Live With Intent: 8 Steps To Add Mindful Purpose to Everyday LifeJan 15, 2023
Do you want to make more meaningful choices in your life? Do you want to live with a greater sense of purpose and direction? Living with intent is a powerful way to reclaim what matters most and start making active, conscious choices in your everyday routine. Let's explore how to get started living with intent!
It is a lifestyle aesthetic that you can slowly integrate into your life without having to make a huge overhaul all at once.
Which is amazing for anyone who struggles with the ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality and wants a more fluid and organic feeling when it comes to changing their lifestyle habits.
When I started living with intention, I took baby steps to bring awareness to my ‘why’s of life’ and in doing so, I slowly started to morph my life into the vision I have always had for it.
Today’s intentional living blog post is all about activities that will help you create habits as you continue to develop your intentional lifestyle.
Because if you are anything like me, sometimes you have the best intentions to do something, however without having some practical - hands-on activities to help you learn, your new habits may slowly dwindle out and you find yourself in the same spot year after year.
Over the past decade of my intentional living journey I have incorporated a few key activities into my day-to-day routine as well as one off activities that keep my cup full, keep me intentional and add some sprinkles of fun and creativity into my journey!
At the time of writing this my Daughters are 4 and 1, and I cannot wait to share some of these activities as they continue to grow and develop.
In fact, this year my 4 year old made her first vision board! Stay tuned for my article on this, as I really think it is a great activity to teach children from a young age that they have the power to create their dream life.
And without further ado….
8 Activities to help you Live With Intentions
Many people wonder how they can stay motivated to live a more intentional life… when you start picking intentional activities that you enjoy, and they you don't need to be motivated to do… it just becomes second nature, you naturally will live with more intention.
Below are 8 activities that I have infused in my life and help me to present in the moment while still seeing my bigger life vision.
#1 Uncover your Core Personal Values
I wish I could go into every school everywhere and teach children and adults how to determine what their core personal values are. This is such an integral and fundamental part of living a more present and joyful life… yet it is something that many adults do not know!
Let me ask you, reading this, at this moment - do you know your personal core values?
Can you name 3-4 of them out loud?
How confident are you saying them?
When you say them, do they ignite you and bring up an emotional response in you?
IF not, then I highly highly highly recommend taking the time to determine your core values.
If you need help with this check out my blog post here all about personal core values.
Intentional Activity: Take 30 minutes to learn more about core personal values and see if you can name your 3-4 values. Do some creative emotional expression in a journal and write them where you can see them.
#2 Sit down and create your life vision.
This is one of my favourite intentional activities to do every few years. Research has shown that creating a vision for your life, and having a sense of hopefulness about the future improves self-regulation, provides opportunity to gain insight into your priorities and helps you to clarify goals and action steps.
Intentional Activity: turn off distractions, get in a good mindframe and give yourself 15-30 minutes to think and write down what YOUR dream life looks like. Ask yourself the miracle question - if I waved a magic wand and was living my best life tomorrow what would I be doing? Where would I be living? Who would I be living with? What would smells would I be smelling, what sights would I be seeing. Infuse your senses into this activity and really tune into your core values and what is really important to you.
Need more help hashing out your LIfe Vision? Then check out my life vision work book here!
#3 Set Intentions for the Day/Month/Year ahead
Creating intentions for your day, week, month or year ahead is always a great routine to have when you are wanting to live more intentionally. By bringing an awareness and intent onto what you want to have accomplished or what you really want to focus on in the present and coming day/week it reiterates this neuropathway in your brain, bringing it to your subconscious mind.
When you are able to connect to the Why of your intentions, it gives you intrinsic motivation to keep moving towards the life you desire.
So for example if I want to focus on being more present this week, my ‘why’ may be:
to take in the moments with my girls and be present with them. Role Modelling what being present looks like so they can learn it through me.
So there are options on how you can go about setting intentions. But for teaching purposes I’ll go into the three main ones:
- Setting intentions for the year - ditch the resolutions and do this instead!
- Setting Intentions for the month or week
- Setting daily intentions
So for me I personally always set yearly intentions each year.
Then from there, I write them on cue cards and keep them to reflect on throughout the year whenever I need reminders to get back on track or pivot.
Weekly or Monthly Intentions
Some people like to write intentions for the week ahead. This is great to do on Sunday Nights (if your week starts on Monday) to focus for the week ahead. You do not need to necessarily write them out, I often do this in my phone in the ‘notes’ section.
I will usually look at my weekly to do list, think about an area of my life that I may be feeling off in or needing more attention in and set my intentions around that.
