I am often advising my life coaching clients to be intentional.
In the article below, we’ll explore what that means and list some examples of intentional living for you to embrace.
So, let’s dive in.
What It Means To Be Intentional?
To be intentional is to have a mission and actively be working towards it.
It sounds simple, but it’s rarer than you may think.
A lot of people are unaware of what they want to accomplish. They spend each day like a leaf in the wind, reacting to whatever the world throws at them.
When you live with intention, you’re in control of your own life. You’re acting with purpose and the world is reacting to you.
When you choose to be intentional, you’ll often feel happier, more fulfilled and more excited to wake up each day.
What Does It Mean To Call Someone Intentional?
When you call someone intentional, you’re acknowledging that this person has a clear mission and they’re acting towards it. It’s a compliment.
How Can I Be An Intentional Person?
Here is a list of ideas for how to live an intentional life, split into four categories.
Be Intentional With Your Time
Being intentional with your time is essentially about spending more time doing important and fulfilling things. Here are some great tips to help you do that.
1. Plan Your Perfect Day
Before you go to bed, spend a few minutes writing down everything you want to accomplish tomorrow. This plan will help you to stay focused and stop you wasting so much time. Also, you’ll have no reason to forget important jobs to be done.
2. Set Goals
Goal-setting is a crucial task if you want to live intentionally. Create short-term goals (daily), medium-term goals (to achieve in a few weeks) and long-term goals (a year or two). Use the SMART Goals System for maximum efficiency.
3. Decide Your Personal Values
Writing down a list of core values is a great shortcut to being intentional every day. Your personal values could be written as a list of affirmations for how you want to live your life. Here are some examples:
- I will be as kind as possible to those around me;
- I will inspire positivity in my environment;
- I will live an adventurous life whenever possible;
- I will be ambitious in my career and social life.
These affirmations should guide you to make intentional decisions throughout your life.
4. Do Something You’re Proud Of
If you can aim to perform at least one action that fills you with pride, that’s another form of living intentionally.
5. Practice Gratitude
This is another intentional decision that can benefit your life. See this post on the 30 Days Of Gratitude Challenge for more ideas.
6. Question Your Habits – And Eliminate Everything That Doesn’t Serve You
So many of us fill our lives with habits that don’t serve our purpose or do anything to benefit us. To live a more purposeful life, it’s a good idea to spend some time journaling our daily activities.
When you do this, you’ll likely notice that you waste time on so many things that don’t serve you. Strive to eliminate these habits that don’t serve you, so you can achieve more and live with intention.
7. Be Mindful Of Social Media Use
Social media is one of the most popular time sucks out there in the modern day. Yes, it can be a useful tool when used with intention. However, many people are spending hours of their daily life scrolling through it on auto-pilot.
Challenge yourself to spend a week only creating content, rather than consuming it. Pay attention to how you feel during this week, then decide whether you want to continue with this challenge.
Most social media apps now have features that allow you to track your screen time, or even set alerts if you’ve been using it too much. Make use of these.
8. Use The 5 Second Rule To Eliminate Hesitation
Hesitation is another habit that needlessly wastes our time. Once you’ve written your daily to-do list, you’ll have less reason to hesitate in your actions.
On top of that, practice the 5 Second Rule. Once you’ve decided you want to do something, count backwards from five and pledge to get started before you hit zero. It’s a simple psychological trick which can work wonders in helping you create a more productive and intentional life.
9. Consider Waking Up Early
Waking up early is a highly-recommended productivity tip. When you’re awake before anyone else, you’re less likely to fall victim to distractions. Many people have experienced success achieving their most important goals during these first hours of the day when everyone else is still in bed.
You’ll need to go to bed early to be at your best during these early hours. So, make sure you incorporate an early bedtime into your daily routine.
10. Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow What Can Be Done Today
This is a nice slogan to live by to help you eliminate laziness and live a more intentional life. Focus on how good it feels to complete your daily to-do list.
Be Intentional With Your Energy
There are many intentional decisions we can make to improve our energy in our everyday life. This isn’t just about having more energy, it’s also about creating a positive mindset so we can enjoy a happier life. Let’s take at some ideas
11. Choose To Live A Healthy Lifestyle
This is one of the most important ways to be intentional. Be intentional about what you put into your body and how much exercise you get. This will have a tremendous impact on the amount of energy you have in your daily life.
12. Relax With Intention
Perhaps you’ve noticed that when you ‘relax’ by aimlessly scrolling through social media or zoning out in front of Netflix, it doesn’t replenish you. Often, this is the case if you choose to do so for five minutes or five hours.
If this is true for you, make a choice to be intentional with your relaxation time. Carve out time for self-care that truly does replenishes you. For some, this might be a hot bath with their favorite salts. For others, it might be playing tennis with their best friend.
13. Get Enough Sleep
This was already mentioned in the tip about waking up early. Still, it’s worth repeating. You should not underestimate the impact of a good night’s sleep on your energy and overall mood. Create an evening routine that relaxes you around an hour before your bedtime, so you can sleep as well as possible and feel replenished for the new day.
