WHAT IS INTENTIONAL LIVING: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
Intentional living is about identifying your values and what’s important to you in life and finding ways to prioritise and honour them every day. This article is an introduction to intentional living where we’ll explore why intentional living matters and some practical tips to help you get started when you’re ready.
WHAT WE’LL COVER
- What is intentional living?
- What are the benefits of intentional living?
- How can you live more intentionally?
- How to be intentional every day
- How to start living intentionally
- What intentional living is not
- Intentional living resources
WHAT IS INTENTIONAL LIVING?
In today’s busy world, much of our path in life seems to be dictated to us. We’re encouraged to be more, buy more, have more, do more.
Our brains and schedules fill up as quickly as our To Do lists.
Life becomes an endless cycle of ticking things of those lists, hurrying from one activity to another, draining our bank accounts as we succumb to a tempting new pair of shoes, new car or just one more toy for our kids.
We don’t have time to pause, reflect and think whether how we’re filling our days and our lives is in alignment with what we want out of life – our core values and priorities.
Those values and priorities seem to just get written for us by whatever is shouting the loudest from our To Do list.
Intentional living is a lifestyle encouraging you to identify your priorities and values and live in alignment with them every day. It’s perhaps a fluffy way of saying that you get clear on what you want out of life and you go for it!
However, that’s easier said than done when you have lots of things to do, lots of people relying on you and not a lot of time to stop and catch your breath!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INTENTIONAL LIVING?
I think, these days, living a life of intention matters more than ever before.
Wherever we turn, we’re bombarded by messages for more. We’re told that we need more stuff to make us happy, that success is measured by the size of our home or how many cars in our driveway.
Once we have success and more stuff, then we’re led to believe that we’ll be happier, more content and fulfilled. We’ll have a great life.
But, is this always the case? I’m not so sure…
There’s a growing movement that firmly believes more isn’t always better and, instead, that less is more. Less stuff in your home, your heart and your head that weighs you down.
Which in turn means more room for love, laughter, happiness and appreciating the intrinsic value of the simpler things in life which often bring the most joy and fulfilment.
And, of course, more clarity and focus on living the life you’d like, instead of a life that’s dictated to you.
“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.” (Richie Norton)
HOW CAN YOU LIVE MORE INTENTIONALLY?
So, how do you go about identifying what truly matters to you instead of the stuff that just clutters, distracts and provides empty padding to your life?
I think the answer to this question lies with identifying what matters to you.
Here are some questions which you might like to reflect upon:
- What makes you truly happy in life? What drives you to get out of bed each morning, what do you really look forward to doing in your day, what lifts you up and makes you smile?
- How do you spend your time? Is it a varied mix of things you need to do (work or school, for example) and leisure time to spend as you wish? Or is your diary crammed full, you rush around from morning to evening, always busy but achieving nothing?
- Do you have any goals or dreams? Do you know where you’d like to be in 5 years’ time (or even next month?!). Take a step up the career ladder, learn a new skill, have a better work-life balance or less debt? If so, do you know how you’re going to make these things happen?
In these examples we looked at what makes you happy, how you spend your time and your future plans. I’m sure you can think of many others!
Living an intentional life is about being aware of the answers to these questions (and more that I haven’t asked you) and ensuring that, as far as possible, your life is on a trajectory that helps you prioritise all these things.
HOW TO BE INTENTIONAL EVERY DAY
We could get hung up on the details of intentional living and make it really complicated or we can stick to simple, practical steps to help you get intentional in your daily life.
My site is all about practical tips to simplify life so, in the articles below, I’d like to offer you some small, practical tips you could try today.
Many of them are about clearing the excess, raising your awareness, developing boundaries and curating a life based on the things that really matter to you. They could be to do with your time management, self-care, mindset, personal routines, spending habits or even knowing when to come away from social media!
HOW TO START LIVING INTENTIONALLY
If you’d like to find out more about living intentionally and how you can embrace intentional living in your own life, here are a list of articles and resources which you may find helpful.
- How to shop with intention – tips for mindful shopping and spending money wisely without going overboard
- 7 ways to be intentional with your time – using your time wisely, slowing down and being less busy
- Personal growth challenge – a free 30-day challenge to help you explore what you want out of life, what gives you direction and joy
- 6 self-care habits for your daily routine – making time for and looking after yourself
- 24 habits for your daily routine – creating rhythms and routines to simplify your day
- 20 ways to simplify your life – practical ideas for creating more ease and less stress
WHAT INTENTIONAL LIVING IS NOT
In this article I’ve tried to share my interpretation of what intentional living is and what it means to me, but I couldn’t finish without talking a little about what intentional living is not!
Intentional living is NOT:
- A magic wand to make everything better – Your problems will hopefully feel more manageable and you might even be able to solve a few by keeping focused and making things simpler, but it won’t make everything easy. Life always comes with ups and downs.
- An instant fix – Intentional living isn’t a plaster over a wound. It takes time for you to get used to thinking and doing things differently and for the momentum to build.
- A case of once and you’re done – Intentional living requires ongoing maintenance. Life throws many temptations, opportunities and challenges at us. Sometimes we’re taken off guard and say ‘yes,’ when really we wanted to say ‘no’. Always be vigilant, ask yourself ‘why’ and keep reminding yourself of what’s really important to you.
- The same for everyone – We all have different priorities and motivations in life. Your life will look different to mine so our choices, decisions and actions will differ according to our priorities. An intentional life (and its definition) comes in many different shapes and sizes.
- A case for perfection – Lastly, intentional living is not about trying to achieve perfection or never making a wrong choice. Instead, it’s about learning more about ourselves and the life we’d like to create to support us best.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. For more articles on Intentional Living, hop over to the Intentional Living archives.
If you have any questions, please drop me an email at email@example.com and I’d be happy to help!