When we think about living an intentional life, we sometimes don’t know what that fully means. The premise of living an intentional life is to discover and identify your values, paying attention to the choices and actions you take, and living life in accordance to being true to those values. When you decide to make the leap to living a more intentional life, you’re challenging yourself to be consciously aware of what you’re doing in all aspects of your life. You’re no longer passively making decisions or accepting ‘what is’ without responsibility, you’re actively working to choose and to be better than you were yesterday. Below, I’m going to give you 23 ideas to inspire you on how to live a more intentional life, so you can start the new year with a new outlook!
Related Post: 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Change Your Life
Why Should We Choose to Live a More Intentional Life?
What Happens When We Choose to Live a More Intentional Life:
When you choose to live a more intentional life, you’re actively saying to yourself ‘I’m choosing to live in a way that supports my values, and overall benefits my wellbeing’. As you make these changes to your life, you get closer to becoming and living as your authentic Self.
What Is Your Authentic Self?
Beautifully defined by Therapy In Philadelphia, “Being your true authentic self means what you say in life aligns with what your actions. Your authentic self goes beyond what you do for a living, what possessions you own, or who you are to someone (mom, brother, girlfriend). It is who you are at your deepest core. It is about being true to yourself through your thoughts, words, and actions, and having these three areas match each other.” (definition taken from this article here).
When you practice living intentionally, you strive to make choices that allow you to become closer to being your authentic Self.
What Do You Gain From Choosing to Live a More Intentional Life?
Choosing to live a more intentional life reaps many benefits, one of them being clarity. Having a clear vision of what you want out of life, they type of person you want to be, what values you choose to uphold and prioritize – all of that offers clarity. You’re actively selecting which aspects of your life you want to pursue, and, naturally, which ones you don’t.
When you decide what you want and what you don’t want out of life, it becomes easier to create these boundaries. These boundaries will allow you to focus on what you want, give you the space and energy to achieve it, and to protect yourself from the things that don’t support your wellbeing or goals.
When you become clear on what you want and decide how you’re going to get there, you will be determined to make it work. Your determination will stem from wanting to create a beautiful life for yourself that aligns with your values and goals.
Choosing to live a more intentional life sets you up to get the job done, essentially. By choosing to do things each day that get you closer to a life you want to live, you will achieve your goals. The ability to achieve your goals will become more frequent as you find clarity and establish the boundaries necessary to get you there.
How to Live a More Intentional Life: 23 Ideas to Inspire You
Like I always structure my blog posts, I always give you the rundown on why this is important and why you should care. I want to get you fired up and passionate about what I want you to achieve, before I inspire you to go out and do it! Now that we know the why, here are 23 ideas to inspire you to live a more intentional life!
1. Ask Yourself What You Want
Seems pretty simple right? It is. Ask yourself what you want out of life – without attaching any fear, judgement or emotion to anything on that list. Write it out, no matter how long. Write everything that comes to mind. Getting clear about what you want starts with being able to visually see it all in one spot. From there, you can edit and make plans, decisions and compromises.
2. Do a Life Audit
What areas of your life bring you the most joy? What aspects leave you feeling drained? Which areas of your life have you been meaning to improve, but put on the back burner? Now is the time to address these aspects of your life, determine your priorities and find out how they align with the direction you want to take in your life. It may be time to change direction, change things up and incorporate more joy into your life!
3. Be Mindful of Your Spending
It makes sense that you can’t spend frivolously while trying to be mindful in other aspects of your life, right? Curbing your spending and being consciously aware of where your money is being spent goes hand in hand with how you live true to your values and achieve your goals. While no to people agree how to spend their money, I think we can both agree that being conscious of your spending directly correlates with being mindful and aware.
For tips on how to spend intentionally: What Is Intentional Spending And How It Makes You Wealthier
For tips on how to handle your paycheque: 5 Things To Do With Your Paycheque the Second You Get It
4. Practice Gratitude
You probably don’t need any more of a reason to practice gratitude from me or the whole world, but practicing gratitude is an amazing way to begin to live more intentionally. Taking a look at all of the wonderful things in your life is a reminder of how far you’ve come, how much you have to be thankful for, and how living your values has brought you to the place that you are today. Here are 7 ways you can incorporate practicing gratitude into your daily routine!
