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What on earth is intentional living exactly? A few short years ago, I had never heard the term intentional living. All I knew is that I was a stay at home mom to two kids under two and I was drowning in my own life.
I’ve never been much of a planner. I love to organize things but when it came to mapping things out in my actual day to day life I’ve always been more of a fly by the seat of your pants girl. I was the one in high school and college up at 2 am writing my term paper that was due the next day.
Fast forward to my late 20’s and there I was with these two babies, still feeling like a baby myself and in constant overwhelm mode. I flew by the seat of my pants every single day and just hoped for the best. But that’s no way to live a life, merely surviving every day instead of thriving.
You can’t experience simple joys when you’re living life with your hair on fire.Emily Ley
What is intentional living?
It was around this time that I was introduced to the notion of intentional living. The concept is basically that you live each day with thoughtful, planned out purpose. The trick as a perfectionist was to not throw the towel in on this way of living (which I’ve done many times over the last 4 years and begun again)
Intentional (adj.) -done with intention or on purposeDictionary.com
Intentional living at its core is the act of living on purpose and not just by accident. Set your intentions for how you want to live your life and then what you do each day and how you do it is all aligned with your intention or purpose. You aren’t just living each day to make it to the next but rather for a greater purpose or plan.
That might sound a little overwhelming to you but I promise that when you align your life with a bigger why and purpose it makes weeding out what is important from what is not so much easier.
start with your why
You can’t live an intentional life if you have no idea what your intentions are. You need to be really clear about what type of life you want to be leading. When you really hone in on your why, your purpose, your meaning then it makes planning each day with that intention and purpose much easier. You can only hit a target that you’re aiming at.
Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and answer some of these questions to get clarification on your intention:
- What are your values?
- What matters most to you?
- What would a perfect day look like for you?
- What goals do you want to achieve?
- How do you want your life to make you feel?
- How do you want to make others feel?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of questions but it is at least a pretty good start to get you thinking about how you want your life to look. Once you have some clearly defined ideas of things that matter to you then you focus more on those things and less on the trivial fluff of every day.
Make a Plan
You need to take the intentions you just discovered and put them into action in your everyday life. You can accomplish this a lot of different ways; calendars (both physical and digital), goal setting, daily intention setting.
Through the years I have tried and had success with several different methods. Certain methods have served me well in one season but not in another. There are so many different ways you can make those intentions come to life in a tangible way.
The key is to keep trying different options and see what works best for you in this season of life. You will constantly need to check-in, see what’s working for you and then course correct.
Intentional living is not a one and done type of thing. You will be constantly working at it, ironing out the kinks and checking to make sure you’re heading in the right direction on a daily basis. Intentional living isn’t a destination but a journey.
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