What do you mean that to be intentional about my finances, I have to sacrifice burritos?? I know that my love for burritos may seem a bit crazy to some people, but before I started being intentional about my finances and goals, I didn’t realize just how much money I was throwing down the drain.
The day I started to be intentional, my mindset shifted. Instead of whipping out my money or card whenever I came across a burrito, I started weighing it against some of my financial goals. I asked myself if I would rather have these few minutes of mouth-watering goodness, or if I would rather save that money towards buying a sailboat.
Of course, the latter won.
So now here I am, talking to you about how to be intentional and what that can do to help you achieve some of your biggest goals. The truth is, most people don’t lead an intentional life. In fact, research says that a lot of people live 95% – 97% of their lives on autopilot, merely breathing in and breathing out, without giving much thought to what they’re doing.
You’re probably sitting there thinking, “So, how do I go about living a more purposeful and conscious life?” The way I see it, that can only happen once you start being intentional – otherwise you’ll wake up years from now, living an unfulfilling life and wondering how you landed there. And I’m sorry, but that might just be the absolute worst thing that could happen to you.
What does it mean to be intentional?
That’s a great question! Being intentional means that you do things with purpose and an end goal in mind. Basically, being intentional means that you choose the actions you take based on what is important to you. The things you do are with the intent to get to a certain place in your life… You know, just like how I had to pick the sailboat over my beloved burritos!
It might seem like a pretty weird trade-off (because there’s a HUGE difference between the cost of a burrito and a sailboat – obviously), but when you consider how much I was spending on burritos each month, saving it instead of eating it made a whole lot of sense.
What are the benefits of being intentional?
Being intentional guides your thinking, it’s like leaving your house with a clear picture of where you’re headed. This means that you can immediately identify any detour or distraction that pops up or tries to throw you off your game and duck!
Being intentional also makes you more present and aware, meaning that you can live a happier and relatively more purpose-driven life. Think about it, when you’re aligned with your values and goals, you’re bound to be more present and aware of the things you do that will help you achieve your greatest desires.
When you decide to be intentional, you’re likely to have better relationships as well. How so? Well, when you’re present and take control over your life, you’re able to decide what is worth investing your time and energy in, and what’s not. Even if someone tries to start a useless fight with you, being intentional will make you walk away and not react to nonsense.
11 ways to be intentional in everyday life
1 – Filter out the noise
The way I see it, being intentional about your life begins with YOU deciding to let go of anything that isn’t a step towards what you’re trying to achieve. These days, we’re bombarded with information, gadgets and things you absolutely must have (thanks to consumerism), social media, as well as global conditions that may weigh you down.
Distance yourself from the things that will negatively impact you or move you away from the life you want to achieve by being intentional. Quite literally think of this process like a filter, where you block out the nonsense and only let the good things through.
2 – Plan your days in advance
I know we all think we plan our days, but we’re just lying to ourselves. Yes, there’s actually a difference between daydreaming and putting your plans on paper. Am I the only one who believes that when you jot something down, it just becomes somewhat more engraved in your heart and mind? That way, you’re likely to make it happen.
I’m not saying you need to get a piece of paper and a pen every day (apparently that’s a bit old school) and write what you’re going to do tomorrow. It’s as easy as highlighting key tasks that you want to complete the next day – you could even note it all on your phone and set reminders.
In your efforts to be intentional, I would strongly advise AGAINST freestyling your life and just “going with the flow.”
3 – Radiate positivity
Have you ever noticed that the more time you spend focusing on all the bad things, the more likely you are to attract even more negativity? (For those that believe in Murphy’s Law). Now think about the adverse – focusing on all the good and attracting positivity.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should turn into someone who always has a weird smile on their face and goes around skipping and humming – please, no – but maintaining a positive mindset is always good.
4 – Keep the bigger picture in mind
In simple terms, once you decide to be intentional, you’d better have something that you’re working towards – otherwise what are you being intentional about? Setting goals is one of the most important things you can do to live a more controlled and centered life.
Think of it like this, if your goal at 18 is to buy your first property at 25, then you will use those 7 years to implement small changes to your everyday life. You’ll stop spending frivolously, do some research, keep an eye on market activity, etc.
Throughout those 7 years, keeping the bigger picture in mind (i.e. purchase property by 25) will guide the decisions you make. You’ll have to consistently ask yourself if you’re willing to jeopardize your financial goals over an expensive holiday – chances are, you’re not.
