Be intentional. How to live a purposeful life.
Do you ever wonder if there’s more to life? If you’re spending your time wisely and making a difference in the world? These are some tough questions to ponder and can leave you feeling a little hopeless and discouraged. Intentional living will help with this.
It’s a good idea to evaluate your priorities and goals regularly to help you answer these questions. In this article, I will offer some insight and questions to ask yourself that will help you make some changes and tweak your goals so that you feel more fulfilled. Living with intention and making purposeful decisions doesn’t need to be overwhelming. It’s a lifelong journey and one that leads to great rewards.
The importance of Intentional Living
It’s easy to live in the spur of the moment without needing to think through decisions. With so many things available, at our fingertips, that spontaneity wins out a lot of the time. There are also so many distractions that bombard us each and every minute. How can we avoid it? Below are 7 steps on how to lead a more fulfilling life.
Examine what you believe.
Examine your decisions.
Examine what drives you.
Go back to the beginning. Figure out what you believe and what you value at its core. It’s more than what you stand for. It’s the fundamental beliefs that shape how you view the world and what influences the decisions you make, your thought process, and how you see right and wrong. It’s important to ask these questions and consider how outside influences have altered your perception so that what you stand for is not in line with what you ultimately believe.
Based on Charles Colson’s book, How Now Shall We Live?, there are three fundamental questions that every individual should answer.
-Where did we come from, and who are we?
-What has gone wrong with the world?
-What can we do to fix it?
Answering these questions will shape your relationships and how you treat people; your work ethic; how you choose to spend your time, and even the attitude you have towards your belongings and the lifestyle you want to live.
Question: What principles and outside influences have shaped my way of thinking about the world?
Contemplation is a healthy exercise in desiring to change ourselves and some unhealthy viewpoints and behaviors. Whether you are confident in the worldview you hold or are still researching your own beliefs, contemplation will reveal things you want to improve and will lead to personal growth.
Contemplation leads to asking questions. Asking questions reveals a willingness to consider a different perspective. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and examine a different viewpoint is healthy.
If you aren’t able to handle healthy criticism or consider what someone else has to say, you will never learn and never become a better person.
This isn’t an exercise in beating yourself up, but one of honesty and gentleness. It’s an inward exercise in self-improvement. The better you know what you believe and why you believe it will allow you also to know yourself better.
The willingness to change one’s mind in the light of new evidence is a sign of rationality, not weakness. Stuart Sutherland.
Question: Do I have any beliefs that need to change, that aren’t benefitting me or my outlook on life?
3. Know yourself
Strengths and weaknesses
Gifts and talents
Studying your personality type is a great place to start. Learning about how you function gives you insight on what makes you tick. But also determining any shortcomings you have will help you steer clear of pitfalls.
Take some time to journal about what you struggle with but also things you’re good at doing. Ask those closest to you that you can trust to give you insight.
Gaining confidence in who you are, what makes you tick, and what’s important to you will lead to having a more significant impact on the world. Challenging situations will not shake you as much. You can set more definite goals with successful results.
Question: Do I know myself well enough to understand how I best function?
Living with intention means that life is full of opportunities. Choices on what activities you want to participate in and how you want to live your life. Once you’ve decided what is important to you, you can start focusing on these things.
When evaluating responsibilities and activities, there are four quadrants that everything falls into.
- Important and urgent
- Important and not urgent
- Not urgent but important
- Not urgent or important
Take some time to think about how you spend your time. Intentional living enables you to value activities and gives them purpose. I’m sure there are things you can’t avoid, such as work, household chores, or even spending time with friends and family out of obligation.
But when you know what’s meaningful and fulfilling, you can make better choices and weed out activities that do not fit who you are and what you want to accomplish. It’s easier to say no when there’s something more important to say yes to.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Intentional living means valuing yourself and not running yourself ragged. Make time for meditation, relaxation, and recuperation in your schedule.
Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure. Tony Robbins
Question: Is your life out of balance? Do you spend too much time in certain areas and not enough on others?
Keeping up with the Jones
Being intentional doesn’t mean you copy someone else. You are unique in your own way and can make an impact in ways that other people cannot. There are a lot of things that can hold us back. Negative thinking, mindsets, and behaviors can keep us from living our best lives.
Learn to value yourself and accept yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others. I know it’s hard with social media not to feel jealous and defeated when you see everyone else’s life. They seem so picture perfect.
It’s easy to see these glamorous photos of people’s homes, belongings, and even hairstyles. I sometimes feel like if I walk out of the house with an outfit that actually matches, I’m doing really well! So, for me, picking a more simplistic wardrobe where I stay within a particular color scheme helps me feel more put together without having to spend a lot of time deciding what to wear.
Living with intention means eliminating areas that aren’t serving a purpose. When you can break free from inward thinking and can focus more outwardly, this is when you’ll make the most significant impact.
There is a fine line in everything we do—a tipping point. To wrap up our viewpoint and values means to find a balance between two opposing activities.
It’s essential to take care of your home and create order and calm. But too much attention on the status of your home can take away from relationships and helping others.
If you don’t spend enough time on yourself, you will get burned out and feel anxious. You might not have the energy to pour into people and value them as you should.
It’s not wrong to want nice things, but we can also become obsessed with the newest, shiniest things when it might be a better option to forgo making a purchase and putting that money towards something more valuable in the long run.
These are questions only you can answer. And a lot of people are more than willing to share their “opinions” with you. It’s easy to judge others and their choices when we don’t have all of the facts. That also makes it hard for people to give you their unbiased opinions.
Question: Am I more concerned about the state of my home than of the health and welfare of others?
7. Set goals
The last step in the quest to live with intention is to set goals. Did anything stand out to you as you were going through these steps? Anything that you want to work on or change?
Goal setting is an essential exercise for aligning our values with our actions. Identifying areas we want to minimize in exchange for more meaningful activities. Intentional living means being mindful of how we spend our time.
Goals need to be actionable. If there is something you want to achieve and work on, break it down into specifics. For me, blogging is a crucial outlet for my creativity, to share what I’m learning, and hopefully encourage others. I also want to get more involved in my community.
But these things take a lot of work. Some days it’s easier to just get on my phone and scroll Facebook. Or sit and binge-watch a TV show. Stress also plays a huge factor in influencing my ability to reach goals.
To refocus my energy on what matters, I need to find the motivation and drive to do so. Knowing what I stand for and how I can be intentional, allows me to set a goal, and then do it. To sit down and make time to think through what this goal entails, what actionable steps I need to take, and the timeframe for completion.
Intentional living starts with thoughtfulness and ends with fulfillment.
Examine your beliefs. Contemplate your lifestyle. Know who you are. Evaluate your priorities and eliminate faulty thinking. Find balance in everything. Set achievable goals. Do you think this is a good foundation for intentional living? What else would you include?
Hi, I’m Shara
I have a passion for organizing. This stems from being naturally drawn to simplicity and structure in my home. Combined with my desire to help women achieve their goals, Simply Renewed Living was born.