So for example, If I Have been finding myself to be less patient with my Girls and more agitated, I may focus the week ahead on self-care, conscious parenting or releasing whatever has been bothering me.
Some people really like to break it down more and do set daily intentions.
Incorporating your daily intentions as part of your daily planning is a great way to stay intentional each day.
This could look like writing out your intentions each day on a pre-made planner/journal each day… or you could just consciously focus on it when you wake up in the morning. For example, just making it part of your routine - while brushing your teeth, showering, etc… or add it in as part of your larger routine - like when you meditate or practice gratitude
You can make your daily intention setting part of a meditation and take a moment to think of what you want to be intentional about on for the day.
#4 Create a Gratitude Journal or Gratitude Jar
This can be a family gratitude journal or just one to keep all of on your own. Getting in the conscious habit of verbally expressing gratitude for the things in your life, brings significant awareness to all that you have, and shifts your personal energy into one of the highest vibrations it can go in.
In fact, research shows that expressing gratitude increases happiness as you begin to focus on the good things that are already happening in your life.
There are a few ways to do this activity:
- Create a gratitude journal - either for yourself or for the whole family. Make a practice of writing in it at least once per week. Perhaps it is a Sunday dinner activity where you ask everyone what they are grateful for and write it in the book. Or perhaps you make it a daily or weekly habit that you do as part of your self care routine. Be creative here and make it work for you and your life!
- Create a gratitude jar. Use a mason jar, get creative with paper and writing and each time you have an overwhelming sense of gratitude write it down on a scrap piece of paper (with the date!) so you can review then over the coming month or at the end of the year!
- Express your Gratitude to People in your life - another spin on this is expressing gratitude for people who have influenced your life. Giving them a quick call, sending them a text, writing them a hand written card, or giving them a visit is a great way to express gratitude all the while letting someone know how they impacted your life. Also, do not wait to do this… if something is telling you to reach out to someone do it… you just never know how much they may have needed to hear the kind words you had to say.
Personal Example: When I was younger I was a lifeguard and swim instructor. While getting certified, the woman who taught me was someone I really looked up to. She was always so positive, kind, and warm and everytime I was in her presence, I would always tell myself how much I wanted to be like her - to make people feel the way she made me feel. I had not been in touch with her in probably over 15 years…. But when I was visiting my hometown, and going through an old box of stuff my mom had of mine, I stumbled across a paper heart she had given all the lifeguards on my team.
On the heart she had written each one of our individual strengths that she had appreciated. That heart was 15 years old, I kept it and never threw it out. So that very day, without overthinking it, I took a photo of the heart, found her on Facebook and messaged her to thank her for having such a proud impact on my life. And you know what…. She told me, that my message could not have come on a better day. I do not know what was going on for her that day, but I listened to my intuition, sent it and felt a whole lot better sharing my gratitude for the impact she had on shaping who I was today. So who can you say thank you to today?
Remember, expressing gratitude can be something from the seemingly mundane - watching the leaves bud on your plant you have been taking care of - to the magnificence - of achieving a huge milestone or goal you set for yourself.
There is sooo much to be grateful for… When I was in a darker space all those years ago, I started small - being grateful for my fingers so I could write, my heart so I could breathe and the clean air and water that I was able to have in my country. Once you start seeing the things you have to be grateful for, it puts things in perspective.
Intentional Activity: Chose one way to incorporate gratitude into your day.
#5 Dig into your Passions and Talents through Creative Expression
Understanding your passions, and talents and harnessing your gifts is an amazing self-knowledge to have. When you know what are your special and unique talents…and combining that with something that fires you up = magic.
When I began uncovering who I was, my passions and understanding what makes me me, I embarked on a few creative expression activities.
- Journaling for self love - I had a journal solely based on learning about me. A positive space to write down my talents, strengths, passions. There are some amazing guided self love journals online too - in case you struggle with free-writing.
- Creating a Belief Book - Similar to a Journal, but more of an ‘All about Me’ book, I created a scrap book of sorts that is all about me. Highlighting my talents, words that resonate with me, my core values and just stuff that spoke to who I was. It feels kind of weird doing it, because you feel a bit like you are bragging about yourself…. However if you have ever suffered with low self esteem and low self worth, then this project is a must for you. Take it from a recovered Bulimic and person with extremely low self esteem…. It is powerful.
- Writing my obituary - Okay I know this sounds morbid… but honestly… think about it… if you were to pass away what would loved ones say about you? What would you WANT loved ones to remember you as? What is your legacy?
