5 DECISIONS THAT INSPIRED MY INTENTIONAL LIFE: MY VISION FOR A SIMPLER LIFE
Busy, modern life often means we’re moving so fast just to keep up. We don’t have time to stop and think about what we truly want from life and how are our decisions now might be shaping our future direction. In this article I’m sharing 5 decisions that inspired my intentional life and my vision for a simpler life.
LIVING THE LIFE AND WANTING IT ALL
Living intentionally has altered my perspective on so many things. Like so many of us, I fell into the trap of thinking that if I worked harder and achieved more, then everything would fall into place.
I’d have a better job, a successful career, more money in the bank, better holidays, a bigger car.
That’s not to say I really wanted all these things but it was more so I could measure my success and whether I’d ‘achieved’ in life. I wanted a life of meaning, impact, to make a difference. I wanted to leave my mark on the world and leave a legacy for my kids.
Achieving all these things was how I felt I could quantify my success and reach my full potential. In my quest for all these so-called markers of success, what I didn’t realise was that I was missing out on so much else…
My life had become an endless cycle of doing more, being more and aiming for more. A lot of this was falling into place as my career progressed. I got that car, went on nice holidays and had a lovely home to come back to at the end of the day.
I could shop when I felt like it, go out for dinner when I couldn’t be bothered to cook and go away for the weekend when I didn’t want to be at home.
However, there was a price to pay for all this.
THE COST OF MODERN BUSY LIFE
I was constantly chasing my tail, working all the hours, waking early, going to bed late and fuelled in between by coffee and wine. I didn’t have time for exercise, I spent too much money at the weekend and went into Monday feeling like I was living on repeat each week, but not really getting anywhere that truly meant something.
The problem was, I didn’t really know where I wanted to get to.
My daily life seemed busy but unrewarding.
The things that I was striving for and thought I wanted were actually the very same things that were holding me back from or getting in the way of what I actually needed.
My choices in life were dictating my path and the further down that path I travelled, the more difficult it was to find my way back.
When my kids came along and I had a family who needed my love and time, my life went from unrewarding to unsustainable. Things had to change and that’s how I chose a simpler, intentional life that I live now.
“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”Richie Norton
There were some pivotal decisions that inspired my vision for a simpler life and I’d like to share them with you here in case they resonate with you…
5 DECISIONS THAT INSPIRED MY INTENTIONAL LIFE
Here are 5 decisions that inspired my intentional life. What decisions and priorities are calling YOU to build a meaningful life for yourself?
1. I wanted more time and freedom
This was the first decision I came to. When I reflected on how I was spending my days, I was rushing from A to C with no time for B.
I rushed from home to work via the school run and back again at the end of the day. I was rushing the kids doing their homework whilst I was cooking dinner and cleaning the house. I got up early to get things done and went to bed late because I was still playing catch-up.
Weekends were filled with the things I didn’t get time to do during the week, not filled by choice. I had little quality time with my kids or my husband and next to no time for myself. Freedom? Not with my schedule.
So, I changed the pace, learnt to say no a lot more and set some boundaries in place for how and where I spent more time to give us all more of that precious time and freedom to enjoy life and do things for me and us.
2. I wanted to spend more time with my kids
My kids would only be little for such a short time. I didn’t want to miss out on their early years or being able to watch them growing up. I wanted to be an active, engaged and present parent.
I stopped pursuing a career that took me away from my kids, found a way to achieve a better work-life balance and if that meant saying no to a promotion for the time being, then so be it. I couldn’t have my cake and eat it. It was a question of priority and defining my own priorities was the first step to building a simpler, better life.
3. I wanted a meaningful life
Giving back to others has always been important to me and I do believe that we’re all here to make a difference – big or small, in whatever way we can. I won’t change the world, but I can help make the world a better place for those around me.
A meaningful life for me doesn’t come in the shape of a big pay bonus (nice as that would be!), a new pair of shoes or a fully-booked schedule. If I dropped off the planet tomorrow, I wanted to leave a positive legacy for those I’d left behind and know that I’d made the most of the time available to me. For me, that’s a meaningful life.
