The phrase ‘living with intention‘ can seem elusive and vague. In essence, it refers to the way we would like to feel, and the steps we intend to take to achieve that (‘l want to feel calm when I meet my friends, so I’ll make sure I leave the house with ten minutes to spare so I’m not rushing’, ‘I want to feel healthy, so I’m going to cut out sugary, I processed foods’ and so forth).
Everyone’s journey to live more intentionally will look different. On my journey, I noticed 5 things I needed to work on if I wanted to figure out how to live more intentionally.
5 tips on how to live more intentionally:
1. Look at what you have in your home
Now, more than ever, home needs to be a retreat that wraps you up and makes you feel great again. I truly believe our homes have a great impact on our health and well-being, everything from your lighting to the colour of the paint you choose can affect your sleep habits, energy levels, and overall health.
“I’m realising the spaces we intentionally create for ourselves aren’t just places to come back to at the end of the night after we tire from the lives we lived outside. They are places to exist in which we feel truly comfortable.”
In my journey to live more intentionally, I needed to look at what I owned and what was taking up time and space in my home. As I began to work through decluttering my home, I had to face different reasons I had been hanging onto the clutter. Each step I took in decluttering helped me to feel like my home was becoming more manageable.
We are impacted by our surroundings. Decluttering allowed me to have only the items I use and love remain in my home. Living intentionally means also being purposeful in what you own.
2. Slow your spending
A key part of how to live more intentionally for me was paying more attention to how I was spending my money. If you haven’t been used to tracking your finances, it can be quite eye-opening when you realise where your money has gone by month’s end.
After I became more aware of how I was spending money, I was able to make adjustments where needed – and adjustments I made. I managed to decrease my essential living costs by up to 50% which is pretty amazing if I can say so myself.
I decided to opt for a no-spend (low-spend) year this year. Only buy what’s essential, needed and will be used. Learning to live more simply in a consumer culture, takes time and effort.
To live more intentionally, be aware of where your money is going. Is your spending reflecting your values? I was challenged to be more purposeful in where my money went. It wasn’t easy, but the savings paid off!
3. Evaluate what’s essential
After evaluating my finances, I realised I also needed to examine my to-do list and what’s essential. This was an eye-opener to me as I never really had clarity over what was essential to me. I kept doing things because I thought I had to do them, not because they were essential.
Living intentionally forced me to think about what mattered most and my priorities. We live in such a busy and overcommitted culture. By default, it’s easy to get sucked into that as well. But when you are clear on your values and goals, it’s easier to say no when those opportunities arise.
4. Consider your relationships
Another aspect of life I needed to look at on my journey to live more simply and intentionally was my relationships. In a social media culture, I want to make sure I was being intentional with how I communicated with people.
I didn’t want to pretend that by simply reading my friend’s Facebook statuses I really knew what was going on in their life.
Am I noticing the needs of others? Am I being the friend, sister, daughter, mom, and wife I want to be? How could I be more intentional in the relationships that matter the most to me?
I want to be aware of the needs of others and reach out and help when I can. In order to do that, I need to not be focused on just myself. Choosing a slower pace of living, allows me to be more aware and available to the people in my life so I could be the friend I want to be.
5. Control your media consumption
In working to live more intentionally, I needed to evaluate my media consumption. Social media, emails, and everything else our phones can do can use up a lot of our time if we’re not careful. Living intentionally meant being purposeful in how and when I use my phone.
Keeping my phone on silent most of the time helps with that, but likely also annoys people who actually are trying to get a hold of me. Alongside uninstalling a few social media apps, I’ve also set limits on certain apps on my phone so I don’t spend more time than I intend on social media.
In looking at how I use my phone, I also began to more carefully look at the messages and voices that were speaking into my life. I evaluated who I follow on social media and the emails I was subscribed to.
“The secret lies in finding the balance between fast and slow, work and play, and enjoying the present, whilst still working towards one’s future.”