- Reviewing my past jobs/ resumes - looking through my skills and past experiences. Reviewing what I liked about certain jobs I had, and what I hated about jobs I had
- Asking the people I loved what they thought was unique to me. Okay this may push you way out of your comfort zone. It did for me. But I was so grateful I did. I chose 3-4 people who are very close to me and see me differently than I saw myself and asked them what they saw in me and what they loved about me…. This activity allowed me to see myself through someone else’s eyes versus my own clouded, negative view of myself.
These are just a few ideas. After I did these self-love activities, I was able to gain a lot more confidence in who I am, what my strengths were, how others saw me and how I wanted to be seen in the world.
What does that have to do with intentional living? Well the more you understand WHO you are and what makes you wonderfully you, it is soo much easier to be intentional with your choices in life - thus leading to a more present, joyful and intentional life.
Intentional Activity: Pick one of the activities above and do it!
#6 Focus Your Energy
Our Energy and time are limited.
As humans we can only take on so much in the day before we are exhausted, overwhelmed and unable to take in anything else.
Understanding how your Personal Energy Works is another great way to stay intentional when you are feeling out of a alignment.
You always hear people talking about ‘filling their cups’ with the stuff that means the most. And when you have an empty cup, you cannot pour from it to help anyone else.
Well another analogy you may have heard is the one about the professor who stands up in front of his class with a glass jar and a bunch of rocks.
If you are a video person - CLICK BELOW for the VIDEO. IF you are more a reader…. Keep reading :)
The professor fills the jar with big rocks first and asks the class if it is full, they say yes.
He then takes out a bunch of pebbles and puts them into the jar. The pebbles fall down into the gaps between the big rocks.
He asks the class if the jar is full.
They say yes.
He then takes out sand and does the same thing.
As the sand fills in the cracks and crevices, he asks his class again if the jar is full, and they say yes.
He may have then filled it with water, I am not 100% sure… however you get the idea….
When he filled the jar up first with big rocks, the pebbles and sand still fit in, however on the flipside, if he was to fill up the jar first with sand then pebbles then the big rocks, a whole lot less would fit in the jar.
Considering the ‘big rocks’ are the stuff that matter most to you in life (the people, places and activities that are aligned with your core values + life vision), the pebbles are other commitments and odd and sods that are important, but not as important as you core ‘big rocks’ and the ‘sand’ is the stuff that clogs up our mental energy and drains it - often leaving us distracted, perhaps procrastinating and living life on auto pilot.
MORAL OF THE STORY - Fill up your life with your Big Rocks FIRST or else you will not have room for them.
Build a life based on your core value, your life goals and the things you love and you will be living a happier life.
Going even deeper and connecting this metaphor to Intentional Living:
So in terms of intentional living you want to do the following to ensure that you are pushing ‘STOP’ on Autopilot living and START on living in alignment with your vision of how you want your life to look and be.
Step 1: Identify your big rocks. What is most important to you in life? What do you want to be doing everyday? What are your core values? What are the activities/things/people who light up your life?
Step 2: Identify your pebbles. What are things that are really nice to have in your life, but are not the “be all end all” type of things. For example…do your kids really need to be in 3-4 different activities? Or can you put them in 1 or 2 activities and then spend quality time with them instead… Do you NEED to go to that party of the co worker who you like, but do not really know…. Or can you stay home and do some self care for you? This stuff may still be important in your life, but they are not as important as your big rocks and you can most likely cut some of them out to give you more time to focus on the more important things that you and your emotional wellness needs.
Step 3: Identify your sand. This is stuff that, technically, if the world ended tomorrow, you would be fine without. Dare I say, even be happier without. It is stuff that fills your time, and maybe helps you ‘escape’ a little from life, however it is not a priority in creating the life you desire. Sand is usually things that distract you and take away your ability to focus on the things that really matter to you in life - This may be scrolling on social media, binging on a netflix series that really isn't binge-worthy you just feel like you started it so have to finish it…, comparing yourself to others, trying to keep up with the joneses, getting on the worry train, perfectionism, and other activities that we all tend to engage in, but really are not conducive to our overall mental wellness.
Step 4: Reflect on how you could reprioritize your days to be more intentional. Consider how you could reprioritize and reorder your time, focus, energy and to-do list to focus on what really matters to you in your life? Structuring your day and life around what is most important to what is least important.
Lesson: If you do not intentionally put the ‘big rocks’ (the stuff that matters most to you) in your ‘jar’ (life/time/ present moment) then all the ‘pebbles’ (stuff that is nice but not a necessity) and the ‘sand’ ( the distractions of life, that keep you living in autopilot) will consume your energy and time, leaving no space for the stuff that really matters.
Intentional Activity: Bring awareness into your day today…. And write down or take note of how much time you are spending on sand, pebble or rock activities.
