I feel like most of my adulthood encompassed things just happening to me and me trying to respond. I felt out of control of my life, and it wasn’t until I learned how to live an intentional life, that I started to notice a shift in not only my mindset, but my overall well-being.
It may sound a little dramatic, but it’s true. Navigating my 20’s was rather difficult at times. I found myself trying to escape countless storms and simply survive.
Some things I had no control over, but some I absolutely did have control over. This was the part I wanted to focused on. That part.
That is when intentional living came into play. From what I learned, intentional living is a practice where a person makes conscious decisions or choices that align with their values, beliefs, and/ or goals.
It means slowing down and actually taking a moment to figure out what exactly you’re doing in your life AND why you’re doing it. Intentional living means you need to get comfortable with one big question…
Yep, leading an intentional life comes down to your why. Simply put, why are you doing ANYTHING that you’re currently doing? It doesn’t matter if everyone else knows it, as long as YOU do!
You can pose this question to yourself regarding any facet of your lifestyle. The point is to dig deep and have a complete understanding of what you do and why you do it. Only then can you work on getting more in control of what you want your life to look like.
Remember you are the driver of your life!
Intentional living is just that. It’s about you evolving into being the driver or the writer of your own story. And yes, things will happen along the way that you cannot control.
But, by being more intentional and more aligned with your life’s vision, you’ll be quicker to bounce back from those moments and quicker to get back to what you’re meant to do. That’s what matters!
So here are 5 super important tips to help you start living an intentional life TODAY!
Re-Discover Your Vision
This is the first step to start practicing living an intentional life. The reason for that is because you need to know what you’re working towards. In a way, this is the foundation of your why.
It also doesn’t have to be some HUGE, elaborate why. It can be small and can relate to any aspect of your life. Again this is YOUR vision.
For example, I am a runner and I love it! I normally run several times a week and I plan to do that even as I get older (yes, I want to run even when I’m like 70 years old, HA!). My plan is to be my own kind of elite athlete.
I decided that in order for me to run and to run well, I needed to be mindful of what I was giving my body. Not only how I exercised physically, but to also be mindful of what I ate, how I spoke to myself on those difficult runs, etc.
I started getting intentional about my running goals and now make it a point to do things that will help me become a better runner. I try to eat clean (I do love me some french fries) and I consistently look for ways to improve my running routine.
Once you’ve identified your vision, whatever that is, you can start to make intentional choices or decisions to help you achieve it. But it all starts with your vision.
Take some time to dive into your short and long-term goals. What is it you want to accomplish? Is there something you know you want? Are you laying the foundation now, to reap the benefits later?
Acknowledge The Fear
The next step after defining your vision is to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts about it. Often times, we don’t give ourselves permission to feel our feelings and move through them.
So here is your moment to acknowledge how you feel, including any fears you have about becoming leading a more intentional life. It’s okay to feel apprehensive, nervous even, as long as you take the time to acknowledge it.
When I did decided that I wanted to be a serious runner, I felt kind of sad. I was scared I would have to give up too much. I had fears that I would be changing who I was, if that makes sense.
Honestly, I was scared of the unknown.
And most of the times, that’s really the part we have to acknowledge–our fears that intentional living will take more from us than it will give, which is simply not true.
Intentional living gives you a way to navigate life that is aligned with the vision you just identified. So take the time to get comfortable with your thoughts and feelings. It’s okay if you’re unsure how it’ll go or what will happen next. Just take it one day at a time!
Keep Doing The Good Stuff
Good habits stick around because you are consistently doing them, and you see the benefits of the work you’re doing. I keep running because I do it every day AND I see the benefits in my endurance, speed and overall physical well-being.
Whatever it is you are doing for you that is helping you grow or reach your vision…KEEP DOING IT!
If something has been working for you well, especially for a long period of time, you don’t want to stop doing it. You should want to continue, especially if the habit or behavior is tied to the overall vision you have crafted for your life.
Leading an intentional life means that you get to choose the things that fill your cup up. Remember, you are the driver of your life!
Running is what fills my cup up. Not just from a physical standpoint, but running has transformed my mindset and emotional ability. It’s forced me to re-think how I handle obstacles and improved the way I talk to myself. I am both mentally and physically tough, and I love that for myself.
While it is a part of my overall vision of being an elite athlete, it’s still something I do for fun and for a little extra self-care.
It’s running for me, but whatever it is for you (and trust me, you know what you do well better than me), keep doing it. Do it as often and as consistently as you can.
Set your intentions and follow through with them.
Become More Self-Aware
Awareness by definition is to notice that something is happening or occurring. Self-awareness is simply being aware of your self, your actions, and your behaviors.
If you want to truly live an intentional life, you should first learn to be self-aware all the time.
For the time being, let’s stick with my running example. After binge-drinking often in an attempt to cope with I don’t know, everything going on during Covid-19, I noticed was how binge-drinking did not help me run better or faster.
Most of the times, it stopped me from running entirely.
I realized that I wasn’t paying close attention to how I was treating my body. I was caught up in the fun of drinking, hanging with my partner and simply caught up in what I was used to doing. So much so, I literally wasn’t able to make the connection between my drinking habits and my lack-luster runs.
LIKE EARTH TO BREONA!
The lesson here was that I needed to be more aware of not only my behaviors and actions, but aware of what I’m doing to actually reach my goals. Am I doing things that will help reach X in my vision? How does this support what I want 10 years from now?
So it is crucial you practice self-awareness and get honest with yourself about what you’re doing. That also brings me to my next point…
Show Yourself A Lot Of Compassion
Leading an intentional life is about understanding your values and vision of your life. And then, trying to live your life in a way that aligns with that vision.
And it may sound simple, but unfortunately life is not simple. Not by a LONG SHOT. Life can definitely get tricky at times.
That is why it is so important that you show yourself compassion. The same way you show compassion for others, show it for yourself.
Compassion is to show care or concern for the suffering of others. Today, give yourself permission to care for yourself!
Living an intentional life is definitely about vision and purpose. But I understand that it’s not that easy or always the simplest thing to do. I know for a fact that I’m not always leading an intentional life. I stumble sometimes and I don’t resort to shaming myself when it happens!
Instead of kicking myself down and using plain ol’ negative self-talk, I instead use compassion. I remind myself that even though I either A) made a mistake OR b) did something that didn’t align with my vision, I am still deserving of it.
I am still worthy of it. You are still worthy of the vision you have for your life.
So continue to show yourself compassion when things don’t always align. Show yourself compassion when things don’t go the way you think or plan for them to go. Whether it’s going good or bad, acknowledge that you’re still moving forward.
I’ll leave you with a line from the show, My Wife & Kids…“A kick in the ass is still forward movement”.
What is something in your life you want to be more intentional about?