At the beginning of 2018, I decided my word for the year would be “intention” (see here). Because we are now half way though the year, I thought it timely to reflect on what it means to live with intention, and how I am going with it so far.
Why did I choose “intention” as my word for the year?
The simple answer is time. Time is so precious, we only have a finite amount of it and I can feel it passing way too quickly. It is easy to get caught up in the everyday routine of life and forget what it is that really matters – I wasn’t living life, life was living me. As I approach 40, I want to pay more attention to what is important to me, to live a life I am proud to live, without time or other people dictating how my time is spent. I felt like too much of my time was being spent mindlessly moving from one required task to the next, without giving much thought to making sure I am achieving what I want out of life. I needed to take back a bit of control.
What does living with intention mean to me?
Intentional living is about knowing what you value in life, what’s important to you, and what you want to get out of life. It is about making every effort to ensure that what you do every day helps bring more of what you value into your life. What you value becomes a sort of compass, directing you back each time you feel like life is mindlessly progressing along without you. It is about being focused rather than wasting precious time on things that don’t bring value to your life.
Intentional living is about slowing down. I realised that I need to stop multitasking and start paying attention to what I am doing right now, in order to get the most out of myself and every moment. It is about being able to say no sometimes to other people and their requests or demands, so that I am able to say yes to what is truly important to me. It is about listening to my body and mind and honouring what it is that I really need, trying to create a sense of balance in my life. This is about protecting myself so I am able to give my best self to others.
It is about trusting my intuition and following my heart. About being less impulsive in areas where being impulsive doesn’t serve me well (like eating, drinking wine, shopping, snapping at the kids). It is about being mindful about every moment, every choice, and making the best of every day.
What have I done to implement this into my every day life?
- I have developed meaningful habits that focus and centre me each day:
- meditation – I have begun a daily meditation practice which started with a self imposed 30 day challenge. I have a blog post coming soon on that so watch this space.
- daily list of priorities – Each day I set a list of three priorities that help plan my day and focus my efforts on what is important to me
- set a weekly theme for each week to help me achieve success in particular areas – for example, I know that I need help establishing good routines that will enable me to function better and have more time connecting with loved ones. One week I made my theme water and washing – drink at lease a jug of water and do one load of washing each day. Feeling well hydrated gives me energy, and keeping on top of the washing protects precious weekend time that could be better spent with my family.
- I have practiced saying no to things when I feel overwhelmed, which is a good start. I hope to one day be able to say no without feeling guilt. How amazing would it feel to be able to say no to something just because you didn’t want to do it?
- I am beginning to slowly declutter some of my possessions in an attempt to free physical space within our home and provide more space for what is important to me (the people in the home!)
- I am moving towards a capsule wardrobe
- I am having phone/device free time each day
- I am training myself to “look up”. Every single day. And I am loving the benefits. I am seeing more gorgeous expressions on my children’s faces. I see the beautiful blue sky and clouds moving along in their journey to wherever. I am noticing more little things which are really the big things in life.
- I am seeking out information on things that interest me and move me closer to where I want to be. I have been doing a lot of reading on the concept of minimalism! Those that know me may laugh at this (especially my husband!), but I am finding that more and more I am being drawn to the concept. Keep an eye out – I may even share some of my thoughts on this with you soon. There are so many great books, podcasts, websites etc out there with so much inspiration. I am feeling energised and keen to keep gaining momentum on this new way of living.
- I am more conscious about how I spend money. This is an area where I need a lot of reforming! I am very very good at shopping and spending money! Just ask my long suffering husband 😉 I am trying to be more intentional about the way I spend money – really thinking about what I/we need, looking out for sales, less impulse buying. I am definitely a work in progress in this area, but have made a good start. I have taken more control over our family’s finances too, which is helping to make me more aware of how things are going. My mantra in this area is progress not perfection.
How is it going?
I am really loving how it is going so far. I feel lighter, I have more energy. I am really enjoying my meditation practice, and feel like it brings a sense of calm and perspective that stays with me through the day (most days!). I am happy to be pursuing what makes me come alive.
The funny thing about it is that my life hasn’t changed much at all. But my experience of it has. I still have the same demands on me that I had a couple of months ago, but I am approaching them differently now. I am more protective of the time that isn’t full of scheduled activities, and I am being true about how I feel. I am asking for help or a break when I need it and am finding that people are more than willing to lend a hand and be understanding.
I am noticing things more. Things I didn’t even know I was missing until recently. I am paying attention to facial expressions, to the tiny hand reaching up to hold mine regularly, to the way my son hugs me in his own special way. I pay attention to the colour of the sky, to the sound of the birds singing, and to how warm or cool my skin feels when we are outside.
When I was writing the paragraph on what living with intention means to me, I was conscious that it could sound like I am being selfish… what is important to ME, what I value, protecting MY time, saying no to others…. but I’m finding that the opposite is in fact true. By living intentionally I am better able to give the best of myself to others. I am making time for those that are important to me. I am feeling more like me than ever before and I have the energy to put into those things that I am choosing to take on.
I’m not saying that everything is perfect and that I am living with intention 24/7 yet. But I feel like I’m off to a good start and I’m making progress in the right direction.
Do you like the idea of living more on purpose? How might that look for you? I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below if you have practiced putting more intention into how you live and what difference you have felt or seen in your life.
Until next time,