Are you living an “Intentional Life?” That’s a phrase I know you have heard more than a couple of times in the last few years, but do you know what it means to “live intentionally?” I think the way Lisa Avellan describes intentional living in her blog, Simple & Soul, is wonderful.
“Intentional living is knowing WHY we do what we do. It assigns meaning to the moment before we lose any more moments to the meaningless. It works by creating boundary lines around your life with your WHY.”
It seems like this idea is everywhere today … conferences, retreats, networking groups, online posts, etc. However, with its popularity, have you ever really stopped and given it much thought? Do you have a list of intentions that you live by? I would be willing to bet many of you have a list of goals written down that you are reaching for throughout your life, but haven’t made the time to build a list of intentions.
I think intentions and goals are often confused with one another, which is understandable. From the outside, they appear to be the same, but there is a very distinct difference. One that I’m not sure I could have told you before I really sat down and focused on it. Goals are something we are all familiar with because it is an idea that has been hammered into our heads since we were kids. Setting goals are necessary as it gives us a road map to follow and something to aim for at the finish line. However, intentions are rarely, if ever, thought about or discussed. So, what are intentions and what is the difference? Let’s break it down …
– Focused into the future
– A specific destination, accomplishment, or achievement
– Usually external in nature
– Focused in the present moment
– Not looking for a finish line, but are lived each day
– More of an internal relationship with oneself or others
While the two are different concepts, I think they act very much in parallel with one another and living a more intentional life can help you in reaching goals you have set for yourself. Knowing why we do what we do is essential. It gives meaning to our actions and a basic map for us to live by. It’s what we can fall back on when we come upon challenges or hit roadblocks. Without intention, we could be left wandering but with a set of clear intentions, we have something we can refer back to in order to redefine or at least understand how we can approach the challenge.
Just like we should all have a list of our goals, both personal and professional, we should all have our intentions written down to reference whenever needed. I’m a list maker, and those that know me personally are laughing right now as I usually have a list for everything. Though it had never occurred to me to have a list of intentions. So, I decided it was time for me to correct that oversight. Below I have the start of my Intentions List. I think, like most things, this is something that should be referenced often, updated when needed, and will be different for each person.
- Stop stressing over things that are out of my control.
- Don’t overthink everything.
- Give more than receive.
- Stop holding onto failures.
- Practice self-care.
- Read more.
- Stop taking things personally.
- Laugh more.
- Be more decisive.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Stop trying to be a perfectionist.
- Visit the family more often.
- Do one thing every day that scares me.
- Stop worrying so much.
- Be quicker to forgive.
- Hang out with friends more.
- Work harder at a healthier lifestyle.
- Spend more time with our Godchildren.
- Enjoy and appreciate more the smaller things in life.
- Be more open-minded.
- Take more pictures.
- Tell my husband how much I love him, every day.
Unlike a goals list, intentions don’t have an end. They are how you want to live your life every day. Will there be days you can’t live up to these intentions, of course, there will be. We all have bad days and weak moments. However, this list can serve as a great reminder of your intentions when the times get rough and help guide you back to your rightful path.
I challenge each of you to find some quiet time, sit down, and write down your life intentions. Find those things that define how you want to live each day to make your life better along with those lives around you. Together with your written goals, imagine what you can accomplish with this combined roadmap!