4. I wanted to look after myself
To keep myself going I realised that I’d been fuelling my body with the wrong kinds of food. I’d fallen into some unhealthy habits and didn’t do enough to look after myself, either in body or mind.
I felt tired in the mornings, went to bed too late, exercised too little and ate things for a quick sugar fix but which didn’t sustain me properly through the day. I was relying on the props of caffeine and alcohol (depending on the time of day).
With everything else I was prioritising, looking after myself wasn’t one of them. I craved a happier, healthier lifestyle and more energy and time for me.
5. I wanted more out of life
At the heart of all these other decisions was that I wanted a fulfilling, rewarding life that was more on my terms, not dictated to me by my schedule, to do list, other people or misplaced priorities.
I wanted more out of this precious life that I’d been lucky enough to be given. I felt I owed that to myself and to my kids. To seize every opportunity and run with it if it felt right.
Life isn’t always easy but I don’t think it’s always meant to be a struggle either. There are good days and bad days but I wanted to maximise the good and minimise the bad!
I stopped saying yes to the shiny things that caught my attention, held back from making snap decisions and instead made deliberate, purposeful and intentional decisions about every aspect of my life including:
- the clutter and stuff I had in my home
- my personal routines and schedule
- where and how I spent my money
- my priorities and values
- the goals and aspirations I set for myself
An intentional life isn’t one that just happens, no matter how good you are at making decisions! It’s a real journey and a gradual shift in thinking that throws up a lot of questions along the way!
THE ART OF MAKING OUR OWN CHOICES
In summary, the decisions I took were about identifying my priorities and acknowledging that sometimes you have to let things go to give space for what matters most. Again, another example of how having less actually enables you to have more.
If what I’ve shared in this post feels familiar and you think you might like to explore your own choices and decisions, here are some posts and resources which might help:
- How less can be more – how finding simplicity and clearing the clutter can help you find clarity and focus
- How to feel less overwhelmed when life gets busy – little tips to ease the stress
- 5 powerful benefits of decluttering your home and life – why you could clear your clutter in all its shapes and forms
MY VISION FOR A SIMPLER LIFE
And so, my vision for a simpler life is based on the decisions I made above. Whether it’s having more time for my family or myself or less stress, more ease and more emphasis on living my life rather than being pulled down by the clutter that invades it – a simpler life is whatever lifts you up from the inside and gives you space to really breathe and grow.
Your vision for a simpler life might look different to mine and that’s ok. We all have different priorities and commitments. It’s not about bare white walls, never spending money and never having the odd paper pile sitting on your kitchen counter. It is about getting clear on what’s important in your life and making space to honour and nurture that as much as you can.
What I do hope is that you let yourself be open to change, open to new ways of thinking and that the clutter in your life (whether that’s in your mind, your diary or your cupboards) doesn’t hold you back from living your potential or living your best life – whatever that looks like to you!
I’d love to know what a meaningful life looks and feels like to you? How are you making space to show up for your life and live true to yourself or do you find it a struggle to balance your needs with those of your busy life? Leave a comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts and tips.
Here are some more articles on simple and intentional living which you might find helpful:
- What Does It Mean To Simplify Your Life? – In this article we explore what it means to simplify life, how to get started and how it can help you create a full and meaningful life.
- 20 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Create More Ease and Space – Modern life can be busy and complex but this doesn’t mean that we’re any happier or more fulfilled. If you’re looking for ideas on how to create more ease and space, here are 20 ways to simplify your life. Little steps to take the pressure off daily life and free you up for other things!
- How to Show Up for Your Life and Make It Meaningful – How do you create a purposeful life and make the most of your days? Here are some tips on how to show up for your life, make it meaningful and why it’s important.
WHERE TO START FOR YOURSELF?
I’ve created a free Decluttering Guide to help you start simplifying and decluttering your home, schedule, heart and mind. This is a helpful, actionable and thought-provoking guide and workbook to help you think about the clutter in your life and to make a start in clearing it.
Pop your details in the box below so I know where to send you your copy!
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I’m Antonia and on this blog I share practical inspiration to simplify your home, time and life. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! You can also subscribe to Balance Through Simplicity and receive regular simplicity tips straight to your inbox for free. Make sure you never miss an article plus you’ll get a copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit as a welcome gift!