Intentional living has come along at a time where there’s a renewed fascination in metaphysical identity and the meaning of life. On our paths to discovering what we (people) are and why we’re here, we discover things within ourselves that are not inherent.
We find out that we’re packed with learned behaviors; that we’re very societally-conditioned beings. We’ve been shown and taught how to act a certain way our whole lives.
That results in our personalities being a bunch of predetermined settings that get us the best reactions from people.
How to be more intentional
Here’s a simple example. When you’re out and about and someone tells you “good morning”, you automatically reply with a “good morning” of your own. No matter who says it, no matter where.
Regardless of whether you want to say it or feel like saying it or even like the person. That’s because that’s what you’ve been conditioned to do all your life. When someone greets you, you respond with a greeting of your own.
If you don’t respond, that would (1) go against your conditioning which would cause you a level of discomfort, (2) open the door for the other party to get offended, and/or (3) indicate that there might be something wrong with you.
In some instances, these presets are great and save us a lot of face. They ensure that almost every casual social interaction we have will be successful. When we respond thoughtlessly, we respond quicker and usually in a way that is well received by the other person.
Then we don’t have to put too much thought into the dozens of interactions some of us have every single day and we can expend as little brain energy as possible.
However, once we identify these learned behaviors, we can begin the process of unraveling them to expose a more genuine approach to reacting to everyday life. The problem with these behaviors is that they aren’t the real us and don’t always reflect how we really feel or what we really think.
The goal is to get to a point where we’re reacting and interacting with the world in ways that are not a result of our conditioning but a reflection of how we really feel and who we really are at the core of our being.
Living intentionally is all about disengaging the auto-polite that allows us to float through life. We need to make more decisions that are in line with our values, beliefs, and goals.
Once we start living in accordance with these important principles, we can manifest and shape our lives so much easier. This breeds an enriching life full of purpose, productivity, experience, and awareness.
In order to live according to your values and objectives you have to find out just what they are. We’re going to dive into how to identify those principles and how to achieve fulfillment by shaping your life around them!
The 5 To-Do’s of Intentional Living
People who live intentionally become their goals—in a very physical and mental way. They shape themselves and live in ways that are most similar to the life they want in order to ignite events that also align with the life they want.
It’s an approach to goal-setting and prioritizing that involves all aspects of your life. If you have trouble staying focused on your goals or bouncing from one venture to the other, keep reading!
1. Write down your goals, values, and beliefs
This is the mental part but it’s the foundation of the intentional living process: this is where you set your intentions! You can’t be guided by objectives and principles you don’t have.
“Values” describe what is important to you. “Goals” are used to describe material things, statuses, and states of being that we aim to obtain or achieve in the future. Your “beliefs” are what you have faith in and believe to be true in regards to yourself, life, and the world around you.
It’s time to write some things down (it’s the best way to keep your thoughts organized)! We’re going to do a deep dive into your mind so carve out a good chunk of time and grab a writing utensil and a piece of paper/journal.
Intentional Living Questionnaire
- Beliefs. Let’s start with your beliefs. Here’s some questions you can contemplate and record in order to find out what those are. If you don’t have an answer right now, just don’t answer—it’s okay! There’s also no limit to the number of answers you can give, as long as you’re honest. If you’d like a small objective to start with, give just one answer for each question.
- Where do you think the world came from?
- Do you think about the concept of “destiny”?
- Do you think about the concept of “karma”?
- What do you think about “free will”?
- What about horoscopes?
- What makes you happy?
- What makes you uncomfortable?
- What spiritual/religious deity do you find comfort in?
- What makes the world beautiful?
- What do you think is the key to happiness?
- What do you think your purpose is? (This should be in line with something that makes you happy.)
- Values. Next up is values. Apply the same guidelines that you used for Beliefs to these questions.
- How do you define “good”?
- How do you define “bad”?
- How do you define “right”?
- How do you define “wrong”?
- How do you define “success”?
- Why is success important to you?
- How do you define “abundance”?
- How do you define “lack of abundance?”
- What are your hobbies and talents?
- What are your passions?
- What is your favorite downtime?
- Who in your life makes you feel safe and comfortable?
- Who in your life makes you feel scared and uncomfortable?
- Who in your life makes you feel confident?
- Who in your life consistently makes you feel important?
