What Does Intentional Living Mean? – Beginner’s Guide

Intentional living

Intentional living isn’t just the latest new lifestyle trend. It’s something that people have been doing in one form or another for many years.

We all have chosen certain ways of living intentionally that we believe will bring us more happiness and peace. Sometimes we’ve been successful in remaining committed to those lifestyles, other times we haven’t.

Learning more about living intentionally can help you be more diligent in your choices, and hopefully as a result, be happier in your life.

Intentional Living 101

What does it mean to be intentional?

Intentional living means to live your life on purpose by being deliberate about your choices.

There are two elements of being intentional.

There’s one element involving doing something. That can be actions that are done, words that are said, or thoughts that are dwelled on. The second element involved is purpose.

The actions, words, or thoughts have to be done for a reason. Otherwise, it’s just accidental, incidental, or coincidental. Not intentional.

To be intentional, we first must establish a purpose we want to be achieved. I’ll give you an example of a purpose I’ve recently be striving to achieve.

One of the newest purposes in my life is to stop wasting time. I want to be diligent with the way that I use my time to improve my life as much as possible.

What are the actions, words, and thoughts then that follow? For me, what follows is that I choose to use as much of my time doing things, saying things, and thinking things that make life better.

Through doing that, I feel that I fulfill my purpose of not wasting my time, because I’m using it most of the time for something I deem worth that time. That’s my approach to living intentionally.

Examples of that are the things I do to maintain mental and physical health, such as exercise and yoga, and things I do to improve my financial stability, such as completing my work in a timely manner.

I make a conscious effort to re-shift my focus back to things I feel are a good use of my time in the moments I allow myself to be distracted.

Here’s how to make being intentional your personal goal in life. You have to decide on your purpose, and then you have to be consistent in pursuit of that purpose through your actions, words, and thoughts.

Intentional living

Living intentionally is about living a planned life

You can have your purpose, and you can know what actions are required to fulfill that purpose, but it won’t matter if you don’t create a plan to follow through on it.

I’ll give you an example going back to exercise as a part of fulfilling my purpose of not wasting my time. I have a list of weightlifting workouts written that I do on different days of the week.

Whenever it’s the day I do a certain workout, I look to my list, and see how much weight I wrote down that I’ll be lifting that day. That way I maintain the continued progress of my workouts.

It’s the same thing with almost anything else in life. Maybe you want to start your intentional journey through pursuing a vegan lifestyle. Well what will help you be more likely to achieve that is a meal plan.

You can write down all the meals you plan to eat throughout your week as a part of your vegan diet. Think about other things in your life you want to be intentional about.

Write those things down, and then start putting together a plan to make those things happen.

How do you live an intentional life?

The first step to how you live an intentional life is determining what you really want to be intentional about. As I’ve stated throughout this post, I decided I really wanted to be intentional about not wasting my time.

Once I decided that, I determined the actions that I needed to take. I started coming to more conclusive ideas of what I would do in my day, and I started living an intentional life.

Let’s say you want to start living intentional in how you go about your education. Your purpose you want to fulfill is to be a successful student through getting A’s and B’s in your classes.

Then you have to decide on the actions that it will take. Those actions can include making time for studying, completing your school work, or seeking tutoring.

Now that you know your actions, you have to set a plan. Schedule the time you’re going to do your school work, to study, and if necessary, to seek tutoring.

The last step after deciding on the purpose, determining the actions to fulfill the purpose, and creating a plan, is to be consistent.

You might have days where you don’t always achieve your purpose as well as you could have. That’s fine. Nonetheless, try your best to achieve your purpose through being diligent in the actions you plan daily.

The way I look at it, if I can maintain a level of consistency that I’m proud of for most of the week, then I’ve been successful in living an intentional life.


Why is it important to be intentional?

It’s important to be intentional because it can help you have more of the life that you want to live. We can’t control everything around us, but there are definitely a lot of things that we can control.

You can control what your focus is in life, some of the choices you make in your day, and putting together a plan of action.

It seems often we either just let life happen to us, or just go with the flow. The problem with just going with the flow is you may not like wherever the flow ends up taking you.

I know for myself; I want to like where I end up a month from now, or a year from now. One of the only ways we can give ourselves some shot of liking our future is through planning our present.

Through planning our present and acting on those plans, we take steps forward daily, and have a chance of eventually ending up where we want to be in life.

The art of living intentionally is a simple process. Decide on a purpose, determine the necessary actions, create a plan, and follow through.


Intentional books

There are many self-help books that have provided ways one can live intentionally.The one best for you to read depends on how you want to live intentionally. One way you could do it is through minimalism.

An example of a book you could read in that respect is Fukio Sasaki’s book, Goodbye, Things. Another way of living intentionally you might choose is veganism. A book you could read in that respect is Dr. Michael Greger’s book, How Not to Die.

You have to decide on the purpose you want to fulfill in your life. Then you can read some books on the topic to get some insight on how you can be successful in achieving the purpose.

Final thoughts

While I know the title of this article may seem hyperbolic, it’s true. When you’re more deliberate about choosing certain actions you do, words you say, and thoughts you think, something will change.

Now it may not be an overnight change, but it can be a small change towards the complete transformation that you want to achieve in your life. Remember to be consistent.

When you do your best to stick to your plan of actions that can help you achieve your purpose, you give yourself a good chance of changing your life.

Inspirational Video on Living Intentionally

Other articles that can help you practice living intentionally

14 Ways to Be Intentional and Make the Most of Your Day

Own Who You Are No Matter What People Think

20 Simple Living Tips for 2020

2020 Gratitude List: 101 Things to Still Be Grateful For

Intentional living

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