5 – Prioritize your overall wellbeing
Being intentional about your wellbeing goes a long way to help you improve your quality of life. If you fail to look after yourself, you probably won’t care enough about anything else – especially being intentional about your actions. A common thing we do as people is focus on one aspect of wellbeing and neglect the others (yes, I do this too and I’m not proud of it).
It doesn’t matter if you’re not into physical fitness, you’ll get very little done if you neglect incorporating some level of movement into your life. Nobody’s saying that you have to now turn into a fitness bunny, but being active also contributes to a better quality of life.
Being intentional and prioritizing one aspect of your life means you should dedicate equally as much attention to the others too. Come to think of it, you can actually liken your body to a car or a machine.
If you have one faulty part, the machine won’t immediately give in – but it will over time if you completely neglect it. For optimum performance, all parts should be well maintained – which is the case with your body as well.
6 – Declutter
Once you start to be intentional, you will feel the need to get rid of things that no longer serve you – both tangible and intangible. If you believe in energies and the importance of your environment, then clearing out your living space is something that you should probably pay attention to.
When you choose to be intentional, you’re basically choosing to be very particular about your surroundings and things around you. Old clothes and items from your past probably won’t benefit your future in any way, so what’s the use of holding onto them?
Same goes for social media, you have no business following some people because of the type of content they share. Unfollow useless pages and limit your interactions with people who threaten your mental wellbeing – those are just two things to try out to be intentional online – especially in this digital era.
7 – Celebrate the small wins along the way
How to be intentional over a long period of time? Celebrate the small wins along the way, that’ll act as motivation throughout the years. After deciding to be intentional, you’re bound to face various challenges and things that may deter you, the trick here is to use the progress you’ve made as motivation.
If you think about Thomas Edison, for example, (FYI, he’s the man who invented the lightbulb) tried and failed SO many times. BUT, because he had a clear end goal in mind and had decided to be intentional in pursuing him, he viewed the failures as learnings. The progress he made with each failure was a win because he’d improved from the last attempt.
At the end of it all, he succeeded by keeping his eye on the prize.
8 – Remember your “why”
There’s a very popular book and teachings by Simon Sinek that A LOT of aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners like to recommend, Start With Why. Your “why” is essentially the reason why you have opted to be intentional about the things you do, i.e. what are you trying to achieve.
To be intentional, you need to know what you are working to achieve. Are you looking to save more, diversify your investments and why? To give your family the life they desire perhaps? It could even be for your own selfish and ego-driven reasons – but the key here is to always keep in mind why you have decided to be intentional and then live accordingly.
9 – Don’t be reactive
When you make the decision to be intentional, you’re basically saying that you want to gain better control of your life. So, you can break it down even further and say that to be intentional means that you’re choosing to be proactive – and when you become reactive to situations, you’re saying “screw it” to the goals you’d set.
You’re bound to find yourself in situations that test you and your patience, but upon deciding to be intentional, you should prepare for such and learn to gain composure.
10 – Make time for those that truly matter
I can’t stress this one enough! As someone who would pick a vacation with loved ones over material possessions, I’m all for prioritizing things that matter. Whether or not you have made the conscious decision to be intentional, spending time with those that truly matter will definitely do you good.
Also, I’ve found that these are the people that will cheer you on when the going gets tough, shout at you when you start acting weird, and bring you back down to earth when you start developing a big ego.
Apart from all of that, your loved ones tend to add a bit more meaning to your life, and keeping them around is sure to be comforting.
11 – Constantly track progress towards your goals
Life will be different when you make the decision to be intentional – with the intention of achieving your goals. In the process, you need to be consistent in tracking the progress you’re making in order to do damage control if need be.
Seeing that you are actually moving forward and taking steps towards achieving your goals will give you that extra push to get up and go on days when you don’t feel like it.
- Being intentional leads to a more fulfilling life and improves the chances of achieving your goals
- Start by making the decision to be more present and aware of your daily actions.
- This will lead to a more intentional and purpose-filled life
- Being intentional provides guidance and clarity on the steps you should take to reach your goals
- Consider my burritos trade-off and always act with the bigger picture in mind
- Small acts or habits might not make sense at first, but they contribute to the greater goal
- Don’t be easily swayed or distracted – keep your eye on the prize