14. Do The Things That Make You Happy
Yes, it can be fulfilling to focus on hustling towards your dream goal every day. But, don’t forget to have fun along the way. If you’re not doing the things that make you happy, what’s all this professional success even for? You’re going to burn out if your life is all work and no play. So, carve out enough time to do the things you enjoy as well.
15. Be Mindful Of The People You Spend Time With
Jim Rohn famously said: “You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. He was talking about the idea that other people’s energy is infectious.
Their attitudes. Their moods. Their ideas and enthusiasm. They all affect your energy.
So, if you want more positive energy in your life, surround yourself with more positive people. More importantly, set boundaries for the type of energy that you’ll accept in your social circle.
16. Be Mindful Of The Media You Consume
Our friends and family tend to have the biggest impact on our mindset, but the media we consume isn’t far behind. So, be mindful of the media you consume. Does it affect your mood in a positive way or does it inspire negative thoughts? Pay attention to this.
It’s possible to spot and ignore the propaganda pushed by the media, but it isn’t easy. You’re better off not consuming any media that negatively affects your mental health. Choose wisely.
For more on this idea, see my list of reasons to stop watching the news.
17. Practice Self-Reflection
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine that doesn’t satisfy you for years, if you don’t engage in self-reflection. A key part of intentional living is to regularly evaluate your happiness and what you can do to live a better life.
Most people do this once a year at most. You may find it more helpful completing this task once every two or three months.
Journaling is a good task to help you keep track of your happiness and satisfaction with life on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ll choose to do this at the end of every evening before writing your daily to-do lists.
Your environment affects your energy. As such, decluttering is another task that can be classed as part of intentional living.
There are countless mental health benefits to a daily meditation practice. A key benefit is it helps you to be more present as you walk through your everyday life. This gives you extra focus, allowing you to engage in intentional living, rather than living each day in an auto-pilot daze.
Meditation helps you to enjoy the present moment, it makes it tougher to lose focus, it allows you to stop worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet. Many people report feeling a state of euphoria just by engaging in this practice. It’s one of the best daily routines for self-care. For more information, check out this list of proven ways to empty your mind.
21. Manifest A Better Reality
Perhaps you’re not familiar with the power of manifestation. The truth is: many people have achieved greater success in their life by manifesting a better reality. The act of manifestation can help to create a better mood in itself. You can learn more about how it works in this guide on Signs Your Manifestation Is Close
22. Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are essentially you telling yourself how you want to be, what you want to achieve and what’s going to happen in your life. It’s one of the more powerful ways to be intentional. Looking for more articles on affirmations? Try these.
- 72 Life-Changing Positive Affirmations For Men
- 102 Hypnotic Affirmations For Self-Confidence
- 101 Powerful Affirmations
Be Intentional In Relationships
Our relationships with others are key to the impact we make on this world. As such, it’s certainly important to be intentional about the way we treat others. Here are some ideas to help you be intentional in your most important relationships, whether that’s with a romantic partner, family members or best friends.
23. Make Time For Those You Care About
Spending time with loved ones tends to fulfil us more than most other things in life. Yet, many of us regret not spending as much time with them as we would like. So, it would make sense that you consciously carve out time to spend with the people who matter most to you. This will inspire you to stop wasting time on other less important things.
24. List Your ‘Must Haves’ In Romantic Relationships
Ever noticed how a lot of people continuously make bad decisions when it comes to choosing romantic partners? A great way to avoid falling into this trap is to list down your ‘must haves’ for a romantic partner, then to be strong enough to walk away from a candidate who doesn’t tick all the boxes.
Ideally, if you want a happy long-term relationship, your ‘must haves’ will be aligned with your overall purpose in life.
It’s also highly recommended to ask yourself WHY you’ve included.
WHY does your boyfriend need to be taller than you? WHY does your girlfriend need to be blonde with huge boobs? WHY does your partner have to like partying every weekend? If you can’t explain why these aspects of an ideal partner are ‘must haves’ to make your life more fulfilling, erase them from your list.
25. Look For Partners In The Right Places
Now that you know more about your ideal partner’s characteristics, you need to be proactive about finding that type of person.
That doesn’t mean sitting at home most evenings, waiting for them to magically find you. It means putting yourself out there and meeting a lot of romantic candidates.
Also, be intentional about where you look for them. Is your ideal partner likely to be found at a hip-hop club at 2am in the morming? Are they going to speed dating events? Are they sending you OKCupid messages asking if you’re DTF? If not, it’s probably best to stop wasting your time looking for love in places like this.
26. Are Your Goals Aligned?
It’s possible that your potential love interest ticks all your boxes, but you have different plans for the future. If he doesn’t want kids and you do, it’s time to part ways. If he wants to travel the world and you want to stay in your comfortable home town, save the heartache and wave goodbye now.
