A few years ago, while at training, my boss gave a presentation that changed my way of thinking. All it took was two simple words.
“Be intentional”, she said.
At the time, I thought of it as being intentional about my “work” day. Making sure all assignments are completed by their due dates and within their budgets. That sort of thing.
But what about other aspects of my life?
Could this same practice be used in my personal life, and if so, how?
To start, I thought about what being intentional means.
synonyms: existence, living, life, reality, actuality
done on purpose; deliberate.
synonyms: deliberate, calculated, conscious, intended, planned, meant, studied, knowing, willful, purposeful, purposive, done on purpose, premeditated, preplanned, preconceived; rarewitting
Living life on purpose. Such a simple concept yet many of us struggle with this concept everyday.
Making it happen
Can we make the transition of being intentional in our personal lives? ABSOLUTELY! Being intentional is all about how you think about your day and what goals you want to accomplish. Then going out and making it happen. It’s that simple.
We all have goals, whether it’s being financially secure, being healthy, becoming closer to God, or waking up earlier in the mornings without hitting snooze 100 time (it’s not just me, right?). Whatever they maybe, you can do it. It’s all about changing your habits.
Gretchen Rubin says that you can change any habit in 21 days. WOW! That sounds great, but how can you make these changes happen? The answer: you have to put in the time and effort and make it happen. In everything you do, you have to be intentional.
What areas in your life do you want to be intentional about? Below our 5 areas in my life that I make an effort to be intentional about everyday.
This one is important. Ask anyone who has a to-do list a mile long what they want. They will tell you more time. There never seems enough of it. Most people (myself included) spend their days working just to come home to continue working. It’s exhausting.
After years of this routine, I wanted some time for myself, so I planned it out. I make time for myself everyday. It doesn’t have to be anything big. This can be the 20 minutes that I drive home from work and I listen to an audiobook or music or it could be spending my Friday night on the couch with a book. It doesn’t matter. The only criteria is that I’m doing something that I enjoy and I’m doing it for myself.
A popular quote from Dave Ramsey is, “You have to tell your money what to do or it will leave”. No truer words have been spoken.
My husband and I took a Dave Ramsey money management class and this was a big deal. Tell your money where to go. Make a budget. Stick to it.
I’m not going to lie and tell you that we nailed it within the first month, heck, the first 6 months. We are two different people and we both approach money from different angles, but over time we have been able to better manage our money and be intentional about our wants and needs. Taking charge of our finances has allowed us to breathe. Yes, we have our setbacks (after all, we are human), but we know at the end of the day that our needs are covered, we can indulge in some of our wants, and are able to save and pay off debt.
Relationships are tricky and if not properly maintained they will wither away and die. I struggle with this daily. I have the mind-set that if I call/text/email someone I am being a burden. Most of this comes from a self-worth issue (I’m working on it).
Cultivating relationships are so important. As human beings, we crave interaction with others. Some people need this interaction more than others, but regardless of which group you fall into, that connection is important and so is being intentional about the people in your life.
Text your best friend to see how they are doing, call your mom, have a girls night. Show the people in your life that you care.
How many of us made a New Year’s resolution to be healthier/lose weight/exercise more this year? Go ahead. Raise your hand. I won’t judge. I made the same resolutions. And I can tell you that, though some progress has been made, I have yet to make it to the gym.
I know we all wish there was a fairy godmother who granted our health wishes, but, unfortunately, that is not the case. In order to meet your goals, you have to be intentional. Plan out your meals for the week, make time to go workout, don’t eat the chocolate.
I’m not saying my entire life is neatly labeled and stored away all nice and tidy. That is not a realistic goal. I can barely keep up with my planner. Life is messy and sometimes you have to embrace the chaos.
I’m talking about things that can make your life easier and a little less stressful. If you have a hard time waking up in the mornings, layout your outfit the night before. Want more time to curl up with a book, make a goal to clean your house during the week so the weekends are yours.
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