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How You Can Practice Living Intentionally
If you saw my last post then you know Intentional is the word I chose to be my focus this year. You may have heard other people talking about this intentional living buzz, but aren’t really sure what that even means. Being intentional is different for everyone; there’s not really a wrong way to do it except to not do it. Living with intent is basically choosing to do things purposefully rather than by habit or to keep up in the daily chaotic rat race of life. Let me explain how you can practice living intentionally….
It can be difficult to be intentional with your time and actions when you are always running behind and just trying to keep up with the pack. That’s where the term rat race comes into play.
I can’t tell you how often I do things in a rush because if I’m doing something, I’m rushing to get it done. I’m a constant procrastinator. And it makes me crazy. I’m constantly stressed to the max and running 5 mins late for life. Being more intentional with my time helps me live life more slowly and more simply, savoring the minutes that mean the most and getting the most out of my time here.
To live with intention means focusing on your mind, body, spirit, relationships and responsibilities; To consciously have a goal with every action you take – even self care goals like bubble baths and ice cream – and committing your full focus to achieving that goal. God even tells us to live intentionally !
1 Timothy 4: 14-16 “14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
And Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”To live with intention means focusing on your mind, body, spirit, relationships and responsibilities; To consciously have a goal with every action you take Click To Tweet
Do It On Purpose
Living intentionally isn’t done by chance or accident. No girlfriend, you aren’t going to accidentally stumble into your best version of life. You have to do this stuff not only with purpose, but ON PURPOSE, too. And that requires setting vision goals and planning.
If you’re starting to think this whole intention thing isn’t for you because you stink at planning things, then you are precisely the lady who needs intentional living the most. I know you want to stop skidding through life like a mad woman and barely hanging on by the seat of your pants, because I do, too. That’s why we have to get our rears in gear, girls! So, how do we get there? Let me count the ways. Here are my Top 5.
Find your vision.
I’m going to start with the hard stuff here. If you’re struggling to get babies raised or to barely get the bills paid, it can seem like a fairy tale to have the luxury to think about what you really want from life. But having a place to strive to get to is the entire point of living intentionally. Maybe you just want to be a mama that has time to play babies or race cars without stressing over the undone housework. Perhaps you want to make money at home, or become president of a company. Maybe you want to be a missionary, an advocate for something or a traveler. Or maybe you really just want to be a successful blogger. Whatever it is that just thinking about gets you excited, that’s your thing. Write it down.
Do one thing.
Now that you know your thing, you need to figure out small actionable steps that you’ll need to take to get that thing accomplished. Make a list. For example, I really want to grow my blog presence and that’s my thing. My list of smalls includes A. Creating more content. B. Being more active on my social media C. Branding my business. After making my list, every day I need to do one thing (minimum) from that list to get me closer to my goal.
Recognize your roadblocks
If I’m honest, this list is so long for me that it’s overwhelming. But getting honest with yourself is what you have to do if you are going to succeed at this.
Let’s get real here: You know what you do excessively that wastes time or energy or money. For most of us, it’s the internet or social media of some sort. For others, it could be reading, watching TV, texting, talking on the phone, shopping or even sleeping. Some time-wasting can actually be necessary or considered a form of self-care that you just lose track of time doing until it becomes excessive.
For example, I take too many bubble baths that are too long in duration because I take my phone along and bust the internet wide open while I relax. It’s my happy time! But honestly, I have to recognize that though it’s healthy to bathe and to relax, too much of anything can be bad. I need to plan this activity and limit the time I sit there doing nothing if I want to achieve ‘my thing’. I need to choose the shower the majority of days (and reserve the tub for days that I really need to relieve muscle pain or a headache.)
Let’s face it, no matter what you want to do or be, there are things that sometimes take priority. Like dinner. And dishes. And laundry. And picking up clutter. And dusting. These are also some of the tasks that suck all of our time away and leave us exhausted. They contribute to the chaos of the rat race so easily because if we get behind on them one tiny bit, they turn into literal mountains of work. So we are either too busy catching up or too stressed because it’s sitting there staring us in the face undone, to try to get to our ‘thing’. The solution to this is simple to say but takes dedication to your goal to accomplish: Have less.
Having less means doing less. Does it take forever to hang your clothes in your stuffed closet? You probably don’t need that many clothes. Too many toys to pick up? Then there’s too many to play with. Too many dishes to wash? You have too many dishes.
Now, I know you might like to spoil your kids with things to play with. Especially educational stuff. I also know you may hate to think of getting rid of things that you or relatives spent good money on. But the fact is, sometimes the more your kids have to play with, the less they put it to good use. My youngest never played with anything he had and I really believe it’s because along with his ADHD, he had too much to be able to focus on something long enough to play. There was always something else to draw him away from his current toy. If you can’t bear to part with your kids excess, then you can rotate daily bins out to keep the choices not only minimal, but also fresh.If you can’t bear to part with your kids excess, then you can rotate daily bins out to keep the choices not only minimal, but also fresh. Click To Tweet
If you think that dish one is crazy, think again. If a family of 3 has 16 or 20 plates to use, how many do you think will go unwashed if you are starving at dinner time? The most probable answer is about 15 because humans usually take the path of least resistance. It’s easier for your family to grab the clean plate than wash the dirty one. So if you miss dishes a day or more you have far more dirty ones needing to be washed. A solution to this, besides washing every dish as soon as it’s used, is keeping fewer ones handy to grab.
Having less applies to other time suckers, too. Like distractions such as email or phone notifications.
Unsubscribe from email services that you don’t absolutely need or set up a mailbox just for your shopping companies and other unnecessary mail items.
Turn off your social media notifications or text messages. After doing so, only allow yourself to check your notifications during scheduled times. Only allow text notifications from important people like your husband, kids, boss, etc. You can silence unnecessary conversations individually. Or, you can keep your phone on silent all together if you set up your phone to allow certain contacts to come through. I do this one myself and it works so well! You can also leave your phone in a designated spot, like the charging deck, and only allow yourself to look at the phone when you walk by that spot for another reason, like as you pass it doing chores or refilling your coffee mug.
Now Just Do It
Now that you have a better understanding of intentional living and you know the top 5 practices to put in place to become more intentional, it’s up to you to get to work doing it. And you can! You just have to decide to do it!
I’d love to hear your own intentional living tips. Leave me a comment and tell me how you make certain that you slow down and focus on what’s important.