5. Create a Plan For The Day
Having a plan doesn’t always mean everything will go according to it, but it’s a great way to structure and prioritize what needs to be done. When you create a plan for the day, you’re making an intention to commit to completing those set tasks.
Reminder: the plan for the day doesn’t have to be a scroll’s length. Take a look at #12 for my Choose 4 Rule.
6. Start Saying No (and Be Unapologetic About It)
As the amazingly talented Meghan Trainor said in her famous song, “No”, “my name is no, my sign is no, my number is no”. Of course, this applies to more than just dating or being hit on, but it’s a great reminder if you feel like you need one.
Saying no isn’t a bad thing. Saying no simply means that – no. Start normalizing saying no to things you don’t have the energy for, want to do or that don’t bring you closer to your goals. Saying no is a way of preserving your wellbeing. It also allows you to create more time for things that are in line with your values. Say no, don’t make a big deal about it, and don’t feel bad about it.
7. Check Your Consumerism
What you buy, who you follow on social media, what you watch on TV and what you eat directly impacts your internal and external environment. You get to ultimately choose what you surround yourself with. Pay attention to what you do out of habit and use as background noise. Ask yourself if what you’re watching on TV or following on social media is providing value to your life. Pay attention to how and what you buy, eat and view.
Note from Cyn: I am not shaming you for what you choose to consume or how you do it. I myself watch trash TV and use the McDonald’s Drive Thru, and these are things that exist in my life. In this point, I’m simply suggesting you become more aware of what it is you choose to consume, instead of doing it mindlessly, out of habit or just because.
8. Create a Vision Board
Seeing is believing. If you’re like me and like seeing things written down or directly in front of you, creating a vision board may be helpful for you! A vision board allows you to put down where you see yourself and what goals you’re working towards. It can serve as a reminder as to what you are striving for.
9. Declutter: Your Life and Your Mind
Keeping things in your life that serve no purpose is the opposite of living intentionally. Ask yourself honestly about the things you keep that serve no purpose, the emails you won’t unsubscribe to (but loathe receiving) and the people in your life you don’t really want around. Decluttering creates simplicity in organization in all aspects of your life. It forces you to become mindful of the people and things you choose to keep in your space.
It’s no secret that meditation is a way to increase mindfulness, improve self-awareness and improve concentration and focus. All of which, go hand in hand with intentional living. You can start small (5 minutes a day), and then increase as you feel more comfortable! Below is a Spotify playlist I use regularly for Guided Mediation. I still struggle with my mind wandering, and prefer to use guided meditation!
11. Take Responsibility For Your Actions
Making mistakes, forgetting things, and not following through are all things that happen to us as humans from time to time. When we take responsibility for our actions (whether it’s offering an apology, fixing something or searching for insight as to why the mistake happened), we are acknowledging that we are in control of our actions, and the consequences that result.
12. Choose 4 Rule
It’s exactly what it sounds like – choose 4. Choose 4 things you either want to be grateful for, accomplish that day, non-negotiables in your life, etc. Anyone can do 4 things – 4 is not an overwhelming number. And whether you end up doing more is up to you, but choosing 4 is a great place to start. I created this rule when I started Four to Success, a theme I use on @blogbabeco. This makes completing a to-do list tangible (without anxiety created by unchecked boxes. It will challenge you to choose 4 things you really want to prioritize.
13. Make Time For What You Enjoy
Enjoyment shouldn’t be seen as a reward, it truthfully should be incorporated into your life in all aspects. This could look like self-care, taking up a hobby, relaxing, etc. It can also look like being social, exercising or getting out of the house. Whatever it is, there needs to be joy, rest and treating yourself in your life, or else you face burnout, increased stress and unfulfillment. Choose things that spark joy in your life that align with your values, and commit to creating time for joy in each day.
14. Spend Time Outside Daily
Fresh air is the perfect reset for the mind, body and soul. Whether you have the time to get out and go for a walk, or just a simple walk to the mailbox, make a habit of getting outside. Nature is known to offer up a sense of clarity, recharge us and provide a sense of enjoyment.
