5 Ideas on How to Live a More Intentional Life

Apr 29, 2015

What if your life ended today?

I know, tough question. It’s a question I started to wrestle with when my kids were born. In fact, it’s why I started putting my thoughts in writing and really why I started a blog a few years ago.

So, what if your life ended today?

I ask again, b/c I think it’s an important thing to think about. Would you be happy with the legacy you’ve left behind? Would you be concerned about staying up late to scour the social media landscape? Would you turn on another episode of The Bachelor? (Ok, I must confess, Michelle gets me to watch that sometimes and I kind of like it). I’m not saying it’s bad to watch TV or anything like that, but if you’re feeling unfulfilled and questioning your real legacy, maybe you should think about how to be intentional about it.

It’s easy to spend time checking email on your phone (yes, guilty of this as well), when you should be pushing your kid in the swing. It’s hard to be intentional and to really make an impact, isn’t it?

What if you made a decision to live a more intentional and impactful life?

What if we all did?

Would the world be a better place? Would you be happier? Would your kids be more fulfilled? Your friends? Your family? Your co-workers?

I’d venture to say that if we all lived with more purpose and intention on doing the really meaningful things in life, we’d all be better off.

So, how do you do it? I don’t have all the answers that’s for sure, but here are a few ideas that might help:

#1 – Awareness – I think the first step is always Awareness. Do you want to live a more intentional life? Do you want more purpose? If you do, congratulations, that’s the first step. Now, it’s time to think about what that means to you!

#2 – Identify – Determine what your intention or purpose is? It can be faith-based, it can be time-based (i.e. spend more time with your kids), it can be rest-based (i.e. relax more)…and, it can be a mix of a lot of things. The important thing is to identify what it is you want

#3 – Visualize – Really see and feel what it feels like to be living with the intention you want. If you want to be happier and enjoy life more, spend some time alone, close your eyes and envision what that looks like. Write it down. Journal what it feels like when you’re at that point. Write like you’re experiencing it. Not, “I’d really like to feel happier…”, but more like, “Man, it feels so good to be spending time with my family and enjoying every minute of it. We always eat dinner together and talk about the day and it feels so rewarding.” Get it? Write or think it like it’s already happening.

#4 – Practice – I’m such a big believer in practice. Practice isn’t easy. You fail a lot when you practice, but the more you practice, especially if done right, the better you’ll get. I see my 7 yr old soccer team get better every week and start to pass the ball effectively. We’ve been harping on it for 2 years and it’s amazing to see little snippets and the progression of making it second nature. They actually think about passing before I have to yell out to them. Same goes for life. Over time, little by little, being intentional about something and practicing will undoubtedly lead to something. It won’t always be perfect, that’s not the goal. And, to #5…

#5 – Embrace Imperfection – Perfection is elusive. I’d venture to say most people have perfectionist tendencies, me included. Perfection is a bad goal. It will leave you disheartened more often than not. What if you embrace the process and embraced the practice? I have a feeling you’ll get pretty good at whatever it is you’re striving for.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately and I know I mentioned my close friend, TJ, who passed away recently. We used to talk a lot about goal setting and being intentional. We didn’t always accomplish what we talked about but it definitely helped to put it out there and really have purpose around something.

The picture below is his second lesson of thirty-nine, he wrote. I like this a lot – it’s a great intention when you’re trying to make someone feel good. Learn to look people in the eye and say hello. If you ask someone how they’re doing, mean it, and wait for them to respond. It will go a long way, I promise.

photo credit: Machu Picchu Mountains via photopin (license)


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