Intentional Living

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Published by Gayla Allen, Director of First Impressions

“Living with Intention is scary—it means taking responsibility for yourself and your life. It means letting go of the rulebook that society and your family gave you. When you let go of the rules, you’re in charge. You get to decide. When you decide to live with Intention, suddenly you have a lot of decisions to make.” Kara Loewentheil.

That best describes my thoughts for living with Intention. The place to start is knowing and understanding your values and beliefs, the ones written on stone, those committed in your heart and soul. Ralph Marston said, “The quality of your commitments will determine the course of your life.”

Without personal intentions, you are at the whim of someone else’s,  which may not align with what brings peace and happiness to you, leading to living by reaction instead of purpose. For most people, this is a journey, not a destination. Some people may develop this at a young age, and it grows with a natural flow. For me, I stopped trying to figure out what mattered most and just went with whatever happened around me. It’s so easy to do, and I learned that I wasn’t alone.

But I found myself asking what was the point of my life? Was I living it for other people and their expectations of me? For the most part, I was. It takes honesty to get yourself off auto-pilot with a fair amount of “chinning up” and a big scoop of bravery.

A way to be clear of what is most important to you is to make time for self-discovery. I got stuck on autopilot for so long because I stopped questioning my life.

Here are 6 ways to help guide you through living life with Intention because intentional living is a lifestyle of doing things on purpose.

  • Just say no and let go. So often we forget NO is a complete sentence. Sometimes it doesn’t need an explanation. Other people are more than happy to take your time and make decisions for you, but your yes or no will determine how you spend your time and life. And to spend time on your priorities, it’s essential to start saying no and reclaim your life. Give it a try! It’s freeing.
  • Along those lines, what could you do more of if you said no to things that don’t matter? Would you have more personal time and time for people you love? What would you finally have time for?
  • Look at the things you’re doing right now that make you feel whole and happy. Identify what positive things work for you and recognize what makes you feel good, and double down on those. For some its sports, listening to music, making music, writing, drawing, dancing, singing, driving, reading, stretching, exercising, walking, running, swimming, yoga, or talking to family/friends – whatever it is, make sure they’re productive activities you can do every day.
  • Time is precious. We often act as if money is the only resource, but time is much more valuable. For this activity, forget achievements and the future and just think about how you want to spend your precious time.
  • Create, Inspire, Give. How do you want people to remember you? Stay in control of your life, and you will undoubtedly leave an impact on your prosperity.
  • What speaks to your soul? I’ve come to find that the whispers of our soul are very quiet. Our minds get cluttered with the voices of society, our inner critic, our ego, and the people around us. But when we become silent and listen to that soft voice inside us, we can see what matters most. What speaks to the quiet voice of your soul?

Intentional living doesn’t mean you have to have your whole life figured out, but it does mean having a purpose behind your actions. We’re all learning, and we’re all going to make mistakes, and that’s ok.

Mistakes are how we learn but living with Intention means our lessons serve a purpose. We’re choosing to experiment with our lives. It’s messy and scary work, but it’s what moves us forward in the direction of our dreams. Nothing changes unless you find the courage to take the first step. I tell people that I forgive myself frequently, with no apologies. My path, progress, and speed during my journey is very personal to me and should be for everyone.

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