Intentional Living: How to Live Life With Purpose & Intention
INSIDE: Living a life focused on intention and purpose can help guide your thoughts and actions. With these ways to incorporate intentional living in your everyday life, you can build mindful habits and practices that are aligned with your values.
Scientists who are working to measure the state of world happiness have found that a major driver of well-being comes from social environments.
The concept of social environment includes the perception of freedom to make life decisions for yourself. Do you have the means to do what you want? Do you have pathways to attain your needs and desires?
On a societal level, these questions and ideas have a lot to say about inequality and public institutions, but what about on an individual level?
Evaluating your life decisions and how you make them can go a long way to indicate if you feel happy and fulfilled in your life. And that seems like something worth doing!
What is Intentional Living?
Living life by what motivates you and brings you a sense of happiness is called intentional living.
You might hear your yoga teacher tell you to set an intention at the beginning of class. The reason is to focus on something that can help us feel good.
Setting a focus can direct you to what you want to feel and help “distract” you during difficult poses or when your mind wanders.
Life is like one long yoga class! Why not use all the time until the end of class to live with intention?
Aligning yourself through intentional living means that you have a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish, to become, and to contribute in the world. Each person will have a unique purpose for their life.
How to Live Life With Purpose
Unfortunately, many people don’t practice intentional living. They live life to a grind, stuck in a pattern of watching the clock tick and the days pass as if they have no control over what happens in their lives.
When we live our lives with intention, the possibilities are literally endless and we gain much greater control over our lives. Just look at these examples, for instance:
- Maintain a whole food diet and foster a sustainable farming community - If this is your intention, you'll work hard to buy from local farmers markets, compost, and participate in community-supported agriculture.
- Build an international business empire - With this intention, you're likely to study economics, get your MBA, and take time to hone your specialty. You might even study multiple languages in your free time.
- Raise and build a tight-knit, multi-generational family - When this is your intention, you'll feed and foster your kinship ties and try to mediate familial conflict. You'll offer acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness to your children and family members.
Imagine the infinite array of intentions we can set!
When it comes to living intentionally, there is a pattern: you have to practice. You set your purpose and continually revisit it. Some days will present challenges to your intentions, so you keep trying the next day.
It’s important to recognize that intentions change, too. Your purpose does not have to stay static. To live with intention means to continually learn and grow.
Implementing concrete steps and actions towards intentional living, like the ones below, will help you prioritize your purpose in everything that you do.
Let’s go back to the idea of “the grind.” Think about a millstone or a coffee grinder, cyclically moving to wear down grains or seeds into uniform tiny bits. Its purpose is to turn over and over and over, unchanging.
But even a grinder can shift and change in order to create denser or lighter flour. That shift and change is like mindfulness.
In other words, we need to know the task at hand and focus while being aware of the way things happen and what tiny shifts might brings. Practicing mindfulness helps fortify your intention in your thoughts.
For example, while sitting at your desk typing, you can pause to scan your body. Notice the way you're sitting. Are you slouching with your hand to your head, leaning on your elbow? If you want to exude purpose and joy, what is that posture communicating to others?
At lunch, you can practice mindful eating if having a clean, healthy diet is part of your intention by focusing only on your food – no distractions. With each bite, think about the taste and textures. You can incorporate a gratitude practice, thanking the earth for providing food and your body for accepting nutrients.
Practicing mindfulness is about awareness of your actions as you live life.
Get Clear on Your Values
Living by what really matters to you is critical to living intentionally. After all, a major driver of the actions you take each day revolves around what it is you want to accomplish or share in the environment around you.
Intentional living means more than setting a purpose. It’s important that what you do actually aligns with that purpose.
You need to get clear on what matters to you so that every decision you make moves you towards the fulfilling life you have envisioned.
Some decisions will be easy, such as not eating a bag of processed snacks if you want a clean, whole food diet. A harder action might be evaluating the source of your produce and the agricultural methods your favorite farmer uses.
Create a Crystal Clear Vision
You might think that setting intentions can just be a meditative brain activity. However, you don’t want your intentions to exist as fleeting thoughts. You want firm values and a vision.
Spending time with your thoughts, emotions, and dreams will help solidify your purpose.
