Living an Intentional Life
What does it mean to live intentionally? Living an intentional life is the opposite of living a life of default with a lack of awareness. What are your long-term goals? Why did you decide to read certain books? Why did you choose the last podcast to listen to? If you can’t answer these questions without giving it some thought, you’re not living intentionally.
Choose to live an intentional life:
- Intentional living requires making decisions. You can’t have any intention without having made a decision first. Choose a direction for your life. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to own? What kind of life do you want to live? Make some choices and then choose your actions each day in accordance with those objectives.
- Evaluate your behavior. To live an intentional life, you must evaluate and understand yourself. Why do you do the things you do? Why do you fail to do the things you don’t do?
- What motivates your actions each day? Are you moving toward short-term pleasure or avoiding short-term pain? Or are your actions directed toward an intentional purpose?
- Before taking any action, ask yourself what your intention is. Are you heading toward the refrigerator to satisfy your hunger, ease your anxiety, cure your boredom, or fuel your body in a healthy manner for what lies ahead in the next few hours?
- Evaluate all of your chosen and avoided behaviors. Learn what make you tick.
- Know your values and beliefs. Knowing your values and beliefs can make it easier to live intentionally. You might have the intention to live a life based on contribution, honesty, or love. Your belief that everyone should be able to read can guide your life. Giving your values and beliefs priority makes many of your formerly challenging decisions obvious.
- Stress important actions over easy actions. Intentional living stresses taking effective action over personal comfort. It’s about having a higher purpose than taking it easy. Continuously ask yourself, “Is this the most effective action I could be taking?”
- Choose your habits. Most of your habits seemed to develop on their own. It’s important to choose your habits. Habits can mask your intentions by removing the thought process from the equation.
- Know your intentions for each day. You may have a broad intention of having financial freedom. A narrower intention might be to be debt-free. From there, you may have the intention of saving more money so you can pay down your debt faster. Your intention for today might be to avoid any spending that isn’t absolutely necessary.
- Be proactive. Is your apartment lease ending in three months? Start looking for new place. The alternative is to wait until you’re out of time. Then you have few options and you can’t really live intentionally. You’re forced to roll the dice and take whatever you can find on short notice. This is the opposite of intentional living.
- The key to intentional living is mindfulness in all parts of life. Mindfulness seems to be the cure for everything except the common cold. Be mindful of your intentions, thoughts, actions, and goals. If you’re truly mindful, you’re already living an intentional life.
An intentional life creates more thought than an unintentional life. You must make conscious decisions and question your thoughts and actions. Seek to be more aware of your desires and choose your behaviors accordingly. Habits can be the bane of intentional living unless you chose your habits intentionally.
Be mindful and take responsibility for your results, and you’ll find that more of your results please you and your life’s purpose.