Have you ever woken up in the morning, thinking of all the unfinished tasks of the previous day? Do you constantly worry about being able to pay your rent or save up for retirement? Is most of your life spent on school runs, grocery runs, errand runs – running, running and running? In this mode, the one song that deeply resonates with me is Bono’s, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” Life is like that.
Let’s turn those questions around. When was the last time you took the time to actually think about what you were doing? Like, why is your to do list so long? Do you really like doing all of those tasks?
If you’re like most of the people on this planet (including me), your answer to the first set of questions is probably ‘Yes’ and to the latter set, ‘No’. It’s understandable. Our lives get faster and faster with each generation, and we get burnt out earlier and earlier. We all have a bucket list of things to do and places to visit ‘someday’. However, the problem is that ‘someday’ never comes, and before we know it, it’s time to leave the earth.
If it is, and the mundane of the everyday excites you, then you’re already living the life you want. However, if you want more out of life, you’ll need to change the way you live. You need to live intentionally. So how can intentional living change your life?
What is Intentional Living?
As author Richie Norton says, “Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”
Don’t mistake intentional living with mindfulness; it is that and much more. Intentional living is also about being in touch with your core values and staying true to them every day. It is realizing that you have the power to change your life, and accepting responsibility for your choices. It is about enjoying every minute of every hour of every day of your life.
What is NOT intentional living.
With abstract concepts like this, it’s easy to get confused, just like people mistake busyness with productivity. To avoid that, let’s take a look at what intentional living is NOT:
- Having everything figured out
- Trying to do it all or have it all
- A ‘set in stone’ road map
- A one-time thing
Michael Hyatt has described this perfectly when he said, “Most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than they spend planning their life.”
Think about the last time you took a trip. You planned everything down to the last detail. When you’d go, where you’d stay, where you’d visit, what you’d eat, how much money you’d set aside etc. And then you took action – you bought your tickets, booked a hotel, hired a tour guide – you did everything necessary to execute the plan you made in the beginning.
When planning out their lives, people may go as far as listing out all the wonderful things they want to achieve, but then they fail to make the small everyday changes needed to actually make them happen. And that is exactly why intentional living is so important.
How Intentional Living can Change your Life
Here are just some of the ways how Intentional Living can change your life (for the better). It has for me, at least. And I am still stumbling my way across these. Sometimes I win, sometimes, I give up and then I give it a try again.
You realize your true potential
When you are in touch with your core values and only work in line with them, you’ll find a renewed sense of purpose in your life and your work. You’ll awaken your creativity and think clearer. Everything you do will be from the heart, and your true potential will shine. You’re doing what you truly love, and it will show!
You let go of stress
This is a big one! Stress is one of the leading causes of lifestyle diseases that range from depression to hypertension. When you live intentionally, you’re being true to yourself, and you let go of unreasonable expectations placed by others, or even by yourself. Your outlook will change, as you start looking at obstacles as challenges instead of roadblocks. This one really is my waterloo because I get stressed at the drop of a hat!
You have fewer regrets
They say that at the end of your life, you regret the things you didn’t do, rather than the things you did. Intentional living makes sure that doesn’t happen, since you are spending your time doing what you want and cutting out the rest. Living intentionally helps you make better decisions, which in turn leads to fewer regrets.
Your dreams actually come true
Yes, it’s true! When you have a clear idea of what you want your life to be like and what you want to do, you’ll want to get working on it right away. With small, consistent and focused changes every day, your ‘someday’ won’t be a vague date in the distant future, it’ll have a specific timeline and plan. And since you know what you really want, your goals are set to achieving it. It works in your mind on a very sub-conscious level. This is something that Buddhism also teaches. I practice it.
You enjoy life to the fullest
Once you separate the wheat from the chaff, what you’re left with is pure gold. Enjoying life to the fullest is a concept that Marie Kondo, author and organizing guru, speaks of when she says, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart.” She equates this with having a bookshelf full of only those books that you absolutely love. With intentional living, that is how your life will be – having only that which you truly value.
Living an intentional life is not difficult, but it can involve difficult decisions. As mentioned above, this is not an overnight change – it’s an ongoing process. If you’re new to this, take some time every day, maybe in the early morning, and look at your to-do list and evaluate what each item means to you, and why you’re doing it.
Asking yourself these questions will provide insight on what you really want in life and will clear the way forward to help you achieve your dreams. Are you aware of how intentional living can change your life?
I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.