions, thoughts, actions, and goals. If you’re truly mindful, you’re already living an intentional life.
An intentional life creates more thought than an unintentional life. You must make conscious decisions and question your thoughts and actions. Seek to be more aware of your desires and choose your behaviors accordingly. Habits can be the bane of intentional living unless you choose your habits intentionally.
Be mindful and take responsibility for your results and I think you’ll find more joy in the results you achieve.
As a holistic health and life coach and registered yoga teacher, I specialize in helping women design a more intentional life so you can stop self-sabotage, reprogram your mind, release arbitrary rules and restrictions, and conquer negative thinking so you can live with more joy and purpose. If you’d like to learn more about how to live with intention, let’s hop on a call and chat!