The word “intention” has gained traction since followers of the modern day spiritual and mindfulness movement began using it as one of their principles.
If you’ve come across the term “setting your intention” online, it usually has to do with manifestations and being proactive in bringing about the life you desire.
Setting your intention describes proclaiming what you want in a way that establishes concrete concentration of mind, body, and spirit that allows energies to conspire in your favor.
In other words, setting your intention is deciding what you want, what you need to do to align yourself with what you want, then taking steps to do that.
Intention has more to do with the changes you make in your life that are directed toward your goal than it has to do with the steps you actually take to reach your goal.
This gives you a solid idea about the foundation of intentional living. Intentional living uses the principle of “intention” and applies it to everyday life.
They’re manifesting by making changes that align with the life that they see themselves living. How do intentional-livers pursue their goals differently than others?
Intentional Living: What is it?
Intentional living is being in a constant state of awareness of your actions and thoughts, and what does and does not coincide with who and where you want to be.
People who live intentionally wake up with a purpose everyday: crafting the life they deserve by taking action today. A lot of people today live life on “auto-pilot”, or mindlessly go about their daily routine and respond to stimuli with the least amount of thought.
Intentional-livers don’t go about purposelessly—they don’t do anything impulsively or thoughtlessly. They’re aware of how they respond to others and the world because their beliefs, goals, and values guide them every day.
Intentional people are always evaluating whether their actions or patterns of behavior reflect their objectives and values.
Intentional living requires a clear and deep understanding of who you are, what you want, and what you believe at your very core. Then, reflecting those through behaviors, continually, in your everyday choices and actions.
Hence, intentional people can’t afford to ever be unaware or live on auto-pilot—because our days are just endless strings of choices. They have to be cognizant that the choices they make line up with their principles and aspirations.
Anyone can live intentionally, and a lot of people already do! Think of devoutly religious people, deeply spiritual people, the military, or missionaries for example. They have their sets of beliefs and aspirations that are concrete and they use them to guide their everyday interactions.
They’re true to themselves, their goals, and their values and they lead quality daily lives driven by their personal motivations.
Intentional Living: Benefits of Living Intentionally
The benefits of living intentionally can be seen in what you do, what you think, and how you feel once you start moving with a purpose.
Only positive things can come from being aligned with your values; as long as your values are positive. Note: It’s never beneficial to yourself or anyone else to act on beliefs that encourage hate, violence, or is in the worst interest of another person.
A lot of our distracted, reactive population can benefit from intentional living practices.
Setting boundaries is easier
When you abide by clearly-defined principles and are driven by goals that align with those values, you naturally want to limit your exposure to worldly things that don’t align with those things. Hence, it becomes a lot easier to set those limitations.
You make better choices
You’ll also begin to automatically make choices that satisfy these values—choices that shape a life that’s optimal for you. They might not be the choices that you’re expected to make by others, but conscious choice-making leaves you satisfied at the end of the day.
Making better choices means acting and reacting with authenticity to self and in a way that reflects our values and objectives.
You’re more present in the moment
This present-state-awareness allows you to make those better choices and take those actions that are conducive to your success. When you’re pursuing an intentional living, you have to be totally tuned into what’s going on around you in order to respond constructively and genuinely.
We’re all socially conditioned to automatically give a certain reaction to certain stimuli. Has someone ever bumped into you while walking past and you automatically say, “I’m sorry”? That’s an example of you responding with these default settings.
Even though you didn’t do anything wrong, you weren’t even the cause of the accident, you said, “I’m sorry”. That’s because you said it on auto-pilot—since your brain wasn’t aware enough to consciously register the events surrounding the bump, all it processed was that you collided with another person.
Hence, it spat out the response that would be most appropriate (by society’s standards) to give given that you just collided with someone, even if the crash wasn’t even your fault.
Intentional-livers are pushing back against thoughtless action like the example above. If they want to do this, they have to have a constant present-moment-awareness that not only allows them to respond in ways that are more thoughtful and constructive, but to be more deeply invested in good and important moments.
A lot of today’s people have no idea just how bad they are at living in the moment. But once you let yourself be fully submerged into an event, person, song, pet, hobby, or anything, you experience a greater depth of thought and feeling.
You have greater self-knowledge
A clear database of your values, beliefs, and what makes you happy doesn’t come pre-programmed in you.
That comes when you spend quiet time alone with Self, exhibit the willingness to be honest with yourself, and maintain the open-mindedness to know that your true beliefs might not actually align with the ones you were raised with or the ones that you feel like you should have. It’s something that a lot of us should do.
We get to what we want when we have an unobstructed picture of it. We have an unobstructed picture of it when it’s really what we want at our very core. We know it’s what we really want at our very core after we’ve taken the time to look within and garner a deeper self-knowledge of who we are and what we need. .
You’re more fulfilled
Being within the good graces of your value system makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something every single day. Having these goals and principles in place that you unwaveringly believe in means that everyday you’re building character, everyday you’re sacrificing, and everyday your resolve is getting stronger.
Imagine if you stayed in bed all day, everyday: you’re leading an easy life but you’re not leading a fulfilled life. You find fulfillment in living with purpose—an aim for something or someone.
Intentional Living and Minimalism
Minimalism creates the right conditions in order to pursue an intentional living. Minimalism is about getting rid of what isn’t necessary in your life to make room for better.
Minimalists declutter their possessions so that they only own what they need in order to live, and be healthy and productive. This vital decluttering removes distractions and intrusions from your life; it cuts down on the “noise” around you.
Without distractions surrounding you, you’ll be able to more diligently focus on manifesting the life you want as well as focusing on yourself.
Minimalism cuts down on the amount of things you have to tend to around the house as well as the amount of things you have to buy for your house. Hence, you can invest that time and money into shaping your existence.
Minimalism also reduces outside influences who might attempt to sway you from your path or encourage you to slack on your values.
Disconnecting from the material world allows you to make more accurate, independent decisions about what is best for you. You won’t be enticed to go with the crowd or do what you’re expected to do.
When it’s not as easy for things to penetrate your wall of belief in your goals and abilities, it’s not easy for people to discourage you.
If you find that you have trouble staying focused, setting goals, or living in the current moment, consider integrating intentional living principles into your life. The truth is, most of us should learn how to be more intentional.
Intentional living gives you a methodical way to prioritize your goals and be proactive in achieving them. Their process can be applied to long-term and short-term goals—you can tackle things at a pace that’s comfortable for you!
To live intentionally is to try your best to walk the line right next to where you see yourself in the future. If intentional-livers want to attract the best version of themselves as quickly as possible they have to keep what they want firmly held in their subconscious as they go about their day.
This requires practice, of course, but the less distractions you have to take your mind away, the easier you can pay attention!
If you are someone who lives intentionally, consider also minimizing your living in order to add a new dimension to your journey. Minimalism increases your productivity and begets gratitude for the things you have which keeps you moving forward towards the things you want.
A minimal life might just be that boost you needed to kick your manifestations into overdrive!