BE INTENTIONAL: 14 WAYS TO BE INTENTIONAL EVERY DAY
Discover 14 simple ways to be intentional every day. Learn more about intentional living and living every day filled with clarity, focus and purpose. Stop living on auto-pilot and choose a meaningful, intentional life on your own terms.
WHAT IS INTENTIONAL LIVING?
Intentional living is a lifestyle that encourages us to define our priorities, get clear on what we want from life and live each day in alignment with these priorities.
In simple terms, living intentionally means deciding what you want from life and going for it!
In today’s busy world, where many of us are overstretched and juggling ‘all the things’, it’s probably not a surprise to learn that intentional living is becoming increasingly popular.
Instead of chasing our tails and struggling with life in the fast lane, we’re seeking out a life of purpose, direction, clarity, peace and joy instead. A life on our terms instead of a life dictated to us by our schedule or To Do list.
For an introduction to intentional living and what being intentional means to me (and what it could mean for you) try this article for a beginners guide to intentional living.
HOW TO BE INTENTIONAL
Being intentional isn’t expensive or time-consuming. It won’t involve you giving everything up or throwing it all away, unless you want to, of course!
An intentional life is about making small, conscious daily decisions about what enhances your life and what just clutters, distracts and pulls you off course. It is the sum of these small decisions that shapes the bigger picture of your life.
“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.” (Richie Norton)
If an intentional life speaks to your heart then this article can suggest some simple ways to be intentional every day. We’ll look at some practical tips and suggestions to help you create a life that’s more on your terms.
Whether it’s being intentional with your time, relationships, self-care, finances, priorities or anything else that makes up your life, I hope you find these ideas helpful in creating a life that truly supports you (instead of just running you into the ground!).
STARTING TO BE INTENTIONAL
When I first began decluttering and simplifying my own life, I didn’t have it in mind to be intentional. In fact, I didn’t even know what intentional living was!
I just knew that my busy life and busy home was making my body and brain feel overwhelmed. I was being pushed and pulled in different directions by life and I felt I was increasingly losing my way.
I’d lost sight of what I wanted out of life, what was truly and deeply important to me and what made life meaningful and purposeful. In fact, I was too busy running to and fro, juggling kids and work and snatching sleep and energy bars whenever I could.
This wasn’t how I wanted life to be, but I wasn’t sure how to change it either.
Decluttering my home and simplifying life were how I began to be intentional, even if I didn’t realise it at the time.
I made a series of small, daily decisions about what was important and what wasn’t. I let go of clutter, kept out stuff and made boundaries to protect the things that were far more important to be just stuffing in my life.
It wasn’t without challenges and many times I felt like I’d lost momentum or was ‘doing it wrong’. But, gradually, over time, I noticed that my approach to everyday life changed. The choices, decisions, actions, habits and routines that I created and lived by were how I began to live intentionally – deliberately, purposefully and aware.
In this article I thought it might be helpful to share what I did to be intentional every day.
14 WAYS TO BE INTENTIONAL EVERY DAY
Here are some ideas on how to be intentional every day. Try them out and see how they work for you!
1. Have a clear structure for your day
Create a solid and consistent morning and evening routine for yourself (and your family). Having a clear framework for your day will help start and end your day on the right note, however busy you’ve been in between.
This clear structure will help you create time for yourself, time for family and time for your priorities.
My favourite quote from Annie Dillard comes to mind…
“How you spend your days is how you spend your life.”
If you need more convincing that an intentional life starts with an intentional day then this quote is a powerful reminder of that.
A clear structure doesn’t need to be rigid or stop you doing things on a whim but it does give you a flexible way to structure your day and carve out time for what’s important (to you, not your To Do list!).
Read my post on creating a simple morning routine to prepare you for the day ahead and how to create a simple evening routine to wind down and re-set your home and yourself ready for bed.
2. Be careful with your money
How easy is it to hit the shops when we need a quick pick-me-up or if we’re bored and can’t think of anything else to do?