- If you got a million dollars today, what would you do with it?
- If money and resources weren’t a factor, what would you be doing with your life right now?
- If you could donate a million dollars to one charity, which would you choose?
- Goals. Last but not least, your goals. This time we’re going to lead each question with: “When you imagine the best, most ideal version of yourself…”
- where do they live?
- what does their home look like?
- what do they do for work?
- how often do they work?
- are they in a relationship? If so, with who?
- what do they physically look like?
- do they have children?
- what are they good at?
- what is their daily routine like?
- what is their strongest attribute?
- how do they feel when they leave the house?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer all these questions in one go. You can add to the list as time goes along if there’s anything you’re questioning or just don’t have an answer for right now.
Keep the questions that you don’t have answers for in mind, and try to come to conclusions about them by examining your thoughts and actions throughout the day.
You don’t have to answer all the questions in order to continue the process either. The list is a great thing to refer back to in order to stay on track.
But as long as you’ve contemplated enough to feel like you have a solid grasp of what you believe, value, and aspire to do, you can move on to the next step.
2. Get clear about how to get from A to B
Examine your list. Come to conclusions about how you can change your life to simulate and attract your goals, stick to your values, and act on your beliefs!
Establish what the ideal You would do and how they would act in accordance with your principles. Then work to make your life reflect that.
3. Implement these changes into your life
Act on your beliefs. Take opportunities to feed whatever you believe in. Abide by your beliefs in a healthy way that begets favor and abundance. Go to religious and spiritual services, organization meetings, or practices. Engage in mindfulness practices. Be in harmony with the forces that you work with.
Research more about anything you believe or are suspicious about. Take steps to expand your belief, and be open-minded to the ideas that resonate with you. And believe in yourself first!
Stick to your values. To ensure that you lead a fulfilling life and attract more of what you want, acknowledge and be grateful for the things that make you feel good. Spend more time with loved ones.
Stay away from negative influences. Cultivate talents and things you love to do. Limit the amount of unsavory content you’re exposed to. Engage in things that make you feel confident. And distance yourself from toxic people.
Draw your goals closer. A great tip to drawing your goals closer is to move like you’ve already achieved them. Mimic the person you imagined and described in the “Goals” section of your Intentional Living Questionnaire as closely as possible.
What clothes do you think that they would wear? What do you think their daily routine would look like? How do you think they would react? Manage their money? Wear their hair? Decorate their house?
Once you shape all these physical aspects of your Ideal self, do them! Really step into the body and role of this ideal You.
4. Take time out the day to reflect and adjust
Intentional living calls for you to reflect on your decisions and actions. That can sound intimidating for some but don’t tense up!
We’re just putting our words and actions next to our goals, beliefs, values objectively to see where we’re falling short so we can do better. Essentially we’re just gathering information to make more efficient progress in the journey.
At the end of the day during your downtime, think or journal about (1) what you did today that you’re proud of and (2) what you could’ve done better today. (Note: Be honest but be nice to yourself!) Make adjustments by celebrating the little successes and being conscious of the little downfalls.
5. Get up and move everyday
An intentional life is a purpose-filled life. Every day that you wake up has the potential to be literally anything that you want. Get up out of bed even if you don’t have any plans today, you never know what could happen.
Living intentionally also means that there’s never really a shortage of something to do, because the right way to spend your life would be doing anything that gets you closer to your goals, keeps your beliefs strong, and keeps your values satisfied.
You can study, apply for the job you really want, exercise, get ahead on work, engage in a hobby, meditate, visit your sister, read about what you have interest in. Do something to contribute to your knowledge, your energy, your happiness, or your objectives.
One thing’s for certain though: nothing will happen if you sit still.
Living intentionally is akin to being in the constant state of living for something. It’s empowering to live free of other’s expectations in a way that naturally constructs a life that you’re happy with.
As you combine your actions with your intentions, the choices you make in life begin a domino effect that begets results that align with those intentions. This is the hidden power of living intentionally.
Don’t go through the intentional living process, or life, blindly! It’s important to have some general belief, value, and goal outline.
If it’s not concrete yet, that’s okay. If you’d like to explore what you believe and value, ask some of these questions to someone you trust: a loved one, close friend, mentor, or positive role model.
Consider their answers and adopt the ones that truly resonate with you—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (it’s called “guidance”)!