15. Check in With Yourself
Choosing to live a more intentional life is not a one stop adventure. It is not a destination, but a journey. Being mindful and consciously aware of your choices requires you to revisit your goals, values and wants/needs. As our lives evolve and change, so do we. As we receive new information about ourselves and our world around us, we may want to adjust the sails. Checking in with yourself holds you accountable to making sure you’re living a life that is still in line with your values, fulfilling your lifetime goals and wishes.
16. Nourish Your Body
Don’t get me wrong, cheese and chocolate are my love language (and wine, but I thought that was obvious). Despite having foods we love and enjoy, it’s important to ensure we’re giving our body what it needs to grow and flourish. This includes fresh produce, foods from every food group, and plenty of water. There is no one right way for all humans to eat (we all have different digestive systems, preferences, and in some cases allergies and intolerances), but it is important that however you choose to fuel your body, you do so in a way that honours it.
17. Determine Your Values (‘Whys’)
What is important to you? What is something you choose to believe in? What morals do you have and practice? These are all important questions to ask yourself when you decide to live more intentionally. Knowing what your values are and how you can honour them through living is a huge aspect of living more intentionally.
For help discovering your values: What Are Your Values?
18. Pay Attention to How You Feel
Your gut feeling is a really good indication of how you’re doing in life. Like your own built in ‘Bad-Idea-O-Meter’, if you will. Paying attention to this gut feeling can be helpful when it comes to navigating through this new way of living. If it doesn’t feel right – and I’m not talking about natural discomfort and nervousness that comes with change – then don’t do it. Listen to and honour your gut feeling when it comes to making decisions. You know yourself best and are capable of making decisions that will serve you well.
19. Don’t Bring Your Phone to Bed
Get into bed, and sleep. Simple enough right? We’re so used to bringing our phones everywhere, but I’m telling you that your bed shouldn’t be one of them. Take a bit of time before bed and either meditate or practice gratitude. Cut out the overstimulation and ditch the screen-time before bed.
What you choose to journal about is your business and preference, but there are benefits to writing out your thoughts. Journaling can be a great release, a way to practice gratitude, a place to write lists and dreams and poems. If you want to know more about the benefits of journaling, you can check them out here!
21. Ditch the Vices
Everyone has a vice. Whether you’re a TV junkie, a snack junkie, or even maybe a wine junkie, we all have a vice.* Note that these vices are not limited to those three.* Now, I’m not telling you to rid yourself of every guilty pleasure you have, but I am telling you to clean up the list. Indulging in your vices often means participating in a bad habit, one that you know is not the best for you but you do it anyway (and truthfully probably isn’t aligned with your goals). Ditch the vices and stay true to yourself. Start to ask yourself if these things are merely a coping mechanism, or simply a bad habit you picked up. Figure out how you can replace it with something equally as enjoyable.
22. Take a Look at Your Social Circle
I talk about this a lot in other blog posts (guilty as charged) but, I mean it. Your social circle has a profound effect on how you think and act, whether you realize it or not. Jim Rohn once said “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. We embrace and share qualities of those that we surround ourselves with – whether these are favourable or unfavourable qualities. Ask yourself the hard question – are the people you’re surrounding yourself contributing to who you want to become, or are they holding you back from it?
23. Refresh Your Environment
I love the word environment because I don’t just mean your home, I mean your home + your job + your friend circle + your mind + the places you like to frequent + your city. Your whole existence is your environment, essentially (divided into your internal and external environment). You want to have an environment that reflects who you are as a person, and one that makes you generally happy to be there. Now, I don’t mean one bad day. I mean if you’re constantly displeased with your job/city/thoughts/friends, you’re creating an environment that is the opposite of an environment that allows you to grow and flourish. Ask yourself: how can I make changes to my environment that supports what I want to achieve and makes me content?
I’m so excited for you to start this journey to living a more intentional life. I just want to remind you of a few things before you go. Remember it’s a journey, not a destination. You will have slip ups, not every day will be perfect, and you likely will lose focus from time to time. However, that’s the point. Each day, you’re making a choice to stay on that path and make those choices that benefit you and your well-being. Becoming aware of moments of lost focus and straying are all part of the process. Breathe, slow down, and learn to embrace your values through living a beautiful life.