As I sit in my office, my thoughts go to a subject that I really know nothing about — intentional living. Is intentional living good or bad? Or maybe intentional living in the wrong hands can be good, bad?

With each chance meeting with friends, I begin to delve into “what is intentional living and how do you apply it to your life.” From the day we are born, decisions are made for us. As we age, we evolve built on a foundation of hopefully good moral fiber. With each life lesson comes a chance to grow even as we aimlessly try and figure out who we are.

With each sunrise, we are given the opportunity to paint our own canvas, relying on core values to give us strength to live an intentional life.And therein lies our biggest conundrum. In order for us to be guided by intentional living or a purposeful life WE HAVE TO KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING and in order to do that WE HAVE TO KNOW WHO WE ARE.

The choices we make for the design of our life are our own. Each day is an opportunity to learn, to change our points of view, to be thankful, to stretch and move forward mindful of what fuels you the most. By focusing on what matters most to us and letting the rest go allows us to set the perimeters we need to make better decisions for a purposeful and maybe even a happier life.

The hardest part for me is forgiving myself for making a wrong decision. With age comes wisdom as I now can see these were not mistakes but a chance to right my ship and set another course.

Life can be chaotic, steering us in the wrong direction. We become distracted and disoriented as society demands “more.” If we stay focused, we do NOT settle for whatever is thrown at us or what everyone else thinks. We learn to be still, calmly reflecting on what is important and in so doing, you preserve your intent to stay the path you envisioned.

One of the best decisions for me was when I set a goal to finish college. So many of my friends dropped out, got married, foregoing their dreams. I worked seven days a week, while going to a Junior College and finally got a college loan achieving my goal of a Bachelor of Science with a Secondary Teaching certificate degree. There were roadblocks and yes, I could have gotten married, but I knew if I did I would not accomplish my dream.

Learn to rely on your internal compass to keep you grounded. I draw my strength from being intentional about my time with God, spending time with my family, to love with intention, always to honor my promises, and to be that one person others can depend on. I have learned to run from chaos and avoid overload in some relationships. Paramount for me is to try and focus each day on the positive.

To set short- and long-term goals, my approach is to journal. You can fill your calendar or take notes or just set aside time to make short- and long-term goals for yourself. This allows you to intentionally live in the present, ever mindful of the path you are on for your life.

With each sunrise, we are given the opportunity to paint our own canvas, relying on core values to give us strength to live an intentional life. So, Dream Big, and create your own masterpiece!