It seems like at the end of each year we tend to say things like “wow this year flew by” or “where did the year go” and now it’s “where did the decade go?” I can’t help but think this is a symptom of mindless living. We wake up everyday, go through the motions and then all of a sudden the year is gone. We turn on auto pilot and mindlessly go through our day. Eat…sleep…work…repeat. It’s this kind of monotony that creates a sense of un-fulfillment and ultimately leads to dissatisfaction in our lives. Even when the new year comes and we make these “goals” we still tend to live a very robotic life and somehow we find that life is happening to us rather than us creating the life that we want. How can we create a more intentional life? Let’s break it down.
What is intentional living?
Intent is who we aspire to be as individuals in this world which is very different from goals. Goals come from our mind and are generally task oriented. Intent comes from the soul and represents our deepest desires. Intentional living is just living in a way that is in alignment with your unique values and beliefs. It’s important to connect with the things that really matter to us and we need to ask ourselves what we really value in our lives. Are we making space for that? So often we get caught up in this “grind” or living a certain way and seeking approval from those around us. It’s so easy to lose sight of what we really want for our own lives. Maybe you value quality conversation with your partner, spending time in nature, prioritizing your health and wellness or crocheting a sweater. Whatever it is, it’s our job to figure it out.
“Look closely at the present you are constructing:
it should look like the future you are dreaming.”- Alice Walker
I think this quote embodies what we’re going for here. We should look closer and assess our lives and see if we are living day-to-day in a way that’s aligned with what we want for ourselves. I love this other quote by Annie Dillard. She says:
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
By waking up each day knowing our purpose we can eliminate fear by putting the unknown in its place. Creating a plan leaves less room for uncertainty and more room for badassery. New years is a great time to reconsider how we’re living our lives day-to-day. We as humans love an arbitrary date to press the reset button so take advantage of this reset energy and make a plan to live this next year with intention. Here are a few things to consider trying:
Grab a piece of paper and write down the things that you value in life. It’s important to identify these core values. For me it’s spending time with people I love, traveling, reading a good book, and making sure I’m doing my best to be as eco conscious possible. This will look a little different for you. Be as broad or vague as you’d like but writing these things down will create a sense of awareness.
On that same piece of paper write down what a typical day looks like for you. Don’t forget to include that hour of scrolling. Is how you’ve been spending your day-to-day aligning with those values? I found that many of my practices weren’t. I was spending hours glued to my phone instead of reading that book. I was bingeing Netflix instead of reaching out to an old friend. It seemed like those things that made me happy I was pushing to the wayside. Almost as if I have been living someone else’s life. This evaluation helps you to become aware of how you’re spending your time.
Envision your ideal self. What does that look like in every aspect of your life? This goes for your health, career, personal growth, relationships ect. Designing your ideal life can feel a bit daunting so try starting with what your ideal day would look like and build from there. How do you want to fill your time? If it’s spending time with loved ones, what would that look like? This is just the foundation to lay your bricks. Simply by doing this exercise you will gain a sense of intention. This will help you create habits and find a routine that will serve you in your day to day.
How can we take action every day towards our value? Take that long team value and create a short term action. For example:
- Long term value: Mental Heath
- Short term action: Meditation for 30 min (put in calender)
Give this a try!
“What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.” – Annie Dillard
When you begin to live your life with more intent you inspire others around you to do the same. So I ask that if you only make one goal for this next year, start with this: To live more intentionally.
What do you value and how will you make more space for it in 2020?