Not sure what your rock activities are? Uncover your Core Values with with this free workbook HERE.
#7 Reframe the Mundane
Re-framing is such a powerful tool for living an intentional life.
When you are able to reframe some of the mundane tasks of life, you have a mental shift in why you are doing them, allowing you to be more present and intentional about them. So for example… a mundane task may be cooking dinner, doing chores, exercising or stretching, doing the bills… ect. The stuff that we usually have to do - but may not want to do all the time… Try These Re-Frames:
In an article on PsychCentral, they give the amazing examples of:
- When moving your body, instead of focusing on it as an ‘i have to lose weight’ situation, shift why you are doing it. “‘I’m going to do an exercise video as I want to stretch my muscles so I feel less stiff”, “I am doing yoga because I want to reconnect with my body”, “I am going outside for a walk/jog because I want to feel grounded and the fresh air is good for my mental clarity”, “
- When cooking dinner, try using your five senses to notice the smells, tastes, textures, sights, and sounds.
- When doing your household chores, consider connecting to why you’re doing them, such as “to create a more peaceful home” or “to care for myself.”
When you know what’s important to you, you can make the best choices for yourself on a daily basis — even in the seemingly smallest of acts
#7 Create a Vision Board or Manifesting Journal
I have created vision boards for the past decade since living more intentionally. When I decided to consciously consider the direction for my life and create the life that I wanted to live, I knew I needed to have my ‘end vision’ in mind - or at least have a target to aim towards.
Creating a Vision board or Manifesting journal is an amazing way to do this. Read more about exactly how to make a vision board that works here and get some amazing ideas on how to create a manifesting journal here!
Intentional Activity: Go make your vision board!
Want a quick tutorial on Youtube? Check out my Youtube Video Here
Forgiveness is a powerful tool to living an intentional lifestyle. Holding onto anger, guilt or shame that is no longer serving you, does not help anyone. Learning to forgive myself and to forgive a handful of people who had hurt me in the past was a HUGE freeing experience for myself on my journey to intentional living.
Research even shows that holding onto grudges is not good for our health. People who are able to forgive and let go of past hurts are more likely to be happier, healthier, more serene and at peace, while people who continue to hold onto anger tend to be more depressed, hostile and angry.
From my personal experience when I was holding onto a ton of shame around some past experiences and not showing forgiveness to myself, I was much angrier at the world, frustrated when things did not go my way and used it as a reason to escape into some unhealthy coping mechanisms.
One example from my personal life was forgiving myself. There were 2-3 friends from my past, that I felt I could have been a way better friend to. In particular, one individual, who was a great friend to me, however, I was so wrapped up in my own life at the time, and managing my own personal struggles that I really did not tend to the friendship and slowly it faded. It faded mostly due to my lack of engagement.
It had nothing to do with her, she was an amazing, beautiful soul… it was all me. And I held onto this guilt for a very long time. It made me feel like a bad person. It brought me down when I wanted good things for myself. And it was not until I allowed myself to forgive myself, that I let that burden go.
I accepted that although I could not go back into the past and change the circumstances and decisions I made then. However I could make the decision to forgive myself and move forward in my friendships with others and not to do that again to anyone.
If you are needing to forgive yourself or perhaps forgive someone else… these are the activities that helped me forgive:
- Journal it out…with some creative emotional expression. Doing a mind purge onto paper via writing, drawing or just letting your pen go, is a great way to gain clarity and let go. When you put things on paper you go back and read it later when you are viewing it from a different perspective. The insight you get when you engage in creative emotional expression is a powerful way to remain balanced and intentional.
- Do a guided meditation around cord cutting. I love doing guided meditations. Google ‘cord cutting’ meditations and find one you like!
- Write a letter to the person you hurt or who hurt you…. Let all the feelings out. If you want, you can give it to the person, however in many cases it you may not want to do that, so instead, burn it or rip it up.
I hope some of these creative expressive ideas for intentional living helped inspire you to take action.
Let me know in the comments what you think!
Want to go further?
++ FREE CORE VALUES LIST AND WORKSHEET - CREATE YOUR IDEAL LIFE TODAY https://www.loradevries.com/blog/core-values
++ LEARN MORE ABOUT INTENTIONAL LIVING AND HOW YOU CAN DITCH THE BURNT OUT AUTO-PILOT LIFE AND START CREATING THE LIFE YOU HAVE ALWAYS DREAMED OF https://www.loradevries.com/Intentional-Living
++ LEARN MORE ABOUT MY STEP-BY-STEP BRAIN BASED VISION BOARD METHOD TO CREATE A VISION BOARD THAT ACTUALLY WORKS https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/1274321534
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