What is Intentional Living? Turning off the Chaos
The rain was coming down; it was time to go on my lunch break. After feeling scattered for the majority of the day, I knew I needed to take a step away from my computer for a bit. As I rubbed the computer fatigue out of my eyes, I went out on the porch to disconnect from the online world for a bit. The rain started to come down harder. It was beautiful and relaxing, but my hands immediately darted to my phone out of instinct. Woah. Why did I just reach for my phone?
My hands still felt half-numb from the days work on the keyboard, but for some reason, my body's initial response was to take a digital break from my computer to immediately connect to the world digitally again on my phone? It made absolutely no sense.
I value rest and taking breaks when you need to take one, but why couldn't I disconnect to reconnect with my surroundings? I value being in the moment, but in that moment, I quickly realized that I may be more addicted to my phone and being online that I had realized. My values and actions weren't aligning. Something needed to change. I decided right then that I needed to be more intentional with my life and to take my values more seriously. It was time to turn off the chaos of distractions and tune into what I valued most.
Intentional Living Defined: What is Intentional Living?
Intentional living simply put is understanding what you value and taking action to live out those values. Intentional living is turning off chaos to allow for more important things to enter your life and for you to do things that are aligned with your values.
For instance, if you have children, you probably value spending time with them. If you love learning, you probably want to soak in all the nuggets of information that you can. But what if your actions and values don't align? It's time to take a life audit and find out why you aren't living a life in alignment with your values.
4 Things You Need to Understand to Start Intentional Living
1. Your "Why" Behind the Choices You Make
There is a reason for everything we do. From the things we eat to the job we choose to work every day, every choice you have has a reason to it. It's up to you to figure out the "why" behind your choices.
Why do you eat healthy foods? Is it to keep you from getting sick or do you want to be fit?
Why do you love documentaries? Is it because you are an avid learner who is curious about the world?
Why do you date the person you are with? Is it because they bring a sense of humor and love to your life that you would otherwise not have if you were to be single?
All in all, there is a "why" to everything we do in our life. Take note of some of the big and small things that you do in life. What is your "why"?
2. You Call the Shots
Next, you need to understand that you are ultimately the one who gets to call the shots in your story. No one can change your life but you. If your "why" isn't healthily serving the life you want to live, it's time to clean house.
If you value health but you can't remember the last time you did something active, maybe it's time to do a daily activity to get your heart pumping.
If you value community, make it a point to get together with friends on a consistent basis.
If you value learning, try learning at minimum one new thing a week!
Basically what I am saying is if you are doing things that aren't aligned with your life values, you need to be willing to shake it up to live a life that is true to yourself.
3. Small Habits Make Up the Big Picture
You can't just wake up one day and get intentional living right all in one sweep. It doesn't work that way. You have to make small habits and changes overtime that will make up the totality of your life. The key to intentional living is through small, incremental, manageable baby steps — that was a mouth full.
4. Intentional Living is a Process and Takes Time
Like mentioned, intentional living can only come to fruition through small habits. It's a process and takes time. This is a life journey, not something you can just simply mark off your to-do list all in one day. Enjoy the process. Learn more about yourself along the way. Keep your values at the top of your mind, and find out how you can better live out those values to live your life with intention.
Is it Too Late to Live an Intentional Life?
It is never too late to live an intentional life. Whether you are 91 or 8 years old, you have the ability to be intentional with yourself. Slow down. Take inventory of your values and actions. And, be willing to change your actions if you aren't happy with the path you are going down. You can and will be able to live an intentional lifestyle if you are aware of where you are at in life.