If you’ve read any of my other recent blogs, you’ll know I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I hit a good couple of obstacles these last few months, but I’m slowly healing from it and in doing that, I’ve taken the chance to slow down and really assess how I rebuild myself. So, neck-deep in self-growth research, I stumbled upon the idea of intentional living.
Intentional living is something I’ve come across and worked towards before, but facing it this time around, I feel a little more capable to go full force at it. I’m definitely more comfortable and certain in who I am and where I want to be this time, but I’m being a lot more honest about the parts of myself and my life I’ve often hushed and hidden away.
“Picture who you were 10 years ago. You were a different person. Different goals. Different ideas. Different human. We irrationally believe we will be the same way we are today in 10 years. You won’t. You’ll be a totally new human. Who do you want to be? Whoever it is, do it on purpose. Intentionally.” – Richie Norton
What are the benefits of intentional living?
I could never list every benefit that comes from living more intentionally (and honestly, it’s probably more fun to explore them yourself as you find them). It’s such a big shift in mindset that it’ll benefit and shape every part of your life. We’ll each end up with our own custom cocktail of benefits and lessons.
But generally speaking, the benefits of intentional living are:
- Feeling more aligned with your actions and values
- Connecting with your purpose
- Having more time for the things you love
- Being more productive
- Growing more self-confidence and self-compassion
- Being more happy and content
- Finding opportunities and experiences you could only have wished for
- Becoming more sure of who you are
- Ridding yourself of unnecessary stress
When you become more intentional with your life, you’ll start attracting the things you want. It’s the law of attraction. If you concentrate positive energy into something, you’ll find a ton of opportunities, experiences, people and material come into your life.
How can you get started with intentional living?
I’ve broken the process of how to get started with intentional living down into 9 simple steps for you. Let’s get started.
Step 1) Consider your values & priorities
We’re here, essentially, to grow the life you want to live. So first, we need to figure out what that actually is. We’ll start by looking at your values and priorities as they form the foundation of what you truly love. Ask yourself the following questions and answer in as much detail as you can:
- Where do you want to be?
- How do you want to live?
- What does your ideal day look like?
Then, after you’ve rambled on a little bit, pick out the bits that really stand out to you. What are the common themes? What’s at top priority?
Step 2) Create daily habits and routines
Here, take your answers from step one and assess how well your current routine fits with your priorities. Then, knowing which habits align and which don’t, start planning a new routine. Brainstorm new habits you can include to uphold your priorities and add these in too.
A quote I tend to return back to on the subject of intentional living is ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ – Annie Dillard. It’s so true! The actions we take everyday may seem small, but they really do add up.
Then, start ingraining these habits into your daily routine, a few at a time. Creating a new routine can be tricky, but by taking it slow and adding in a couple of actions at a time, you should find yourself slipping into a new routine in no time.
Step 3) Create your environment
When starting any new routine it’s important to make sure your environment is going to help you stick to it. So assess what’s around you. Look at your physical environment, but also your job, your diet, the people around you, what you consume online.
All of these things are massive influences on your life so they too need to be things you love and feel good about. If they’re not, slowly but surely, change them! This means eating food that makes you and your body feel good. Surrounding yourself with people, digital or not, that teach you something and make you feel inspired. Creating physical spaces that help you concentrate on your goals as well as relax and recharge when you need to.
Step 4) Learn to pause and think
It’s worth noting that whilst we’re talking about routines here, intentional living asks us to act intentionally, so doing our routines on auto-pilot, no matter how beneficial the habits are, isn’t going to help us access all those benefits we talked about earlier.
Sometimes living intentionally will be deciding to completely disregard your routine.
Intentional living is about learning to use those few moments before you make a decision to ask why you’re making it and what decision you really want to make here. This can be a hard habit to get yourself into, but by regularly refreshing your routines, questioning (but not getting hung up on!) decisions after they’ve been made and trying to catch yourself prior as much as possible, you’ll get better and better at doing it.
Step 5) Take a good look in the mirror
This is the scary bit. This is where you have to look your mirrored self in the eye and promise to do whatever it takes to get them to where they want to be. And then, you have to be honest. That little voice that tells you to stop wasting your time scrolling on social media? Listen to it. Don’t pretend it’s not there. These little choices really do add up. Confronting these habits and mindsets that are holding you back will make the biggest difference in propelling you forward into the life you want to live.
Learn about yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your likes and dislikes? How do you function best? In your journey to become more intuitive, it’s important to know who you are so you can make those decisions with confidence.
It’s difficult, but know that there is nothing within yourself you can’t handle. Be honest.
Step 6) Have an overall goal
It can be quite overwhelming and tiring to run every decision you make through filters of values, goals, ideas and beliefs. I recommend having a single word or phrase that acts as your overall purpose or goal. This can change regularly or stay the same, it’s up to you. I tend to set one of these yearly.
The benefit here is that all you need to do is before making a decision is say ‘will this help me get closer to *insert purpose here*’. If the answer is yes, then go for it. If the answer is no, reevaluate whether you really want it or drop it.
Step 7) Learn to say no
As we said in step three, it’s important to have an environment that’s going to support the changes and lifestyle you want. This is also true for your schedule. It might sound a little pedantic, but time’s precious, and everything we’re trying to do with intentional living is to help you make the most of your time.
The best way to clear up your schedule is to learn to say no.
By entering the process of making intentional decisions, you’re going to realise some of the things you do with your time now isn’t necessary, helpful or even something you want in your life. Listen to the voice that tells you you’re only here because so-and-so or society or habit has brought you there. And say no.
Step 8) Choose what you love
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully you’re feeling more prepared to go out and start making the decisions that will move you towards your best life.
I wanted to stress, before I let you go though, that this isn’t about always making the ‘most productive’, ‘healthiest’ or even ‘best’ decisions. This is just about knowing why you’re making the decisions and making the choice that’s best for you in that moment. Sometimes that will be the healthy or productive or ‘best’ option. But sometimes the best option will be treating yourself to a pizza after a long week or staying up too late, booking that trip you almost can’t afford or saying no to that thing you really should say yes to (ps. there’s no such thing as shoulds).
Live intentionally to create the best life for you. Not out of habit or for anybody else and certainly not for productivity’s sake.
Enjoy your dream life. Love, Ella-Rose xx