Everyone needs to go shopping sometimes and it’s lovely to get new things. However, be intentional about what you spend your money on. Don’t buy things or waste your money on stuff that you don’t really need or want that will just drain your bank account and clutter your cupboards.
Check out this article on how to shop with intention.
3. Declutter your home
Your home is your space but everything in it comes at a price. Either what you’ve paid for it in the first place or in terms of how you spend your time and energy looking after it.
Be intentional about what you keep in your home. Declutter the stuff that you no longer love, need or adds value in some way. Enjoy living in an uncluttered home that’s easier to keep clean and tidy, freeing your space, time and energy for other things in life.
Try these 20 ways to declutter your home for some decluttering projects to get you started!
4. Define your priorities and goals
How often do you think about your goals and what you want to achieve in life? As a busy person, you might think that your goal is just to get through the day but there’s so much more you can do!
Priorities and goals help us find clarity for what we want out of life. They remind us that we’re still individuals in our own right, as well as being a parent, a partner (and any other of the hundred different hats we wear daily!).
Be intentional about your priorities and goals by checking out this post on how to set goals and achieve them.
5. Invest your time wisely
Time is precious. It’s arguably our most limited resource and also perhaps the one that we often waste or mis-use the most.
Don’t take on too much, stretch yourself too thin, overbook or double book yourself or say ‘yes’ to things when you’d rather say ‘no’. Be intentional with your time and spend it in a way that aligns with your priorities. Don’t forget, use the free worksheet available with this article if you need to clarify your priorities.
Check out this post on how to be intentional with your time for some more ideas.
6. Strengthen your important relationships
When life gets busy, it’s easy to take the relationships we have with others for granted. We forget or neglect making the effort to connect and spend time with the people who mean the most to us.
Relationships matter though and to be strong they need work. Be intentional about your relationships. Focus on the ones that are mutually supportive and find ways to distance yourself from the ones that seem a little one-sided. After reading this, why not go call your parent, arrange a coffee with your best friend, chat with your spouse or play with your kids?
Check out this post on how to strengthen your relationship with your partner if you have one. If you don’t a partner, maybe you could think about some of the other relationships in your life?
7. Cultivate a positive mindset
How we think about our life, the choices and decisions we make and whether we take action (or not) is all down to our mindset. Don’t let life pass you by without making the most of it.
To fully embrace an intentional life, explore ways to nurture a positive, healthy mindset and declutter your mind to find clarity and focus,
Check out my powerful little workbook on how to master your mindset.
8. Develop healthy habits
We all know the importance of looking after ourselves, keeping fit and eating healthily. But, you don’t have to run the marathon or even commit to a gym membership if it’s not realistic! Instead, just be intentional about how you use your body and what you put into it.
Decide to take more exercise, even if it’s just regular walks with the dog or the kids. Pay attention to the food you buy and feed your family. You’ll have more energy, feel better and be more able to enjoy a fuller, happier life.
Check out my post on meal planning for some inspiration.
9. Be aware of your mental health
Pay attention to your mental health, be intentional and aware of your emotions and state of mind. If you’re feeling angry, upset, anxious or overwhelmed, give some thought to what triggered these feelings, how they’re affecting you and what you can do to make them better.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and take up offers of support. Don’t bury your negative thoughts under the carpet and hope they’ll go away. Own them and try to do something about them.
A good first step when you’re feeling low or out-of-sorts, is to write everything down on paper so you can clarify and organise your thoughts and come up with an action plan. After all, taking action is a key part of living with intention!
Check out my post on how to do a brain dump to declutter your mind for some handy help with this.
10. Self-care and self-reflection
We so easily put ourselves to the bottom of the priority list. Instead, be intentional about creating some time for yourself and you’ll be a better and stronger person because of it, much more able to withstand the rigours of daily life and ready for new opportunities when they come your way!
Self-care and self-reflection are great ways to be intentional. They encourage us to focus on ourselves within, rather than the world outside. Much of our days are spent navigating our outer environments but it’s what’s happening on the inside (our inner environments) that’s important for a meaningful, intentional life.
