This question, what is intentional living, made me stare into my empty word pad for a long time. Not because I don’t understand it, but because with concepts like this, there are no exact definitions. It’s like describing love to someone, everyone knows it and will have their opinion on it and truly none of them will ever be completely wrong or right. At the end of the day, I can only express my viewpoint and hope it reaches and adds a little to your own ideas.
Simply put it is living life being fully aware of why we are doing it and making choices that help you achieve your aspired life. It means choosing your life, the way you would want to live, being the person you truly are or want to be, not following the dogma or letting the circumstances getting the better of you. The other day my boss told me, that I lack vision, what is it that I want to achieve. And honestly, I don’t fault him. So many of us do that we do things ‘just because’. Does my job pay my bills yes, but then so can any other. Does it thrill me, no, it’s ok (don’t get me wrong, I do well at what I do) but do I want to not really? But since I am not sure of what else I want to do I continue to slumber where I would rather not be. And this is exactly the opposite of intentional living. This is the unintentional life that so many of us live.
Intentional living requires knowledge of self, you need to know what your priorities are and your values. And then deliberately taking actions or making choices that will lead you towards that desired life. Over a period of time, your intentions or expectations towards your life would change, and that would require readjusting your intentional living. So this is an ongoing lifelong process, but once you put it in practice, it gets easier making the choices that are in tandem with you becomes second nature.
When we live our life according to our values, and making effort to what we prioritize it automatically leads to a happier self and far fewer regrets than when we live unintentionally. Now, in theory, it’s all sounds simple, but the practical aspects would require grit, determination, acceptance and copious amounts of self-discovery and awareness.
Here’s how to start:
- Take stock of your life. Your health, relationships, career, finances, your surroundings. Start with the one you think needs more attention, and slowly move to others. Be honest when analyzing how you are faring
- Now that you know how it is, think of how you want it to be. Envision your future, set your goal
- Goal setting is easy, but at this juncture you need to analyze yourself again, to make sure that you won’t leave it halfway. Unless you are sure of whom you are currently, you cannot become who you want to be
- Achieving a goal is only possible when you have the necessary tools for it. Now that you know where you are, and where you want to be, enlist everything you will need to reach there. It would most definitely include some behavioral changes as well so don’t rush. Be patient and graceful with yourself
- Keep rechecking, rewarding and readjusting according to your life
Oscar Wilde said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist that is all” Doing it intentionally will put you in the former category.