They say one of the most important ingredients in life is focus. Without it, we might find ourselves fighting battles or solving puzzles we’re not really interested in. But maintaining focus and being on track all the time is not easy. Which is why many life coaches encourage the practice of intentional living. The idea behind intentional living is for you to learn how to make better decisions by having a clear understanding of what actually matters to you. And there are daily activities that will help you relearn living with intention. Because chances are, you already know how, you just need some gentle reminders.
The Importance of Living with Intention
But first off, why does living with intention matter? And why do so many people seek for meaning in the day to day? Well, it’s safe to say we all want to live intentionally. We all want a meaningful life, and for the things that we do to matter in the larger scheme of things. We want to choose what we do, and to do it well. But, living a meaningful life is not easy. Just as focus is not that easy to maintain.
The art of intentional living is something we can all practice and embrace. It is a way of life that will benefit you not only as a person but also as someone who has the goal of building your own coaching business. So now that we understand why it’s important, how do we relearn intentional living?
Daily Activities that Will Help You Relearn Living with Intention
Start a gratitude journal
Gratitude is one of the best ways to start creating an intentional life. It is very powerful and can encourage positivity in your life. To start a gratitude journal, make it a daily habit to write at least three things you’re grateful for. Of course, you can go for more, say five or ten things, but three is a good start.
The idea is to encourage yourself to notice the small things most of us don’t notice because we tend to be too fixated on the big things. And we’re not saying being grateful for the big things is wrong. But there are so many small things that happen to us every single day that we also need to be thankful for. Things that are almost irrelevant, but actually impact us in a big, relevant way. When you start a gratitude journal and keep doing the practice daily, you are allowing yourself to discover what are the things you are truly and deeply grateful for.
Pay attention to your words
Another daily exercise you can do is to pay closer attention to your words. Pay more attention to how often you say ‘could’ instead of ‘should'. The latter isn’t really kind to yourself because it makes something a “responsibility” rather than a choice. Intentional living is all about reminding yourself you have the power to choose and when you are focused, you will be able to make the right choices. That said, refrain from focusing on should’s. Refrain from using it all the time. Instead, tell yourself you “could do this” or you “could do that.” Give yourself choices.
Don't compare yourself to others
Comparison is self harm of the highest order. You have one life to live and it would be a damn shame to waste it by looking over the fence and feeling sorry for yourself because of all the good things happening to other people. Learn to appreciate what you have, and admire the gifts and abilities you have and that you have the ability to share what you have with others.
Practice simple living
With so many things happening in life, it’s quite easy to get sidetracked. It’s easy to have one goal after another after another…. But do you really want those goals? Are they actually aligned with your values and life perspective? Practicing simple living is a great way to assess things in life on a regular basis. Are you putting energy into things you want to achieve, things that truly matter to you? Or are you wasting too much time on things that aren’t really relevant to you? Simplify down, focus on what matters most to you.
Look at the company you keep
Social contagion theory tells us that we're the sum of the people we spend the most time with. Are you surrounding yourself with people who love and support you? People who work hard and are appreciative of the lives they lead? We are only as good as the company we keep, so evaluate your social circle carefully and consider making some changes if necessary.
Recite daily your manifesto
Having a manifesto in life is pretty much like having a compass. A guide and a reminder to make sure you stay on track. It is a declaration of your beliefs, what you stand for, basically your core values. And reciting it daily may sound woo-woo but it’s a great way to remind you of what you believe in. It’s also helpful in terms of dealing with the bad and tough days. It can be as simple as a single word, or as lengthy as a paragraph -- it's yours, you decide!
Appreciate the small steps
Nothing great happens overnight. If your goal is to build a life coaching business, you have to be prepared to do the work. And when you do, it’s not always going to be easy. Which is why it’s healthy to train yourself to appreciate the small steps you made. Because really, every single life endeavor is made up of big and small steps. You’re not going to achieve anything if you discount the small steps. By living with intention, you are also living within the process of life and you’re teaching yourself to embrace it. Big steps or small, they all build up to something larger.
Meditation or the art of calming the mind and quieting the noise is another one of the daily activities that will help you relearn living with intention. By meditating on a daily basis, you don’t only turn down the noise in your head, but you also give space for the things that truly matter. It will then become clear what you actually want to focus on and what distracts you. From here, you can live more intentionally and more present.
Fill your jar
This is probably one of the most classic activities but it’s a good one. Imagine that "the jar" is your life. The big rocks are the most important things and the pebbles and sand are the not so important things. Imagine if you fill up the jar with the sand and pebbles a.k.a. The not so important things. You won’t have enough space, enough time and energy for the big rocks or the things that truly matter. Sometimes, it is the tangible activities like this that will effectively teach us to live more intentionally.
Write a letter to your future self
If you’re still unclear what does it mean to live a purposeful life, it simply means being in the present moment. Knowing your goals, knowing how to achieve them and most importantly, knowing where you are right now. By writing a letter to your future self, you make it easier to be clear on what you actually want to achieve. What life you actually want to build. Through this daily exercise, you are allowing yourself to be more in touch with who you are right now and who you want to be. Creating an intentional life is all about being connected to yourself - your choices, your decisions, and more connected with what you engage in.
Take responsibility for all your actions
Yes, taking responsibility for your actions is among the great daily activities that will help you relearn living with intention. Because really, this way of living is not just about connecting and being present. It’s also about acknowledging every action you made and taking responsibility.
It’s easier to jump from one thing to another without actually taking responsibility for the aftermath of our past decisions. Instead of doing this, do the opposite. Because the more you take responsibility, the more you become intentional with your words, your actions, and with every choice you make.
Ready to know more about daily practices to live more intentionally? If you're ready to learn more about how to become a life coach, take a look at The JRNI Life Coaching Intensive. Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.