We all Live. But very few of us know how to live intentionally.
Living is what life is all about. We start out being enthusiastic as children, treating the world as our canvas, with life offering unlimited possibilities. Then we grow up. We learn what it means to compromise and sacrifice. WE let our dreams go in favor of doing what is expect of us, what we are “supposed” to do. We learn what it means to get stuck in a small town where our dreams and wishes fly out the window and are usurped by adult responsibilities. The thing is, though, that does not have to happen. We do not have to let things happen to us. We have control, if we play our cards right. We just have to learn how to live intentionally.
The Keys To Learning How To Live Intentionally
1. Remember that life is all choices.
This is the first, most fundamental step to learning how to live intentionally. Often, people tend to believe that things happen to them more often than not. This simply is not true much of the time. Often, these undesirable outcomes can be linked to our choices. For example, if you hate your job, but feel stuck because there’s not other way to pay the bills, evaluate the choices you made that got you into that job. Also – and this is a huge key to learning how to live intentionally- realize that your past choices do not dictate what your future will look like. You have the choice to start changing your future right now.
2. Assess The Cultural Direction Of The World In Which We Live
Now, this is something that can legitimately fall into the category of things happening to you. There is nothing you can do to change the tides of the entire world. However, what you can do is see if you are allowing the ever-shifting cultural opinions and trends impact you, your life, and your decision-making in ways that yield negative results for you. After this assessment, say you decide that there are things happening around you that you dislike. For instance, if your church got a new pastor, but you are not feeling like his teachings are having the same positive impact that that the old pastor’s did. No matter how long you have been at that church, you have choices! You can either find a more suitable place of worship, or you can try to use any influence you might have to change the culture from within.
Another example, in this same realm, would be if you felt that the people in the community in which you live no longer shared your deeply held values. Instead if seeking to cling to that community, consider moving. If that is not an option right away, you can seek our meet up groups, online forums, or other means to reach people who would have a more positive impact upon your life.
Take A Good Look At Yourself
This step might be the most important on this list. When you are not living your best life, it is important to access what got you to that place. Sure, we all take wrong turns. But when you are well into adulthood and contemplating making major changes, there are usually some pretty compelling reasons for that. If you are planning a cross-country move, first figure out why. After all, if you want that “fresh start” but haven’t quite worked out why, it isn’t going to work out anyway. Remember – you are the one factor in the equation that never changes. Figure out your desires and why they exist, how they are linked to your past, and, most importantly, how they will shape your future. Be blunt and honest with yourself. Where do you excel? Where are you weaker? We all have high points and low points. The key is to hone our strengths and seek out their power to help us go further down the road of learning how to live intentionally.
Putting All You Have Learned About How To Live Intentionally Into Action
Live Your life For You, Not For Others
There are certain circumstances in which people get stuck. For instance, suppose you are really miserable in your hometown, but your family has been there for generations. The entire family, even if they temporarily move away, is expected to return to the area. However, you really want to move away and never return, except for visits. The amount of pressure your family can put on you in such a situation is enormous. It gets even worse if there are seemingly legitimate reasons for them to ask you to stick around, such as ailing and elderly family members who need your care.
Now this may sound callous, given the above scenario, but it is key to putting what you have learned about how to live intentionally into action. You have this one life. It is not your responsibility to sacrifice your entire life because of what someone else wants. You also should not compare yourself to others. What they choose to do may be right for them, but it is not necessarily right for you. Your first obligation is to make yourself happy and to live your best life. When planning your life out and putting your skills on how to live intentionally into action, this is one time where it is okay to be selfish. Inspire yourself. The better you are living, the better you will be in your relationships with others.
Find A Purpose and Stick To It
We all have to have a reason for being we are actually going to put our knowledge about how to live intentionally into any sort of meaningful action. You have to access the aforementioned strengths and weaknesses, and then make the decision as to how your strengths might help inform your purpose. Your purpose should be something that is for the greater good, but also something that is good for you. None of us live just for ourselves, unless we are completely selfish, narcissistic people. Most people are (thankfully) not that. Therefore, when you find your purpose, you also have to strike that balance between what is personally fulfilling and what is also to the betterment of society.
Have Goals That Enhance Your Purpose
- Now that you have your purpose, it is time to set concrete goals. For instance, suppose you decide that social justice is your purpose, and writing is one of your strengths. You could take a few courses in journalism and seek out employment with a publication that promotes the championing of oppressed people. Maybe you could volunteer at a community center in a neighborhood with a high population of underprivileged children. No matter what you decide to do, it should serve the purpose you have chosen for yourself, it should play to your strengths, and it should be fulfilling for you personally. The icing on the cake is the good it does in the world. This is the beauty of life once you know how to live intentionally.
Unplugging Will Increase Your Focus And Success
- Due to our constantly plugged in state in modern times, distraction is almost always the order of the day. We have tablets, computers, smart phones, and other gadgets constantly demanding our attention. However, when you are learning how to live intentionally and putting that plan for this massive life change into action, those distractions can be a detriment. Now, no one expects people to completely unplug. That is literally impossible, unless you are going in the direction of totally living off the grid. However, what you can do is to take time to yourself, away from all of those distractions. Be introspective. Look inside yourself, and find that higher purpose. Do it away from email, text messages, television, and smart phone full of social media.
Look At Those Who Are Living The Life You Aspire To Live
- Do not mistake this piece of advice for telling you to engage in jealousy; after all, no two people are alike. No two people will live the same life. However, there is nothing wrong with emulating people who have had success in areas that you aspire to be successful in. If they are living a life similar to the one in which you envision yourself, it makes sense to look to such people for examples of how you might achieve your goals.
You will thank yourself for learning how to live intentionally.
Learning how to live intentionally, like anything in life, is not easy. However, if you aspire to a higher purpose, and, more importantly, to live the life you have always wanted to live, then learning how to live intentionally is definitely something you will thank yourself for in the end. After all, the last thing any of us wants is to turn around and regret the life we have lived.
Did this blog post help you out at all in your question to learn how to live intentionally, and give you an idea of how to go about improving your life in the inspiring ways you desire? I hope it did.
This is important to me because, as a returning college student who is looking to use my degree to live a better life for myself and do good in the world, I have realized just how important these steps are to achieving this purpose. If a quest for a way to live a more fulfilling life is what brought you here, I hope these steps will help you on that path. Let us know what you think in the comments, and please share on social media if you found the post to be helpful!
Martha lives in the Bay Area and is a dedicated reader of romance novels. She runs a yoga studio and taught yoga for many years. She always says that yoga fuels her writing. She’s also a vegetarian and advocate for living a healthy life. Martha has been writing for us for a while now, giving readers a glimpse into her lifestyle and work.