I use to believe that just “going with the flow” of life was the best course for me. I felt tied down by schedules and planning out each day. I felt restricted. What I didn’t realize during that time is that by not being intentional with my days, I was missing all of the good stuff. I always felt “behind” some how. I was missing life!
Do you ever wake up in the morning and then a whole bunch of stuff happens and then suddenly it’s dinner time and it’s time to start ending your day? You never really know what even happened all of those hours before?
You have heard this plenty of times before, we all have the same 24 hours each day but what we do with those given hours varies greatly between people. How is it that I am over here a hot mess with dirty dishes over flowing the sink, my hair is messy, the dog still needs a walk, laundry is piling up to the ceiling, calls need to be made, bills are over do, what am I even feeding my family tonight since it’s already past the dinner time mark? Where are all of those kids I birthed anyway? You get the idea. THEN this other person has all of her shit in order. Kids are found and clean, bills are paid, errands are done, dinner is hot on time every day, she even volunteered today. What the hell IS this kind of crazy?! People can actually fit all of this and more into one day?
By intentional, I mean taking deliberate, purposeful, planned actions with regard to your overall life. Being intentional is about choice. Choosing to live a certain way, act a certain way, think a certain way, Be a certain way. It is about focusing on the most important tasks of your day and eliminating the rest. Be mindful of creating the best use of your time you have been given. What we must do is actually live in each moment of our lives and not simply go through the motions of what is expected of us.
What I have found is that by being intentional with my days, I can actually accomplish so much more each day and also leave time for the fun stuff too. I can no longer do things like watch TV for hours after the kids go to bed at night but I have found this to not be bothersome. I am finding more joy actually living life instead of watching it pass by.
“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.” ~ Richie Norton
How To Achieve Intentional Living
- Prioritize. We all have things we must do each day. Make a list of what is absolute. You have a job. Your house needs cleaned. The kids have activities. You need a shower. Make a list of everything you must do.
- Set Goals and carry them out. Decide what it is that you want out of life and just do it.
- Say No. Learn to say no to things that don’t align with your goals and purpose. Clear your calendar. If we say no to enough stuff, we can make room to say yes to what matters most. By saying no to every whim of other people, you are not being selfish. You are being a better version of yourself by eliminating the stress of always only doing for other people.
- Gratitude. Be grateful for all that you do have and all that you do. Be grateful for all of the little things in life that often go unnoticed because we are too busy to pay attention.
- Volunteer. Love on other people. Volunteer to help where you are needed most. Having a servant heart brings an amazing amount of joy.
- Autopilot. There are certain areas were routine and habit are good but don’t get stuck on autopilot going through the motions every single day doing the exact same thing. Living with intention is actually choosing where your life will take you. Don’t get stuck in a rut of autopilot.
- Mindfulness. Be mindful of what you consume in all areas of your life. What you feed your brain matters. Social media and TV isn’t all bad but be intentional with what you allow yourself to see and how much time you spend doing so. It is so very easy to waste a large amount of time on social media reading negativity and taking quizzes. Do we really need to know what kind of potato we are?
- Kindness. Choose to be kind every day. Be kind to yourself and to others. Always. It is a reflection of who you are. Do not expect anything in return but be kind because you want to.
- Listen. Learn to be an active listener to deeply connect with other people. We all want to be heard. We all want to be validated. Truly listen to family members, friends and even friends online. I have several friends who I have a relationship with only through text. Even through text, hear them and have them know you are right there with them.
- Self Reflection. Spend time doing things for only yourself. Each day, spend a little time in your journal. Think/write about the direction of your life. What are your values. What do you want out of life. Are you taking steps to achieve what you seek. Take your answers to these questions and alter your life to align it to where you want to go.
Distractions are everywhere pulling for our attention. When I get distracted and do not choose to be intentional with my days, my mental health suffers. I have written about depression here, Depression and anxiety here, Anxiety. My life starts to feel out of control. I start to feel like I have no direction and no purpose in my existence. I start to feel like I am only surviving by only going through the motions of daily life. For me, it is best to stay the course and enjoy living a fulfilling and purpose filled life.
Want a new job? Go get one. Want to learn how to do some cool hobby? Do it. Want to learn how to play the guitar or be a painter? Turn off Netflix or Social media and do it. Want to get fit? Exercise. Remember, you have a CHOICE. Don’t allow outside forces or past experiences dictate you living your best life.
So, cut the crap and get to the good stuff by living an intentional life! ❤