27. Are You Your Type’s Type?
It’s great to say you want a super-fit partner with six-pack abs, but have you considered what type of partner they want. Most likely, you’ll need to get fit yourself to attract someone like this.
In a similar vein, it’s fantastic to say you want a partner who is rich and successful. But have you considered that these people tend to have a lot of romantic options? They’re going to choose the best partner they can get too. If you want someone like that, consider what they might want in a partner and do your best to become the version of that.
28. Treat People How You Expect To Be Treated
Most likely, your personal values will include how you wish to be perceived by people. You can affect this by how you treat them. If you want to be received well by people, treat them how you expect to be treated.
This is particularly important in a romantic relationship. As well as being intentional about what type of partner you want, how about you also decide what type of partner you want to be?
29. Always Show Gratitude For Your Loved Ones
We all have a habit of taking our loved ones for granted. Maybe we don’t tell them that we love them nearly enough. Perhaps we’re rude or spiteful to them on our ‘off days’ and assume they’ll forgive us if we’re nicer to them next time.
Sometimes, people are taken from the world before they get to really understand how much we value them. It’s a horrible feeling, but it’s true.
It’s better to be intentional about showing how much we value the important people in our lives.
30. Stay In The Driver’s Seat Of Your Life, Even When You Find Your Dream Partner
Even when you’re in a relationship, it’s important to have your own unique personal vision of what you want to achieve in your life.
Keep pursuing goals outside of your relationship.
Most men and women want their partners to maintain some form of independence. They don’t want the pressure of being your only source of fulfilment. So, don’t fall into the trap of dedicating your whole life to pleasing them.
What Does It Mean To Be Intentional In The Workplace?
Most of us are spending several hours per day in the workplace, so it would make sense to want to be intentional here as much as anywhere else
31. Have A Long-Term Mission You’re Working Towards
It shouldn’t be too difficult to find daily goals in your job. In most cases, your boss will be setting those for you.
However, in order to be truly intentional in the workplace, it’s important to have a long-term goal you’re working towards.
This could be a personal success like a promotion, or it might be helping your business climb to number one in your city. Perhaps it’s earning more money (if you’re in a commission-based role).
Either way, this should inspire you to perform better and help you to feel far more fulfilled at work
32. How Can You Merge Your Personal Values With Your Professional Life?
In an ideal world, your job will be aligned with your life purpose.
If that’s not the case at the moment, it’s worth figuring out how you can align your personal values with your job?
How can you be as kind as possible? How can you inspire positivity? How can you aspire to be more adventurous or ambitious?
If you can figure this out, you can live intentionally in your job, even if it’s not directly contributing to your life mission.
33. Have An Escape Plan If You’re Unsatisfied
When your job doesn’t align with your life mission, it nearly always causes dissatisfaction. When you spend so many hours per week not working towards your purpose, it can feel like you’re wasting your life.
If there’s no way to merge your personal mission with your professional life, it’s nearly always in your best interests to have an escape plan.
Life is too short to spend so many hours on something that doesn’t satisfy you. So, start making some moves that’ll allow you to transition to a more fulfilling career.
It might be a tough slog to begin studying in a new field. It could be scary to launch your own business. But I promise that following your purpose will lead to more satisfaction in the long run.
Related: Keys To Living Life With Intention
Frequently Asked Questions About Living An Intentional Life
I’d like to round off the article by answering some frequently asked questions about intentional living.
What Can I Do If I Feel Stuck In Life?
Feeling stuck in life is a direct consequence of not living intentionally. To get out of this rut, start by writing down what you want to achieve in life. Next, write down some exact steps for how you can get there. Following that, start to establish daily routines that will help you accomplish these goals.
It might take a while to create your dream life, but at least now you’re on your own path. This will do a lot to help relieve these feelings of being stuck.
What If I Don’t Know Exactly What To Do?
This is a problem that stops a lot of people from being intentional every day. They have no idea what they want to do in life, and so have no specific outcome to tie to an intentional life.
If you’re in that boat, focus on trying a ton of new activities. Write a priority list of new ideas for your life and make time to engage in them. This is the best way to find out what truly makes your heart sing. Listen to that noise when you hear it. This is your heart telling you what you want to spend more time doing.
What Is The Intentional Living Challenge?
This is essentially a challenge for you to fully embrace intentional living. Most challenges last between 28-30 days. You’ll usually be asked to write a daily list of what you’ve done to live with intention.
If this idea interests you, there are plenty of free resources online with a clear structure of an Intentional Living Challenge. These are packed with exclusive tips that you’ll find helpful.
Any Questions Or Final Thoughts On Living Intentionally?
Thanks for reading my list of ways to be intentional. Hopefully, you’ll use it to be more intentional every day. Here’s to using your time wisely, living life on your own terms and making your own choices!
If you have any questions or would like to list your own ways to be intentional, feel free to leave a comment below.
It’d be great to hear what you do to be intentional every day. Maybe you want to share your own to-do lists with me.
Either way, I’d love to hear from you.