Many people desire to live a life that makes them feel more fulfilled, but they simply don’t know how to do so. The answer? Intentional living. Intentional living is a practice that can have a positive impact on just about every area of your life.
It’s all about deciding what your values are and living in a way that fully aligns with them. Let's get into just how all of this works!
What is intentional living?
Intentional living is living a life that is in alignment with your core values. Someone who lives an intentional life decides on purpose what they want their life to look like.
They’re in tune with their goals and values, and they make decisions based on their priorities. By being intentional, they are also able to pursue not only living a simpler life but also a richer life.
How can intentional living change your life?
Intentional living can do wonders for your life. While it might seem like more work than just going with the flow, you’ll see the benefits in every area of your life. And who doesn't want to get to the point where they are living their best life?
It gives you clarity
One of the most significant benefits you get from intentional living is clarity. When you’re in tune with your values, you can more easily identify the type of life you want. And it’s easy to spot the parts of your life that don’t quite fit.
It prevents you from living life on autopilot
So many people go through life on autopilot. In fact, roughly 96% of people report living much of their life on autopilot. They do the same things each day, simply because that’s what they’ve always done.
They make decisions based on what’s easiest or most comfortable at the time. However, when you live intentionally, you make each decision on purpose rather than letting decisions happen to you.
It encourages gratitude
In a busy world, it’s easy to lose sight of the important things. But intentional living really opens your eyes to the parts of your life that are most important to you.
It allows you to truly feel gratitude for those things. This comes with even more benefits. Studies have found that those who practice gratitude are also happier.
It helps you reach your goals
Intentional living is one of the best goal-setting tips there is. When you’re in tune with your values and priorities, it’s easy to set specific and actionable goals. And knowing what you want from life gives you all the motivation you need to go after those goals.
How to live more intentionally
Now you know the benefits of intentional living, here's how to get started with applying intention to your life.
Take inventory of your life now
The first step to living a more intentional life is to take inventory of everything in your life now. Examine your relationships, career, health, financial situation, and more. Make a list of the results you have now. This will help you to decide what results you really want.
Define your values
Once you know where you currently are in life, spend some time thinking about your values. Ask yourself these key questions to help you hone in on what’s important to you:
- Which parts of your life bring you the most joy?
- What is your vision for the future, and what would need to change for you to get there?
- What have you been prioritizing up until now? How does that make you feel?
- Which parts of your life bring you energy, and which take away your energy?
Implement supportive habits
Once you know your core values, you can implement daily habits to help support those values. For example, you might decide that financial health is one of your priorities.
If your life doesn’t currently reflect that value, you can implement new habits to change that. You might schedule weekly money dates with yourself, create a debt payoff plan, or cut back on your spending to boost your savings.
You also decide to take a few minutes each day to enjoy the simplest pleasures of life.
Have a why behind each decision
As I previously mentioned, intentional living comes with the benefit of no longer living life on autopilot. To do that, you must have a strong why behind every decision. No more making decisions because it’s the easiest option or what other people want you to do.
Instead, have a purpose behind every decision you make — and it’s okay if that purpose is self-serving.
Check-in with yourself regularly
Intentional living isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. It’s a decision you have to make each and every day. A great way to do this is to schedule times to check in with yourself and make sure you’re still living in a way that aligns with your values.
Intentional living tips for your career
The best way tip for intentional living in your career is to decide ahead of time what you want. This means setting specific career goals such as a target position, company, or salary.
Once you have specific goals in mind, prioritize them. Set aside time in your schedule before others can fill it with your priorities. You can also start saying no to the things that don’t serve you to make more room for the things that do.
It will feel strange at first and might elicit a negative response from people in your life. But it’s critical if you really want an intentional career.
Intentional living in your career also requires prioritizing massive action over passive action. Passive action is consuming information, while massive action is taking that information and doing something with it.
Most of us spend our time in passive action. We consume and plan but never move to the massive action phase. Intentional living requires massive action so you can change your life to reflect your values.
Tips for intentional living as a parent
Parenting is one of the most important areas to practice intentional living, but it can also be one of the most difficult. One way to really practice intentional parenting is to create a family mission statement or a parenting affirmation.
Commit to being present and engaged when you’re with your kids. This means setting technology boundaries around your kids and noticing how often you use technology while spending time with your kids.
Another tip for intentional living as a parent is to make quality time to spend alone with each child. With fewer distractions, you’ll be forced to be more present. You can also better learn what each of your children needs, which can help to define your family values and priorities.
Tips for intentional living for your health
Our health is something that far too many of us undervalue. We take it for granted, and we often pay for it later, physically, mentally, and financially. One startling study found that those with poor health earn less money, save less, and accumulate less wealth over their lives than healthy people.
One way to live an intentionally healthy life is to create daily routines. Your daily routine can include time to move for the body and time to focus on your mental health through journaling, meditation, or therapy.
Practicing mindful eating is also a great way to live an intentionally healthy life. When you eat mindfully, you really pay attention to the cues your body is sending, and you’re fully present while eating.
Tips for intentional living with your finances
I wasn’t really intentional about my finances until my late twenties, and I know many other people have the same experience. Without specific goals in mind, it can be difficult to make intentional spending decisions.
As a result, setting goals and making a plan for your money is the best way to be intentional with your finances and to change your money story. A few other tips you can incorporate include:
- Pause before you buy — create a rule where you must wait at least 72 hours after deciding to buy something.
- Be mindful of where your money comes from — knowing the time that goes into each dollar can help you to make more intentional decisions about spending it.
- Schedule weekly money dates with yourself.
- Practice gratitude for what you have — this can help reduce the urge to accumulate more.
The bottom line
Intentional living can have an incredible impact on your life. You can stop living on autopilot and say no to the things that aren’t serving you to make room for the things that are.
Intentional living isn’t a one-and-done process. It takes ongoing effort and practice. The good news? You can do it! It's time to live your best life!