Write out what you want to change about your life in vivid detail so that you can really feel it. That’s where the magic of manifestation happens.
Writing is a great way to document your intentions, and there are other ways too. Create an image of your purpose with a vision board. Or draw a picture of the life you want.
Keep coming back to whatever form you documented your vision as a reminder of why you've chosen intentional living.
Map Out Small Changes You Can Make
Big changes happen when we make a series of small changes on a daily basis. What are some simple changes you can make now?
One way is to make mindfulness a routine or habit in your life. Schedule it by intentionally putting "time to sit with your purpose" into your calendar.
That might look like planning to wake up early every Saturday at 7:00 AM to meditate and create.
Every week, rewrite or redraw your intention on a piece of paper. Tape it to places around your home where you find yourself pausing for a few moments, such as:
- The bathroom mirror
- The window above the kitchen sink
- The front door on your way out
- Your car steering wheel
- Your work desk computer monitor
Think about your habits – are they serving your higher purpose? If not, start to slowly rebalance. Aim to cut 10 minutes off your screen time each day and to add that to a walk in nature or yoga practice, if those activities help fulfill a purpose for you.
Use Tools That Elicit Transformation
Just as little written notes remind you of your intentions, you can use other tools to prioritize intentional living.
Crystals and healing stones offer amazing connections to intention and can work to attract the values and visions you want into your life. You can carry crystals in your pocket, wear jewelry with embedded stones, or place crystals in your home and personal spaces to explore your intentions.
The energetic fields from crystals still work when you can’t fully concentrate on your intention. When you look at or feel your crystal, you will reconnect to your higher purpose.
Consider these crystals and their intentional attractions:
- Carnelian – This bright orange-red stone increases passionate energy flow and mental clarity so that you can attract like-minded people to you and make intimate friendships.
- Lepidolite – This crystal calms and balances you with its soothing purple tone and is especially useful if sobriety is your intention. Lepidolite has an intense power to clarify our purpose and our paths through difficult times.
- Aquamarine – The power of water and the ocean ignites Aquamarine to strengthen your resolve while maintaining composure. For those living the life of an empowered being, Aquamarine helps you lead with integrity and poise.
- Rose Quartz – Formed deep in the earth’s core, Rose Quartz targets your heart chakra to help illuminate and heal the fears and resentments that keep you from creating the life you want. A great stone for creativity, it purifies your energy and boosts confidence.
- Hematite – This crystal is a grounding stone. It’s natural red tone that turns to a heavy metallic black when polished reminds us of our steady heartbeat that continues to allow one step at a time.
Additional Tips to Help You Live With Intention
Remember that intentional living takes practice. Try out some of these additional ways to live a life of divine purpose:
- Share Your Intention With Others - Tell a friend about your purpose. It might inspire them to evaluate and adopt intentional living.
- Join a Supportive Community - This can take many forms – group therapy, sacred looms, fitness clubs, etc. They serve as spaces of accountability to remind you to practice.
- Clean Out Your Spaces - Whether “tidying up” or rearranging according to Feng Shui, you need a physical space that reflects your values and intentions. For example, if your intention is to travel the world, hang images of your dream destinations in your home office.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal - Each day, record how your intention entered your consciousness. It doesn’t have to be a novel! Just one line. For example, “I held an orange, and it made me think about my future beach cottage with an orange tree in the yard.”
- Build a Crystal Collection - What you need each day to bring you in alignment with your intention will vary. Learning about crystal energy will help you find the stones that resonate with your thoughts and physical body. When you need a boost or to cleanse, you'll know which crystal to turn to, and purchasing a crystal collection is an easy way to support your intention.
- Learn About Your Chakras - Understand how your intention may reflect itself in the chakras in your body and find ways to nourish that area. For example, if your intention reflects qualities of the crown chakra, try things to balance that area by reading more books and reciting prayers.
- Memorize Mantras - Recite mantras that direct you towards actions that fulfill your purpose. Repeat them every morning, before sleeping, in the shower, or on a walk.
Living with intention will help guide you along a healthier path to accomplish your dreams. Intentional living includes bad days and hard work, but through it, you can clearly articulate your goals and values.
With these tools and practices for how to live life with purpose, you have the ability to weigh your choices and actions to feel fulfilled and fruitful each day.