Living with intention is about making conscious, active choices in how we choose to show up and live our life.
When we live with intention, we purposefully sculpt aspects of our inner, and outer, world to best reflect our values, priorities, needs, beliefs, desires, and sense of Self. It’s one way that we can begin to create a life we love.
So, I wanted to share 6 steps that can help get you started.
Step 1: Recognise Where You Are
Ideally, we’d all be living a conscious, intentional life that best aligns with our true Self. But few of learnt that this was even an option and, so, life tends to take over instead.
The daily busyness, distraction, and demands makes it all too easy to just drift along, or tread a pre-determined path. Despite our own best efforts, we can soon find ourself ‘stuck a in a rut’ or simply ‘going through the motions’.
Often, we’ve no idea how we got there.
One reason we find ourself there is because our daily routine quickly lulls us into a state of semi-conscious auto-pilot. We tend to do the same things every day, and develop certain ways of being that help us achieve that, with little or no thought.
This is all well and good if what we’re doing, and being, feels largely congruent and true. But when we find ourself on a path we don’t enjoy, or feel that we belong to, it’s easy to stay on it because we don’t know what else to do.
The first thing we need to do is stop and acknowledge what we feel, be that stuck, uninspired, lost, helpless, hopeless, frustrated, listless, uneasy or whatever. No more denying, hiding, running, or pretending.
This simple, but often challenging, act of recognition is the first step to any real change. We all begin there.
Step 2: Embrace the Discomfort
When we feel persistently stuck, uninspired, lost, helpless, hopeless, frustrated, listless, or ill-at-ease it hurts.
This can seem like a bad thing, as we don’t like to suffer or be in pain. But, paradoxically, feeling such discomfort can be a good thing.
It shows we’ve not completely zoned, or numbed, out. We’re not completely asleep. Something is stirring, awakening, calling.
Life’s moving and that’s a good thing.
Society tends to misjudge these difficult feelings as bad or undesirable. People don’t like to talk about them. It frightens them, and they don’t know what to do. So, such feelings are often ignored, minimised, rationalised, or pathologised as dysfunctional.
But these nagging, gnawing feelings, like all feelings, are trying to tell us something. They can be symptomatic of a biological, chemical, or hormonal imbalance. They can be symptomatic of our awakening soul.
Our soul awakening is only ever a good thing, a holy thing, but it can hurt.
It hurts because birthing our deepest Self can stretch, expand, and even tear apart our most intimate psychic places.
It hurts because our basic behavioural wiring means we’re most motivated to act in order to avoid pain. Pain is great at getting our attention, and encouraging us to change.
Our discomfort often calls us to live more authentically, and fully awake, and that’s always a good thing.
Step 3: Own your Power
Living on auto-pilot quickly stops us being awake and present to our life.
We get lost in the daily habits of being and doing. We get lost in minutia, ‘to-do’ lists, drama, goals, judgements, and modes of escapism. We ignore, and forget about, what we need and how we’re feeling.
As we routinely sacrifice our needs, feelings, and truth we begin to lose strands of ourself. We grow unsure of who we really are, we no longer know what matters to us, and we forget about the ‘bigger picture’ of our life.
We tell ourself that this is our lot, that this is reality, that it could be worse, and that there’s nothing we can do. We blame external factors, and other people, for how things are and how we feel.
All too soon we can feel helpless, impotent, and incapable of change.
We forget that we are powerful co-creator’s of our life. We forget our personal magic, endless possibility, and capacity to live our own dreams.
We forget that we’re always creating something, whether we’re aware of it or not. We’re always shaping who we are, who we’ll become, and how our life will be.
So, it makes sense that we get conscious, and intentional, about it. It’s a huge step, and a big lesson in personal responsibility.
Step 4: Step-up
Let’s face it, getting real with ourself, and making our life work, takes courage, effort, and resolve. It’s not for the fainthearted or weak willed.
In order to create a life of relative meaning, fulfilment, freedom and depth we have to be prepared to put on our big girl panties, roll up our sleeves, summon up our power, take hold of the reigns, and do what it takes.
It’s futile waiting for someone else to come and do it for us, because they won’t. They can’t.
We have to do it for ourself. It’s the way we discover what we’re made of.
Step 5: Dream Big, Start Small
Living an intentional life is, by definition, a lifelong process. We don’t have to rush, or push, ourself. We don’t have to jump in, and make hasty decisions before we’re ready.
A gentle way to start is to simply just dream.
Not just ‘what’s possible or realistic’ dreams, but big and exciting ‘how the hell will that ever happen?’ kind of dreams. Our dreams are super personal and don’t need to make sense, or be desirable, to someone else.
We can dream about any, and all, areas of our life by asking, and answering, questions, like:
❉ If there were no limits, what would my ideal day look like? Where would I be? What would I do?
❉ What kind of people, and relationships, do I long to have in my life?
❉ How do I most want to feel inside of my life?
❉ If money were no object, how would I love to spend my time?
❉ If anything was possible for me, who would I love to be? What would I love to create?
To create a new future for ourself, we first have to be able to dream it.
6) Do It With Heart
In western society, we often learn to live life through the lens of our mind. We tend to ‘think’ our way through each day, planning, judging, critiquing and doing what seems logical, sensible, or rational. We tend to make decisions based on outcomes, what’s expected, and what other people think.
The mind is an amazing instrument. It helps us to live safely and effectively. It helps us to understand, fit-in, and progress. But it’s not our only intelligence.
There’s also the intelligence of our heart, which includes our intuitive, sensing, and emotional knowing. When we lose strands of our self, and feel stuck and ill-at-ease, it’s often because we’ve stopped listening to our heart.
So, as we begin to dream, and live a life of intention, we need to consider the hopes, needs, priorities, and desires of our heart, as well as our head, as they can differ. We can begin by asking our logical, practical mind to answer the above questions, and then our intuitive, spontaneous heart.
Our heart knows what’s possible, and what we’re capable of. If we listen to it, it will help guide us to all that we are, and all that we need.
So, there we have it, my 6 steps to begin living a life of intention and creating a life you love …a life sculpted by your own hands and made in the image of your unique reflection. If you’ve any questions, or comments, about any of the steps please don’t hesitate to get in touch.