Develop some daily self-care habits and explore ways to declutter your mind regularly.
11. Plan, prepare and get organised
I believe that getting organised truly supports an intentional life. It isn’t just about getting organised. More importantly, it’s about what getting organised can give you.
If you plan, prepare and organise your day or life a little then you can create more time, more calm and ease, more freedom, less stress and less going around in circles. You know what needs to be done and when, you’ll forget things less, foresee and avoid problems and just generally feel more in control.
Stop winging it though life and get yourself more organised with this post on 15 ways to make life easier or these 25 ways to be more organised.
Here are some other popular posts on getting organised:
- Mindful questions for a mid-week check in
- Monthly checklist to simplify your life
12. Consume social media mindfully
Sometimes I need to step away and take a break from social media. I use it for my job, for my blog, and sometimes personally but there comes a point where I feel ready for a break.
I like to know what’s going on in other peoples’ lives but I also like to work on my own life. Not only is it a great waste of time scrolling randomly through feeds, it’s also easy to get drawn in to sharp marketing, slick lifestyle shots and other images and posts that make me feel less than. I don’t want to compare what I look like with others, or what my home looks like, or how full my life is.
Consuming social media mindfully means I’m aware of what adds value to my life and that, perhaps more importantly, I’m aware of when my scrolling is negatively impacting my mindset, my time or my self-worth.
Try these tips to limit social media use.
13. Practice gratitude
Being grateful for what we have, instead of chasing what we don’t is key to living intentionally. When we’re always searching outside of ourselves for things to make us happier, richer, more successful or anything else that we covet or think we can’t live without, then we’ll never be fulfilled. Often though, we have much of what we need already, around and inside of us. Intentional living and the attitude of gratitude helps us harness that.
Try my free 30-day Gratitude Challenge to create a consistent, uplifting gratitude practice.
14. Avoid comparison and focus on your life
Stop trying to be anything but you! Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing in their life, focus on your own and making it the best life it can be.
Be intentional in creating a great life for yourself. Identify what’s working and what’s not and make changes where they need to be made. This is YOUR life. Be intentional about it!
MORE RESOURCES ON HOW TO BE INTENTIONAL
If you’d like to explore ways to be intentional and how to get the most out of your life, here are some resources which you might find helpful:
- Intentional Living – a beginner’s guide to a meaningful life
- 20 ways to simplify your life – ideas to create ease with less stress
- How to create an intentional morning routine
- Essential mindsets to help you get more out of life
- Declutter Starter Kit – a free guide and workbook to help you understand the what, why and how of decluttering. Projects, tips and guidance to clear the clutter in your home and life.
- Simplify Your Life – my popular little course and an introduction to intentional living and what it could mean for you
QUOTES TO INSPIRE AN INTENTIONAL LIFE
As I mentioned above, words are powerful things. So too is our mind.
In many of my posts or if you follow me on Instagram, I like to share journal prompts, thoughts for the day or quotes on being intentional.
A couple of my favourites which I’d like to share with you here are:
“Wherever you are, be all there.” (Jim Elliot)
“Every action has an impact, choose wisely the impact you want to have.” (Mindy Hall)
For more intentional living quotes, hop over to Wisdom Quotes for a little inspiration and encouragement.
Just to re-cap on what we’ve covered, here are 14 ways to be intentional every day…
- Have a clear structure for your day – Establish daily routines
- Be careful with your money – Spend wisely
- Declutter your home – Clear clutter to create space and calm
- Define your priorities and goals – Define what’s important
- Invest your time wisely – Don’t waste time
- Strengthen your important relationships – Spend time with loved ones
- Cultivate a positive mindset – Challenge limiting beliefs
- Develop healthy habits – Be mindful of your actions
- Be aware of your mental health – Cultivate a positive mindset
- Self-care and self-reflection – Do the inner work
- Plan, prepare and get organised – Establish systems and routines
- Consume social media mindfully – Step away from the screen
- Practice gratitude – Be grateful
- Avoid comparison and focus on your life – Personal growth and self-development
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help!